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South Central Gardening: Seven Simple Ways to Make Your Garden Buzz with Life

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Work with pollinators, not against them. Here are some simple tips to make your garden pollinator-friendly.

Gulf fritillary butterfly on Pentas lanceolata.
A monarch caterpillar explores tropical milkweed.

Your garden can be a haven for pollinators in a harsh world. Just follow these seven tips to make your garden an inviting habitat:

Tip 1: Choose plants with simple flowers. Insects see flowers as landing pads. The simpler the shape, the better.

Tip 2: Incorporate appealing colors. Bees like blue and yellow flowers. Hummingbirds fly to hot pink and red, while adult butterflies flock to red, yellow and bright-pink blooms. Many moths work at night, so incorporate some white or pale flowers such as Leucanthemum × superbum 'Becky' too.

Tip 3: If you want more butterflies, feed their larvae. Swallowtail caterpillars eat a variety of foods but also enjoy attractive plants such as dill and fennel. Monarchs eat only milkweed, and I plant several, including pink swamp milkweed.


Moth on catmint.

Tip 4: Avoid using insecticides. It just makes sense. Insecticides kill all insects, including pollinators. Just say no.

Tip 5: Create a multiseason garden with something in bloom from spring through fall. Choose early bloomers such as pansies and small bulbs. When summer comes, plant trumpet-shape annuals, perhaps petunias, and perennial powerhouses such as rudbeckia, Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' and catmint. Mums and asters bloom in fall and help pollinators stock up before winter.

Tip 6: Let your garden be a bit messy. Some of those "weeds" may be native plants.

Tip 7: Keep water in the garden in clean, shallow containers. Place small rocks in birdbaths for butterfly puddles and bird perches.

Try even a few of these tips and you'll find your garden alive with pollinators. You'll enjoy your garden more too.