1. Grow Non-Stop Flowers
To provide a steady supply of nectar and pollen for our flying friends, plan for 3 seasons of blooms. That means growing a mix of plants so you always have something in bloom from early spring through summer and fall.
An easy way to do this? Plant a wildflower seed mix from American Meadows! Our mixes are designed to bloom all season.
- Early to Late Spring blooms for pollinators: Crocus, Creeping Phlox, Woodland Phlox, Trilliums, Virginia Bluebells, Grape Hyacinth
- Late Spring to Mid Summer blooms for pollinators: Salvia, Nepeta, Columbine, Lupine, Yarrow, Blue Flax, California Poppy, Alyssum
- Mid-to-Late Summer blooms for pollinators: Coneflower, Milkweed and Butterfly Weed, Lavender, Sunflowers, Zinnias, Salvia, Joe Pye Weed, Hyssop, Heliopsis, Black Eyed Susan, Bee Balm, Coreopsis, Butterfly Bush, Veronica, Poppy
- Fall blooms for pollinators: Aster, Goldenrod, Helenium, Sedum, Russian Sage
- Hint! Looking for flowers to fill a gap in your garden? Use the “Bloom Season” shopping filters on our site to find the right plants.
2. Safety In Numbers
Cluster single species of pollinator plants in groups of at least 3 or more. This makes the plants in your garden easier for pollinators to see and smell, and helps make their work finding food a little easier. Studies show that 5-7 of the same plant is optimal.
3. Encourage Snacking
If you find your plants a bit nibbled, that means you’re doing it right! If something isn’t eating your garden, then you’re not really part of the ecosystem. Providing habitat for pollinators means providing food, too. But don't forget to add a source of drinking water for your bee neighbors, too! Shallow bird baths or pots with pebbles in the bottom will allow for the bees to hydrate without drowning. They generally need to stand while they drink, so make sure your water is not too deep, or at the very least, they have little landing pads nearby to perch on.
4. Leave The Leaves
Groundcovers and leaf litter create shelter for caterpillars and ground-dwelling pollinators, like bumblebees. Leaving your pollinator garden undisturbed at the end of the season helps provide a winter home for them. In spring - wait for temperatures to reach at least 50°F so that these flying friends can wake up from dormancy before cleaning up your garden.
5. Help Build Homes
Twigs, logs, and rock features are also helpful landscaping elements that can provide habitat and shelter for pollinators. You can also leave areas of bare dirt for the ground bees to burrow into. Or you can make or buy a bee hotel, which is a great option if you don't have a lot of space.
6. Skip The Sprays
Most importantly, avoid using chemical pesticides and herbicides! These have long-lasting damaging effects on pollinators, people, and soil health. Look for plants that are neonicotinoid free for a healthy habitat! (All of our wildflower seeds and bee-friendly plants are neo-nicotinoid free)
7. Spread The Word
Pollinator garden signs can help spread the word about pollinators, and encourage your neighbors to put their outdoor space in the fight to make things better! Our friends at Pollinator Partnership, a non-profit whose mission is to promote the health of pollinators, offer free downloads of Pollinator Garden Signs that you can print and post in your garden to help raise awareness.