How to Create a Butterfly and Bee Friendly Garden

If you’re looking to create a beautiful garden that will also help support native pollinators like butterflies and bees, look no further! In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best plants to include in your garden in order to attract these amazing creatures. We will also provide tips on how to make a successful pollinator garden. Read on and learn how you can help protect our native pollinators and attract them to your garden organically using a variety of plant species!

Let’s start with the basics of pollinator gardens.

Why are bees and butterflies beneficial to my garden?

Bees and butterflies are important pollinators that help to fertilize plants and produce fruits and vegetables. They also help to support the local ecosystem by providing food for other animals like birds. including native bees and butterflies in your garden can help to ensure a healthy and productive garden for years to come!

What are some things I can do to make my garden more bee and butterfly friendly?

How can I attract more pollinators to my garden?

There are a few simple things you can do to make your garden more attractive to bees and butterflies:

  1. Plant native plants:

One of the most important things you can do to help native pollinators is to plant native plants. Native plants have evolved alongside native pollinators, and as a result, they are much better at supporting them than non-native plants. When choosing native plants for your garden, be sure to select a variety of species that will bloom at different times throughout the year. This way, you can provide food for pollinators throughout the entire season! Some great native plants to include in your butterfly and bee friendly garden are:

  • Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

  • Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia pinnatifada)

  • Mountain Mints (Pycnanthemum muticum)

  • Paintbrushes (Castilleja spp.)

  • Penstemons (Penstemon spp.)

  1. Avoid pesticides in your garden:

In order to attract native pollinators to your garden, it is important to plant a variety of native plants that will provide them with food throughout the growing season. However, there are a few other things you can do to make your garden more pollinator-friendly. Avoid using pesticides or herbicides in your garden. These chemicals can be harmful to both pollinators and the plants they rely on for food.

  1. Provide homes for your bees

Provide nesting sites for native bees by leaving areas of your garden undisturbed or planting native grasses. Making sure to include a water source in your garden helps keep these pollinators around and not wandering off.


Top Ten Plants for Attracting Butterflies and Bees to Your Garden:

  1. native plants

  2. pollinators

  3. perennials

  4. Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

  5. Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia pinnatifada)

  6. Mountain Mints (Pycnanthemum muticum)

  7. Paintbrushes (Castilleja spp.)

  8. Penstemons (Penstemon spp.)

  9. asters

  10. goldenrod

Best Pollinator Plants by Garden Zone:

Zones 3-7: Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta), Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia pinnatifada), Mountain Mints (Pycnanthemum muticum), Paintbrushes (Castilleja spp.), Penstemons (Penstemon spp.), asters, goldenrod, Weeping Norway Spruce

Zones 3-5: Renaissance Spirea, Balmy Purple Bee Balm, Coneflowers, Butterfly Bush, Zinnias

Zones 6-8: Brakelights Red Yucca, Phlox, Double Scoop Cranberry Coneflower, Salvias, Daisies, Yarrow, Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass, Dark Knight Bluebeard,

Zone 9-11: Flutterby Petite Blue Heaven Butterfly Bush, EveryDayLily Yellow Punch Daylily, Fire Spinner Ice Plant, Pow Wow White Coneflower, With Love Lavender, Mexican Brush Sage, Pink Muhly Grass

Are there other insects that would be beneficial to attracting pollinators?

Absolutely! Every garden “has a life of its own” and creates a mini ecosystem of host plants, food supply, and landscape. The varying nature of each garden setup and varying regions for these gardens will naturally attract different insects as pollinators. Along with butterflies and bees, other local pollinators may include beetles, flys solitary bees, and wasps. Yes, I said beetles, flys and wasps. Are you as surprised as me? Read on to understand how those insects play a role in plant reproduction.

  • Solitary Bees & Wasps (in addition to native bumblebees)

Solitary bees. What does that mean exactly? We mostly know bees as social insects that have one queen and the army either builds the hive, creates honey, or buzzes around to find food and bring it back to the hive. Solitary bees on the other hand don’t live in groups and instead fly solo (pun intended). Each female builds their own nest without the help of other bees. Solitary bees are non-aggressive and have little hairs that help transfer pollen.

  • Flys are a must in your pollinator habitat

I was surprised to learn that there are 85,000 fly species worldwide. They not only act as food for migratory birds, but can be instrumental in the pollination of specific plants such as apples, peppers, mangoes and cashews.

  • Beetles are beneficial for flowering plants

According to Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Beetle (along with flys) fossil records have been found dating back to the late Jurassic era (think 150 million years ago) and could be considered one of the first insect populations that acted as pollinators. Ancient flower species such as magnolias and water lilies are a beetles top plant selection for pollinating.

What is nectar and pollen and are they the same thing?

Great question, they are different. Nectar and pollen both play a different role for insects. The shortest answer is pollen is a source of protein and nectar is a source of energy.

Flowers provide pollen, insects transfer the pollen from male to female plants, and in return the female plants produce nectar. Pollen is also used as larvae food and many pollen producing plants act as larval host plants for this reason.

Questions on native plants and how to attract pollinators.

  • What is the difference between a pollinator garden and a butterfly garden?

    A pollinator garden is a garden that is designed to attract and support native pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. A butterfly garden is a type of pollinator garden that is specifically designed to attract and support butterflies. Both types of gardens are beneficial to native pollinators and can help support the local ecosystem.

  • When should I plant a pollinator garden?

    You can plant a pollinator garden at any time of year. However, it is best to plant native plants that will bloom at different times throughout the year in order to provide food for pollinators throughout the entire season.

  • Do I need to include water in my pollinator garden?

    Yes, it is important to include a water source in your pollinator garden. Native pollinators rely on water for hydration and require access to fresh water sources in order to survive. A simple bird bath or shallow dish filled with fresh water can provide native pollinators with the water they need.

What plants should I plant for a pollinator garden?

There are a variety of native plants that attract and support native pollinators. When choosing plants for your pollinator garden, be sure to select a variety of species that will bloom at different times throughout the year in order to provide food for pollinators throughout the entire season. Native plants will obviously vary by region, but some favorites for our pollinator garden are:

  • Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe involucrata)

  • Evening Primrose (Oenothera)

  • Oriental Poppies (Papaver orientale)

  • Daylilies (Hemerocallis)

  • Yarrow (Achillea) !! (we grow tons of Yarrow in our tree guilds)

  • Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)

  • Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

  • Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia pinnatifada)

  • Mountain Mints (Pycnanthemum muticum)

  • Paintbrushes (Castilleja spp.)

  • Penstemons (Penstemon spp.)

  • Russian Sage

‘Local garden centers can help you choose plants and find great native plants that attracts pollinators and create healthy habitats in your own backyard.

Become a Certified Monarch Butterfly Conservation Garden!

There are a lot of different restoration certifications around monarch butterflies. Check out this extensive list of ways to get involved and attract monarch butterflies to your gardens, promote many native bees, and other pollinators to your local area. Grow plants, display the certification in your yard and tag us on instagram to help spread the word! @homestead.onthehill

love this article on pollinator friendly plants?



Let’s connect! Follow along on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest. If you make this recipe, I’d love to see! Tag your instagram versions with @homestead.onthehill and