Gardening for Pollinators: Everything You Need to Know and Grow for a Gorgeous Pollinator Garden

Nothing makes many of us happier than a busy little bee. Pollinators play an integral part in the food chain that we simply cannot replicate for impact. They affect all living things, from the green growing variety on up to us bipeds. There’s no beating around the bush—pollinators = food. So whenever you see a happy little bee nosing around your flowers, tip your hat and say thank you very much for their service.

There’s been much discussion around native bee populations decreasing at alarming rates in recent years. Science Daily reports that many crops in the United States are pollination-limited, meaning that the absence of pollinators is limiting crop production. This trend is not specific to native bees, however. Honeybee populations were down 40% in 2017. The decline was so concerning that President Barack Obama created a Pollinator Task Force to address the problem. Science points to numerous causes; climate change, habitat loss, disease, pesticides, and herbicides rank high on the list. Monarch butterflies are in danger this year as a result of cold snaps happening along the southern border of the United States right when they typically begin their migration—a harrowing 3,000-mile trek the monarchs complete every year. (See how you can support the monarch migration.)

The good news is that there are things we can do in our own home gardens to support our local pollinators. And not only can we support pollinators, but it is critical that we do so. A study recently published in the Journal of Ecology and completed by the University of Bristol in the UK found that with much rural land loss and use changes, many pollinators are relying heavily on home gardens. The diversity of plants found in urban and suburban areas helps to sustain our pollinator populations. By creating a safe haven without pesticides that endanger pollinators, providing an abundance of plants that flower throughout the season, and including host plants if possible, we will have a tremendous impact on our local pollinator populations.

See below for plant suggestions, tips, and more information on supporting your local pollinator population.