attracting wild pollinators how to mason bees wild bees and native bees

Tips for planting a pollinator garden

When planting a pollinator garden, keep in mind that pollinators need food during the entire growing season. Although some species live only a few weeks, different species become active at different times of the year. In other words, something must be in flower at all times throughout the spring, summer, and fall if you want to have a varied and continuous supply of visitors. Here are some tips for a successful pollinator garden.

  • The wider the variety of flowers you plant, the wider the variety of pollinators you will attract. Different pollinators are attracted to different plant features, so give them plenty of options.
  • Choose flowers of different colors. Bees are particularly fond of blue, purple, violet, white, and yellow. Hummingbirds, on the other hand, like the reds.
  • Flowers planted in clumps of like-kind tend to attract more pollinators than scattered mixtures.
  • Plant flowers of different shapes. Pollinators have an amazing variety of tongue lengths, mouths sizes, body sizes, and taste preferences. Flowers of various geometries attract a wider selection of pollinators.
  • Highly selected hybrids often have less nectar than heirloom varieties. Stick with heirlooms or native varieties, when possible.
  • Plants in the sun attract more pollinators than plants in the shade.
  • Sheltered plants are more favored than plants that thrash in the wind.
  • Have a source of mud readily available. Certain bees, such as mason bees, use it for sealing their nests.
  • Skip the pesticides—not good for them, not good for you.



  • Rusty:

    There is a chain link fence between my place and the neighbors. I have made a flower bed along the fence, and I am starting to plant bee friendly plants for our native bees. I would like to plant something that will use the chain link fence as support, and was thinking of Clematis.

    In the researching that I have been doing, I read that bees do use Clematis, but it doesn’t seem to be on any lists as favorites for them.

    Do they forage on Clematis very much?
    Is there one variety here in the Pacific Northwest that is better than others?
    Is there a more appropriate plant that would use the fence as support?

    I was going to plant sweet peas, but our neighbor has an Autistic boy that “loves” peas. I would be worried about him reaching through and picking and eating the pods.

    Thanks for your help

    • Randy,

      I have never seen a single bee on my Clematis, but that could be the specific variety. Some people say bees like it, so I don’t know. I’ve had good luck with the climbing type of nasturtiums. Bees flock to it, it doesn’t produce peas (!), and it’s pretty to look at.

      • Thanks Rusty.

        Climbing nasturtiums it is going to be.

        Thanks also for all of the time and work that you put into this great web page.


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