Pollinator Gardens: Attracting Butterflies, Bees, and Other Pollinators to Your Landscape

August 12, 2019

Are you looking for a way to attract more birds and butterflies to your garden this season? Pollinator gardens are eco-friendly for bringing life and color into your landscape. Not only do pollinators add aesthetic value, but they can also increase crop yields and the production of seeds, fruits, and nuts that plants depend on to reproduce. In this post, we’ll provide practical advice about creating a pollinator paradise in your yard: from selecting plant varieties to providing shelter for desirable visitors. Whether you have just started gardening, are planning for either residential or commercial maintenance, or have been cultivating flowers for years, read on to learn how to get creative with your landscaping while doing something good for the environment!

Understand Pollinators and Their Role in the Ecosystem

Pollinators play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity and contributing to the growth of various crops. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are attracted to flowers and plants that offer nectar and pollen. Creating a pollinator garden can help attract these beneficial insects to your landscape. Understanding pollinators’ role and importance in the ecosystem is the first step towards designing and cultivating a successful pollinator garden. Providing diverse plants that bloom throughout the growing season is key to drawing in and sustaining pollinator populations. By creating a haven for pollinators, you can improve your garden’s productivity and contribute to the health of local ecosystems and food systems.

flowering native plants with butterflies

How to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

Start by selecting a sunny spot with well-drained soil where pollinators can access nectar and pollen easily. Choose native plants that bloom at different times throughout the growing season to provide continuous food sources for pollinators. Additionally, avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your garden, as they can harm the very insects you’re trying to attract. Incorporate a mix of flowering annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees that flower to provide nectar and pollen sources throughout the growing season. With some planning and care, your pollinator garden can become a beautiful and important habitat for these essential creatures.

Best Native Plants for your Pollinator Garden in Colorado

Rocky Mountain Penstemon (Penstemon strictus)

Rocky Mountain Penstemon (Penstemon strictus) closeup

Planting Rocky Mountain Penstemon, or Penstemon strictus, can have both benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, this perennial plant is a beautiful addition to any garden with its vibrant purple-blue flowers and striking foliage. It’s also a drought-tolerant plant and can handle harsh climates, making it an excellent choice for those looking to add color to their garden without sacrificing sustainability. However, on the downside, Rocky Mountain Penstemon can be susceptible to pests and diseases, requiring regular care and attention until it is established. Overwatering can also lead to root rot, so it’s essential to ensure that the soil drains well. Knowing the positives and negatives of growing Rocky Mountain Penstemon is key to successfully adding this plant to your garden.

Native Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa)

Native Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa) closeup

Planting Native Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa) can benefit your garden and support the ecosystem. This plant offers a stunning display of lavender-pink flowers and attracts many pollinators. Additionally, growing is relatively easy and can endure harsh weather conditions. However, planting Native Bee Balm also has its downsides. It spreads quickly and can take over the garden if not managed properly. Monitoring and pruning its growth regularly is essential to prevent it from becoming too invasive. Ultimately, weighing the positives and negatives of planting Native Bee Balm can help you decide if it’s the right choice for your garden.

Garden Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Garden Sage (Salvia officinalis) closeup

Garden Sage, also known as Salvia officinalis, is a versatile herb that can be a valuable addition to any herb garden. On the positive side, it is a hardy plant that is easy to grow and maintain, making it perfect for gardeners of all levels. It also has many culinary and medicinal uses, including adding flavor to dishes and using it as a natural remedy for sore throats and digestive issues. However, on the negative side, it can be invasive in certain growing conditions and can attract unwanted wildlife, such as rabbits, squirrels, and deer. Therefore, before planting Garden Sage, it is important to consider the potential positives and negatives and find the best growing environment for this herb.

Indian Blanket (Gillardia pulchella)

Indian Blanket (Gillardia pulchella) closeup

If you are considering planting Indian Blanket in your garden or yard, there are positives and negatives to consider before making your decision. On the positive side, these vibrant flowers are drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, making them an excellent option for those who want to add color to their outdoor spaces without spending much time on upkeep. On the negative side, Indian Blanket can spread quickly and aggressively, which may not be desirable for some gardeners. It is essential to weigh these pros and cons before deciding if Indian Blanket is the right choice for your gardening needs.

Showy & Early Goldenrod (Solidago gigantea & speciosa)

Showy & Early Goldenrod (Solidago gigantea & speciosa) closeup

The Showy and Early Goldenrods may be some of the most stunning plants you can add to your garden, but just like any other plants, there are pros and cons to growing these. On the positive side, both the Showy and Early Goldenrod produce beautiful blooms that add bright pops of yellow to your outdoor space. Moreover, they both require minimal care and are incredibly versatile, thriving in various conditions, from full sun to partial shade. However, on the negative side, both varieties of Goldenrod can be invasive if left unchecked, potentially crowding out other plants in your garden if allowed to proliferate. Furthermore, some people may be allergic to Goldenrod pollen, leading to respiratory issues and other allergies. Despite the potential downside, Showy and Early Goldenrod are still excellent additions to any garden, offering beauty and value to the ecosystem.

To get more information on pollinator-friendly plants for Colorado click HERE

Positioning your Garden to Maximize Sun Exposure

When planting a pollinator garden, selecting the right location is key. Placing your garden in an area that receives ample sunlight is crucial for the growth and health of your plants and can attract more pollinators. Bees and butterflies, for example, require warm and sunny spots to bask in the sun and feed on nectar easily. To ensure that your pollinator garden receives maximum sun exposure, consider planting it in a location that faces south or southwest. Additionally, try to avoid areas that are shaded by trees or buildings for most of the day. By creating a sunny and inviting space, your garden will thrive and become a hub for a diverse range of pollinators.

Native fountain grass next to yellow perennial flowers

Creating Additional Attractions with Water Features and Structures

Pollinator gardens are a valuable and beautiful addition to any landscape. Consider features designed with pollinators in mind to help give your new friends a stronger chance at thriving! Incorporating a water feature such as a fountain or bird bath can provide a source of hydration for these hard-working creatures while enhancing the garden’s ambiance with the soothing sound of flowing water. Similarly, adding structures such as trellises or hardscaping elements like rocks can create new climbing surfaces, hiding places, and egg-laying spaces for pollinators. Increasing the variety of features in your pollinator garden can significantly impact the number of species it attracts and overall garden health and beauty.

pink native flowers on a bed of smaller rocks. Boulders and large native grass in the background

Contact the Specialists at Environmental Designs Today!

Pollinator Gardens are a great way to help your landscape bloom and thrive while providing support and habitat for our important friends. Not only will such a garden look vibrant and beautiful, but it will nourish the natural ecosystem that we rely on to have essential food crops to feed us, as well as medicine, clothing, shelter, and everyday life products. So take this chance to join the bee-friendly movement by embracing joyful gardening with pollinator-friendly plants in your yard or garden. Backyard pollinator gardens can make a big difference in promoting biodiversity in your local area and giving pollinators the resources they need to survive! If you’re overwhelmed by all the decisions that come with designing a Pollinator Garden, let the professionals at Environmental Designs help you create an inviting outdoor environment that supports multiple species of local bees or butterflies. Together we can protect pollinators and ensure their legacy lives on for generations!