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3 Keys to a Successful Pollinator Garden

3 Keys to a Successful Pollinator Garden

Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden

Did you know that we invite wildlife into our gardens through the plants and decor we select? Like humans, pollinators require basic physiological and safety needs to survive. Unfortunately, as a result of increased habitat loss, disease, and the overabundant abuse of pesticides, our native pollinators and domesticated bees are dwindling. Thankfully, we can do our part to preserve their population by strategically incorporating supplemental elements into our landscapes. Find out which essentials you need to produce a prolific pollinator garden.


Bonick Landscaping 3 Keys to a Successful Pollinator Garden

1. Food

First, making conscious plant choices is crucial to feeding our pollinators. Selecting native, flowering plants that provide pollen and/or nectar in a variety of shapes and colors will attract diversity in pollinators. Plant these in ample groups for maximum efficiency—once a pollinator learns the ropes, they’ll likely return to the same area.

Use your mouse or trackpad to scroll horizontally through full chart below

Plant Traits & the Pollinators They Attract

COLORDull white, green
or purple
Bright white, yellow,
blue, or UV
Dull white or greenScarlet, orange,
or white
Bright, including
red and purple
Pale and dull to dark brown or purple;
flecked with translucent
Pale and dull red,
purple, pink or white
SCENTStrong musty;
emitted at night
Fresh, mild,
None to strongly
fruity or fetid
NoneFaint but freshPutridStrong sweet;
emitted at night
Usually presentSometimes
not hidden
Ample; deeply
Ample; deeply
Usually absentAmple; deeply
POLLENAmpleAmpleAmpleModestLimitedModest in amountLimited
Regular; bowl
shaped – closed
during day
Shallow; have
landing platform;
Large bowl-like,
Large funnel
like; cups, strong
perch support
Narrow tube with
spur; wide
landing pad
Shallow; funnel like or
complex and trap-like
Regular; tubular
without a lip
Courtesy of Pollinator.org


Bonick Landscaping 3 Keys to a Successful Pollinator Garden

For example, zinnias, cosmos, and sunflowers provide supple sources of food for bees and butterflies. To aid our endangered Monarch butterfly, be sure to plant Milkweed to feed caterpillars (and offer a habitat for laying eggs). Herbs such as mint, oregano, parsley, chives, garlic, and lavender also render an abundance of sustenance. Even weeds like the dreaded dandelion nurture pollinators with their nectar long before most other flowers bloom.
Bonick Landscaping 3 Keys to a Successful Pollinator Garden

2. Water

Next, pollinators need a source of water for survival. While they’re able to extract some liquid from the nectar of flowering plants, it’s preferable to provide them with areas of low-lying open water. Bird baths, ponds, shallow fountains, or even small places prone to puddling offer ample hydration and bathing basins for your pollinator garden without the danger of drowning.


Bonick Landscaping 3 Keys to a Successful Pollinator Garden

3. Shelter

Finally, provide protection against predators and the natural elements with adequate shelter. Shelter comes in all shapes and sizes—from crevices in decks, sheds, or trees to undisturbed soil areas, or even an overturned leaf or woody debris. The ideal pollinator garden allows room for large planting beds that can accommodate layers containing a variety of vegetation—plants, shrubs, grasses, etc.—for various nesting needs. For smaller gardens, try incorporating a natural screen with native hedges or add native vines.


Bonick Landscaping 3 Keys to a Successful Pollinator Garden

The majority of our native bees are ground-nesters, burrowing within the soil. Tunnel nesters, like this solitary bee, chew their way into thick stems or dead wood. (Photo by  Jessica Womack)


Bonick Landscaping 3 Keys to a Successful Pollinator Garden

Due to human population growth and business expansion, the decline in natural habitats is prevalent. Man-made shelter is another viable option for our purposeful pollinators. Birdhouses, bat boxes, and bee blocks or boxes extend asylum to these essential creatures to help preserve our ecosystem. Adding these structures to your pollinator garden provides benefits to you as well!


Additional Tips

  • Create areas of shade and sun that shield pollinators from the wind.
  • Choose organic compost instead of commercial fertilizers
  • Avoid insecticides & pesticides!
  • Resist the urge to disturb your newly-created pollinator garden


Take the guesswork out of creating a pollinator garden and allow our expert horticulturists and garden designers to work in tandem to create a natural habitat for wildlife in your estate. Contact us for a custom consultation.




Texas Parks & Wildlife: Monarchs

Texas Parks & Wildlife: Bees

Texas Bee Supply


Texas Master Naturalist Gardening


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