Enhance Biodiversity by Planting Your Own Pollinator Garden

Pollinator Garden

To build a healthier future for all, we need to think beyond simply increasing humanity’s access to calories, but also to improving access to enough quality and nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables, many of which depend on bees or other insects for pollination.


Nearly one-third of our fruits, nuts and vegetables benefit from pollination by bees. Bees not only contribute to food production, but they are an important part of the environment, contributing to wild plant pollination and providing a food source and other resources to wildlife in their local ecosystems.'


A lack of diverse forage for honeybees and the loss of habitat for wild bees are key threats for pollinators. The good news is every garden – big or small - can be a paradise for insects.


You can plant your own pollinator friendly garden by following these tips:

  • Plant flowers that are best adapted to where you live. They are the normal food source for local pollinators. The Pollinator Partnership's Bee Smart mobile app is a great resource to help you choose pollinator-attracting plants in your area. Visit to learn more.
  • Plan for a long season of bloom. Combine plants that will bloom from early spring to fall (even in winter in milder climates). A long season of color means a consistent food source all season.
  • Include diverse flower colors, fragrances and shapes. Bees are especially attracted to flowers in shades of blue, purple, white and yellow. Butterflies love red and purple blooms.
  • Plant in full sun. Many pollinators prefer to visit sunny locations.
  • Plant generously. Large groupings of flowers are more attractive than single plants.
  • Minimize hybrid flowering plants. Many hybrids are bred to have less fragrance, nectar or pollen.
  • Provide food and water sources. Use feeders to attract hummingbirds or salt licks to lure butterflies. Provide fresh water - bee colonies require a ready source of water.
  • Provide habitat for nesting and egg-laying. Grassy or weedy areas, shrubbery, wooden logs, "bat houses" and "bee blocks" can provide nesting areas and/or cover for pollinators.
  • Use pesticides wisely. Follow label instructions and avoid spraying when pollinators are active.
  • Planting and care. Choose plants that are well-adapted to the sun and soil conditions in your garden. Water as needed (even native plants will need water until established).


Developed by author and garden expert Lance Walheim, whose books include Citrus and The Natural Rose Gardener, Roses for Dummies and Lawn Care for Dummies.

Here are some plants that can be grown in many areas of the U.S. 
  • Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) - Annual 
  • Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) - Annual 
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) - Biennial 
  • Butter¬flyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) - Perennial 
  • Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) - Perennial 
  • Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea) - Perennial 
  • Purple Cone¬flower (Echinacea purpurea) - Perennial 
  • Maximilian Sun¬flower (Helianthus maximiliani) - Perennial 
  • Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya) - Perennial 
  • Wild Bergamot (Monarda stulosa) - Perennial 
  • Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) - Perennial 
  • Gray-headed Cone¬flower (Ratibida pinnata) - Perennial
  • Rigid Goldenrod (Solidago rigida) - Perennial 
  • New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) - Perennial