Attracting Pollinators to your Garden

Is there anything prettier than fresh cut flowers?  When planning my seed starts I always include flowers for many reasons.  I love the vibrant color they add to the garden, they attract native pollinators, some deter garden pests, many provide seeds for the birds in the fall and of course give my kids something that is “ok” to pick on a daily basis.  My favorite flowers are zinnias and sunflowers.  

Here are some tips to consider when planning your garden and selecting seeds to start indoors if you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden.  Flowers are a great way to encourage native pollinators, but a few mindful touches will bring these beautiful creatures to your garden space too!

  • They like sunny areas and red or orange objects
  • Shapes/flowers that are tubular (for their long tube-like tongue!)
  • Colors should be vivid to catch their attention from at least 30’ overhead
  • If you want to attract both butterflies and hummingbirds plan for separate gardens so they don’t compete with one another.  

Plants hummingbirds like best are crabapple trees clematis, verbena, geraniums, bee balm, phlox, sweet william, coral bells, morning glories, gladiolus and dianthus.  I have also had great luck with zinnias (colorful) and hollyhocks! 

Attracting butterflies to your garden space is a fun way to encourage native pollinators and have a fascinating insect to observe while tending your garden.  Kids LOVE seeing butterflies too!  If you want to attract more butterflies to your garden space, here are a few things to consider when planning and seed starting these next few weeks.  

  • Butterflies like bright, damp areas with flat stones or boards where they can sun themselves
  • Create an environment that is also healthy for a butterfly caterpillar AND the butterfly.
  • Plants necessary for butterfly caterpillars are wild lupine, wild asters, goldenrod, satice, parsley, dill, milkweed, thistle and clover (the last three aren’t exactly comparable with your garden goals though!)
  • Because of winds in Colorado plant your butterfly garden in an area that is somewhat enclosed with trees, shrubs, fences or trellis a flowering vine.
  • Butterflies will perch in shrubs, tree crevices under bark or in long piles.

Some great flowers to attract butterflies include petunia, marigold, foxglove, impatiens, cosmos, verbena, snapdragon, strawberry, bee balm, daylily, black eyed susan, coreopsis and liatris. 

Have fun picking out those flower seeds these next few weeks!