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Pollinator Garden Plants

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Pollinator Garden Plants

Nectar & Pollen SourcesGO NATIVE! Native plants are the heart of a pollinator friendly garden.  Research shows that native plants are 4 times more attractive to pollinators than non-natives, so planting natives in your yard will supply pollinators with the nutrition they need to thrive. Natives are also well adapted to survive in a particular geographic area according to the climate, soils, rainfall and availability of pollinators and seed dispersers. And because they are indigenous to a specific region, native plants usually require little maintenance and are welcomed by wildlife, serving an important role in the local ecosystem.Here are some more suggestions for optimizing your pollinator plantings.
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Pollinator Garden Plants

The most important step you can take is to plant a pollinator-friendly garden. Choose nectar and pollen-rich plants like wildflowers and old-fashioned varieties of flowers. A succession of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs is best so nectar and pollen will be available throughout the growing season. Also, include plants like dill, fennel and milkweed that butterfly larvae feed on.
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Pollinator Garden Plants

As a founding employee of Gardener’s Supply, I wore many different hats over the years. Currently, I have my own company called Johnnie Brook Creative. The gardens around my home in Richmond, VT, include a large vegetable garden, seasonal greenhouse, cutting garden, perennial gardens, rock garden, shade garden, berry plantings, lots of container plants and a meadow garden. There’s no place I’d rather be than in the garden.
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Pollinator Garden Plants

Larval Host Plants for Butterflies and MothsWithout host plants for butterfly larvae (caterpillars) there will be no butterflies! So don’t forget to provide this vital food source.  Many butterfly larvae can only feed on one or two specific host plants, particularly native trees, shrubs and perennials, that are vital to their survival.  Here are some examples:
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Pollinator Garden Plants

These caterpillars will eat the leaves of their host plants, so don’t panic when you see some holes.  It just means the plants are doing their job. To learn more, and for a list of larval host plants, check out these publications:
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Pollinator Garden Plants

Many pesticides — even organic ones — are toxic to bees and other beneficial organisms. There’s no need to use powerful poisons to protect your garden from insects and diseases. In the short term they may provide a quick knock-down to the attackers, but they also kill beneficial organisms. In the long term, you expose yourself, family, pets and wildlife to toxic chemicals, and risk disrupting the natural ecosystem that you and your garden inhabit.
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Pollinator Garden Plants

More and more gardeners are anxious to do their part to help the bees by adding to the shrinking inventory of flower-rich habitat in their area. You can create a ‘bee garden’. In return, the bees will pollinate your flowers, providing a bountiful harvest of fruits, seeds and vegetables as well as the joy of watching them up close. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you grow your bee garden:
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Pollinator Garden Plants

Avoid using herbicides or pesticides in the bee garden. They not only can be toxic to bees but also are best not introduced to children or adults that visit your garden. Ladybugs, spiders, and praying mantises will naturally keep pest populations in check.
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Replace part or all of your front lawn grass with flowering plants, which provides food and habitat for honey bees, bumble bees, solitary bees, butterflies and other pollinators.  Please read the informative guest blog post by The Gardener’s Eden.
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Our ecoregional planting guides, Selecting Plants for Pollinators, are tailored to specific areas of the United States. You can find out which ecoregion you live in and get your free guide by entering your zip code below. For Canadian Guides click here
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Any size garden can attract and support pollinators — from a wildflower meadow to a planter with a few well-chosen species. Researchers in Tuscon, AZ, have found that communities of bees can sustain themselves for long periods of time in small vacant city lots.
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An organic approach is both safer and more effective. By applying the simple principles of ecological plant protection, you can work with nature to control pests and diseases, enjoy a healthier garden and harvest and protect pollinators and other beneficial insects.
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Bees, birds and butterflies also all need water. Install a water garden, a birdbath or a catch basin for rain. Butterflies are attracted to muddy puddles which they will flock to for salts and nutrients as well as water.
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Leave a patch of the garden in a sunny spot uncultivated for native bees that burrow. Some native bees also need access to soil surface for nesting. For wood- and stem-nesting bees, this means piles of branches, bamboo sections, hollow reeds, or nesting blocks made out of untreated wood. Mason bees need a source of water and mud, and many kinds of bees are attracted to weedy, untended hedgerows.  You can also support our Sponsor-a-Hive program, which places solitary bee homes (and honey bee hives) in school and community gardens across the U.S.

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13 Photos of the "Pollinator Garden Plants"

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