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5 Tips for Attracting Bees, Butterflies, and Other Pollinators to Your Garden

Written by Judith Lipson- Rubin | Tue, Nov 07, 2017

Pollinators such as birds, bees, and butterflies are not only fun and beautiful to look at, they are an essential part of the ecosystem. Using plants that naturally attract these desirable creatures and complementing them with feeders will bring many pollinators to your yard. Here are five ways that will help you create a beautiful garden that welcomes these critical creatures.

1 – Use perennials that bees and birds will like

Some plants are especially suitable for attracting pollinators. Perennials are especially good for this, and are easy to care for. Three popular ones are butterfly weed, turtlehead (Chelone), and Helenium, a type of sunflower. Planting these in a garden is not only attractive but will also naturally attract bees and butterflies.

2 – Use shrubs and trees

There are a variety of flowering shrubs and trees that will also attract pollinators. Using dense shrubs also gives birds a place that they can hide and feel safe. Birds are often scared off by household pets, especially cats. If they know they are safe, they are more likely to come around and enjoy the flowers and feed that you use to attract them.

Some shrubs that are especially good include clethra and honeysuckle. Both are very attractive and will complement the perennials that you plant in your pollinator garden.

3 – Use a wide variety of plants

Biodiversity is essential, and keeping the plants that you use diverse will help make your garden more interesting for pollinators. Don’t just pick one flower or shrub that you like - try to find half a dozen or more that complement each other. It’s best to include many different types of flowers and shrubs so you have staggered bloom timing. Plant color also gives you an opportunity to add diversity to your yard; while bees prefer purples, blues, and whites, hummingbirds are attracted to the color red.  

4 – Attract birds

Birds are especially good pollinators. Not only do they pollinate flowers, they also move seeds around, helping to proliferate your plants. There are a few types of feeders you can purchase to help with this.

Hummingbird feeders are small glass jars that get filled with nectar. You can easily make this nectar by boiling water and adding sugar. The preferred ratio is 1 part sugar and four parts water. You can find beautiful feeders on Amazon or at your local Lowes or Home Depot. Once you have your hummingbird “feed,” fill your feeder and enjoy watching these lovely little birds.

For songbirds it’s better to use a seed feeder. With these, you’ll want to think about the location. Keep them close to some dense bushes or trees so the birds you are hoping to attract will feel safe. Putting them in this position will allow them to hop from the shrub to the feeder and avoid predatory animals. If possible, talk to someone who knows about your local birds and find out what kind of feed they like in your region.

Additionally, with bird feeders, you’ll want to have a screen or dome positioned on the hanger above it to protect your feeder from squirrels and other small critters who will be attracted to the free feed. Squirrels have been known to eat an entire feeder overnight, or even destroy them.

Birdbaths are also great for attracting birds in the summer. Make sure that you are regularly changing the water to prevent mosquitos from laying eggs in the pool.

5 – Know what you don’t want to attract

You’ll want to take precautions not to attract unwanted creatures like squirrels and mosquitos. Additionally, if you are allergic to bees, you’ll want to avoid plants that specifically attract bees. If you have cats, attracting birds may not be the best idea.

These are just a few fun ideas to create a yard that is friendly for pollinators. Planting a pollinator-friendly garden is a great way to take care of the earth and encourage birds, bees, and butterflies to enjoy your yard.

Moodscapes LLC is an organic landscape design and service company with a focus on helping you extend your life outdoors to enjoy activities on your own, as a family and with friends. We create opportunities for you to commune with and find joy and peace in nature and to live in an ecologically friendly and healthy environment. Please explore our landscape services and the portfolio that demonstrates many examples of our work.