Your Guide to Planting a Garden Perfect for Pollinators

Your Guide to Planting a Garden Perfect for Pollinators

June 5, 2023  |  Garden, Pollinators, Tiny Creatures
A bee next to a sunflower

The plant world is powered by pollinators.  


Birds, bees, butterflies, and other insects all play a vital role in helping the plants that make up our ecosystem reproduce and flourish. Unfortunately, pesticides and invasive species threaten many of the natural pollinators who create the lush natural gardens that thrive in our Ohio home.  


Pollinators are critical to the health of our environment, and their duties go far beyond producing blooming flowers. They are also important for our food production systems; they are responsible for pollinating over one-third of the world’s crops.   


What insects make up your garden’s ecosystem? Here is your guide! 


The good news is that you can make a difference in your home garden. In this post, we will go over how you can plant a garden that is perfect for your local pollinators.  


Help Your Local Pollinators with These Plants 


Pollinators are all around us, and we need to keep it that way! 


Butterflies, bees, moths, and hummingbirds are all examples of common pollinators you can find right in your backyard. What’s more, you can encourage local pollinators to thrive by planting flowers and other flora that serve as ideal homes for these insects and animals.  


Before we recommend the best bee-friendly and insect-friendly plants for your home garden, let's discuss the concept of pollination so we can better understand what it is these tiny creatures do for the local environment every day.  


What is Pollination? 


According to the Ohio State University, pollination is the movement of pollen from the male part (anther) of one flower to the female part (pistil) of another flower. Pollination is the process whereby plants produce seeds and fruits, both of which are necessary for reproduction.  


Some plants are wind pollinated, like grass, small grains, and conifers, but many others rely on animal life to carry pollen from one flower to another.  


Plants that rely on insects and animals for reproduction attract local fauna by offering a reward, such as pollen, nectar, or floral oils. In addition, flowers provide shelter and gathering places for pollinating insects.  


Pollinators and plants rely on one another for life, safety, and reproduction. It is a small example of how every living thing in an ecosystem interacts to create a more prosperous existence for all.  


What Kinds of Plants Encourage Pollinator Conservation?  


Attracting pollinators to your garden is easy. It all comes down to the types of plants you grow in your garden and your responsible use of pesticides.  


Creating butterfly gardens is one example of how you can foster a garden that is perfect for pollinators, but don’t forget about the ones that are less attractive to the human eye. Many vital pollinators are considered pests by the average gardener, and they use harsh pesticides to eradicate them. Remember, there are more pollinators than just butterflies and bees. Please check out this guide from American Pest to learn more.  


Below we will look at some of the best types of garden plants for insect-friendly gardening to help attract pollinators and improve local pollinator conservation efforts.  


Host Plants 


Plants that serve as homes or shelters for insects are just as important as plants that provide pollen or nectar. Host plants are vital places for butterflies and moths to rear their young. Some single plant species are hosts for one specific insect species, like monarch butterflies and milkweed. Other plants serve as hosts to multiple insect species.  


Over the last few generations, the need for land used for farming and development has drastically increased. Further, the spread of invasive species has diminished the diversity and populations of native plants. When you include host plants in your garden, you provide shelter for generations of moths, butterflies, and other pollinating insects.  




Flowering perennials return year after year and are ideal plants for pollinators. Perennials provide nectar and pollen, and some are even good host plants too. Most perennials only bloom for a short time so it's a good idea to include perennials that bloom at different times during the season in your garden.  




Pollinators rely on continuous blooms. That is the importance of annuals. Annuals often bloom all season long meaning a steady supply of nectar and pollen for your local pollinators. Good nectar-providing annuals are bee-friendly plants that butterflies, and other insects will love too. Annuals are heavy bloomers and will provide food for pollinators from May to autumn's first hard frost. Furthermore, you can plant annuals in places that others cannot go, like baskets and window boxes.  


Trees and Shrubs 


Trees and shrubs play an important role when it comes to attracting pollinators. The true multi-taskers of your garden, trees, and shrubs are great habitats for pollinators, including early foragers as they often bloom in early spring. Trees and shrubs are beneficial when you are trying to create a butterfly garden and create a more insect-friendly gardening environment.  


Quick List of Butterfly and Bee-Friendly Plants 


Let’s quickly look at some plants that you can grow to attract pollinators such as butterflies and bees.  

Spring blooming plants

Spring Blooming Plants 


  • Snowdrop 
  • Violets 
  • Hollies 
  • Trumpet honeysuckle 
  • Lilacs 
  • Red maple  
  • Redbud 
Summer blooming plants

Summer Blooming Plants 


  • Bee balm 
  • Milkweed 
  • Pentas 
  • Zinnia 
  • Sunflowers 
  • Lavender 
  • Butterfly bush 
  • Oak 


Get the whole family involved! Here are some fun gardening activities that you can do with your kids! 

Insect-Friendly Gardening from Knollwood Garden Center 


Fostering a garden that supports your local pollinators is one of the best things you can do to give your ecosystem a boost. When you grow bee-friendly and insect-friendly plants you will attract pollinators to your garden and help the local flora thrive.  


Pollinator conservation starts when you purchase native and naturalized plants from Knollwood Garden Center.  


Located in Beavercreek, Knollwood Garden Center is proud to serve Dayton, Kettering, Beavercreek, Centerville, Fairborn, and all of Southern Ohio. We are the premier location to buy garden plants that help pollinators thrive.  


For garden plants that attract pollinators, stop by Knollwood Garden Center today! 


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