Honeybees have been disappearing in record numbers. And they are not the only
pollinators that are imperiled. Some butterflies and native bees have
experienced significant population declines also, says Eric Mäder, Assistant
Pollinator Program Director for the Xerces
and sign the Pollinator Protection Pledge. You can also order a Pollinator
Habitat sign for your garden.
It was just a few years ago that homeowners were asking what they could plant
that would not attract bees. Now, the question is more likely to be, “How can I
attract bees and other pollinators to my garden?”
Pollinators are a diverse and fascinating group of invertebrates, and we have
them to thank for beautiful blooming meadows, juicy summer berries, bountiful
vegetable gardens, and colorful pumpkins and gourds.
The Home Garden Seed Association, inspired by the conservation work of the
Xerces Society, encourages all home gardeners to help the cause of pollinator
protection by planting more flowers, an important food resource for all kinds of
bees and butterflies. Every flower border, bed, and windowbox helps!
“Providing patches of flowers is one thing we can do to improve the
environment for pollinators.” The Xerces Society
- Flowers clustered in clumps of at least four feet in
diameter are more attractive to pollinators than scattered
- A succession of flowering plants that lasts from spring
through fall will support a range of bee species.
- Flowers of different shapes will attract different types of
- Pesticides are a major threat to insect pollinators.
- The value, in dollars, pollinators’ services to our food
business is estimated to be upwards of $4 billion—nothing to
How to Grow a Pollinator Garden from Seed
Now is the time to
plan for a bounty of pollen plants that will help pollinators in
your region thrive from spring through fall.
Early spring: Where winters are cold, pollinators rely on
blooming trees in spring, but early-blooming flowering plants
provide additional resources.
through summer: Choices abound! Many pollinator favorites are
annuals that can be easily, and inexpensively, grown from seed.
Late summer into fall: Sunflowers, agastache, herbs, and
marigolds supplement late blooming perennials in sustaining
pollinators into the fall.
Bee and Butterfly Plants You Can Grow
Easily from Seed
Early-Blooming Pollinator Plants (Bloom
time may differ, depending on location)
Baby blue eyes (Nemophila)
Bishop’s flower (Ammi)
Cal. poppy (Eschscholzia)
Mid-Season Pollinator Plants
Bachelor’s button (Centaurea)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
Squash, Pumpkin (Cucurbita)
Late-Blooming Pollinator Plants
Mexican sunflower (Tithonia)