Plant a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

Planting a pollinator-friendly garden is a win-win: Provide food and habitat for beneficial insects and boost yields in your food crops.

October/November 2014

By Shelley Stonebrook


Many of the food crops you grow in your garden rely on pollinators — such as bees, wasps, butterflies, beetles and even hummingbirds — to produce fruits. Creating a pollinator-friendly garden is a win-win: You’ll provide much-needed food and habitat for beneficial insects and, in turn, boost yields in your food crops because you’re plants will be well-pollinated. Another added bonus: Such a garden, with its diversity of blooms, will be a stunning visual display.

Planting a pollinator-friendly garden is perhaps more crucial now than ever. Pollinators are in trouble. Their numbers have been steadily declining in recent years, in large part due to the ubiquitous use of potent pesticides. (Read more about neonicotinoids, a particular class of pesticides killing bees and other pollinators.) Pollinators need save havens free of chemicals. Follow the wealth of tips in these resources, and you’ll be on your way to creating such a haven in your own backyard.

Best Plants for Backyard Pollinators
Attract more garden pollinators — bees, butterflies, moths and hummingbirds — by providing the plants they love.

How to Attract Bees and Other Native Pollinators With a Foraging Habitat
By designing a habitat with a diverse array of the right plants, planted in the right places, you can support and attract bees and other native pollinators.

Bees: Protect Your Pollinators
Native bees are essential to ensure a healthy, productive garden.

How to Attract Native Bees to Your Organic Garden
Learn how to attract native bees to your organic garden with insect hotels, bee-friendly plants and more.

How to Attract Mason Bees: A Beneficial Pollinator
The mason bee is a great pollinator and can work blossoms at a lower temperature than honeybees.

The Importance of Bee Pollinators and Plant Health
It’s no exaggeration when researchers point out that our food — and our future — relies on pollinators.

Bumble Bee Buzz Pollination for Your Plants
See how bumblebees can pollinate your garden using buzz pollination and how a strain of fungus is affecting their population.

Solitary Bees: Specialist Pollinators for Your Garden
Solitary bees, such as the digger and squash bee, nest in the soil, making them great pollinators in your garden. Learn which flowers they prefer and how they can help your garden grow.

All About Bees: The Great Garden Pollinators
Bees play an important role in maintaining biological balance in our environment and recycling soil nutrients.

Organic Pest Control: The Best Plants to Attract Beneficial Insects and Bees
The addition of certain plants to your garden or farm will encourage biodiversity and a healthy population of beneficial garden insects that act as Mother Nature’s best organic pest control.

About Yellow Jackets and the Benefits of Wasps in the Garden
Yellow jacket wasps feed their young liquefied insects, with caterpillars, flies and spiders comprising the largest food groups during most of the summer. The effect: Adios, garden pests!

Don’t stop at setting up your pollinator-friendly garden. You can further improve your garden yields by brushing up on the different types of pollination (“buzz” pollination, wind pollination and even hand-pollination) in our Plant Pollination Primer.


Shelley Stonebrook is MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine’s main gardening editor. She’s passionate about growing healthy, sustainable food and taking care of our environment. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and .

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