A Pollinator Buffet for Your Backyard

July 20, 2019

READ TIME: 2 MINS

Humans eat, and so do pollinators. Urbanization and other redevelopment of the planet have reduced the acreage of natural land, which means fewer native wildflowers and generally less flora overall. The bad news for pollinators? That’s what they eat for dinner (or brunch, for the more fashionable pollinators out there).

Helping to reverse this trend is easier than you might think—often as simple as a trip down to your local garden centre, and some quality time outside one afternoon (make sure to wear sunscreen and a big, floppy hat!).

The Five-Star Pollinator Buffet

  • Plant pollinator-friendly native wildflowers in spring, summer, and fall
  • Plant your wildflowers at different times, so that they’re continuously flowering
  • Mix it up! Include food for bees, butterflies, and nectar-eating birds like hummingbirds
  • Skip the pesticides and herbicides, these chemicals are indiscriminate and kill pollinators too
  • Place a source of water nearby, and make sure that the water is moving to avoid creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes. This can be as simple as hanging a beverage container, and poking a small hole in the bottom to create a slow drip.

The “I Live in a Condo” Pollinator Buffet

  • Hanging planters for your balcony will help make good use of small spaces
  • Choose native wildflowers based on what direction your building faces—some plants need much more direct sunlight than others
  • Place a source of moving water nearby… pollinators need to stay hydrated in the hot weather too!

In many parts of Canada, these native wildflowers are excellent sources of food for pollinators:

Butterflies

  • Pearly Everlasting 
  • Milkweeds
  • Chokecherry
  • Thistles
  • Willows
  • Clovers
  • Eastern Cottonwood
  • Nettles
  • Dill, Fennel, Queen Anne’s Lace, and Parsley

Bees

  • Woodland Sunflower
  • Dense Blazing Star
  • Virginia Mountain Mint
  • Pearly Everlasting
  • Stiff Goldenrod
  • Wild Geranium
  • Swamp Milkweed
  • Bee Balm
  • Culver’s Root
  • Anise Hyssop
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Evening Primrose

Nectar-Eating Birds

  • Trumpet Honeysuckle
  • Red Cardinal Flower
  • Bee Balm
  • Sage
  • Rhododendron
  • Lupine
  • Columbine
  • Lily

Of course, if you’re not located in Canada you should do a bit of reading up to see what local wildflowers in your area are best for supporting pollinator populations 🙂

Don’t forget to check out the fun pollinator-themed design kits we’ve created! A portion of each sale will be donated to the David Suzuki Foundation’s pollinator program. Learn more »

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