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How To Create a Pollinator Garden

How to Make a Pollinator Garden

Creating a pollinator garden is a beautiful way to support local ecosystems, promote biodiversity, and help sustain important pollinator species such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. By providing a welcoming habitat for these creatures, you can contribute to preserving our natural environment. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to make a pollinator garden:


Research and Planning:

Start by researching the types of pollinators that are native to your region. Find out which plants and flowers attract them and provide food and shelter. Consider the local climate, soil conditions, and available space in your garden. This research will help you make informed choices during the planning phase.

Selecting Plants:

Choose various flowering plants that bloom at different times of the year. This ensures a continuous food source for pollinators throughout the seasons. Opt for native plants whenever possible, as they are better adapted to the local environment and are more likely to attract local pollinators. Select plants with diverse colors, shapes, and sizes to accommodate different pollinator species.

Garden Design: 

Plan the layout of your garden, considering factors such as sunlight exposure, water availability, and wind patterns. Group plants with similar watering need together. To provide a diverse habitat, incorporate a mix of shrubs, perennials, annuals, and grasses. Create clusters or "drifts" of the same plant species, making it easier for pollinators to locate them.

Soil Preparation: 

Prepare the ground by removing weeds or grass and improving its quality. Add organic matter, like compost, to enrich the soil and enhance its water-holding capacity. Ensure proper drainage by amending heavy clay soils with sand or peat moss. Conduct a soil test to determine if additional amendments, such as lime or sulfur, are necessary to adjust the pH levels.


Follow the planting instructions for each plant, considering the appropriate spacing and depth. Water the plants well after planting to promote healthy root establishment. Mulch the soil around the plants to conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and provide insulation. Use mulch, such as wood chips or straw, to avoid introducing harmful chemicals into the ecosystem.

Watering and Maintenance:

Regularly water the garden to moisten the soil, especially during dry periods. However, be cautious not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. Remove any weeds or invasive species that compete with pollinator-friendly plants. 

Provide nesting sites:

Consider including features that provide nesting sites for different pollinators. Install bee boxes or insect hotels to accommodate solitary bees. Leave patches of bare ground or create small mounds for ground-nesting bees. Provide suitable habitats for butterflies and moths by including host plants for their larvae, such as milkweed for monarch butterflies.

Avoid Pesticides:

Avoid using chemical pesticides in your pollinator garden, as they can harm pollinators and disrupt the natural ecosystem. Instead, adopt natural pest control methods, such as introducing beneficial insects or practicing companion planting, to deter pests.

Learn and observe: 

Take the time to observe and learn about the pollinators that visit your garden. Identify different species and document their behavior. This knowledge will deepen your appreciation for their vital role in the ecosystem and help you make informed decisions to enhance your garden further.

Best Plants To Start a Pollinator Garden With

Red Cardinal Flower


Lobelia cardinalis is indeed a great pollinator plant. It is known for its vibrant red flowers and is highly attractive to pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

The red cardinal flower's shape is particularly well-suited for attracting and accommodating pollinators. Its tubular-shaped blossoms have a long, slender structure, perfect for the long snouts of hummingbirds and butterflies. 

The bright red color of the flowers also acts as a visual signal, attracting pollinators from a distance.

Furthermore, the red cardinal flower produces nectar, a food source for many pollinators. Bees and butterflies, in particular, are drawn to the nectar-producing glands within the flowers.

By planting red cardinal flowers in your garden or natural area, you can create a welcoming habitat for pollinators and contribute to their conservation. 

Tall Annual Phlox

Jeana Tall Phlox - Phlox paniculata | Buy at Michigan Bulb

Phlox drummondii is an excellent plant for attracting and supporting pollinators. It belongs to the Polemoniaceae family and is native to North America. This plant features beautiful clusters of vibrant flowers in various shades of pink, purple, red, and white. Its tall, upright growth habit makes it a standout in the garden.

The tall annual phlox is beautiful to many pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The nectar-rich flowers are a valuable food source for these beneficial insects and birds. By planting tall annual phlox in your garden, you can create a pollinator-friendly environment and contribute to the health and well-being of these essential creatures.

Swamp Milkweed


Asclepias incarnata is a milkweed species that attracts monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus).

Monarchs rely on milkweed plants as their primary source for feeding and a place to lay eggs.

Swamp milkweed is particularly beneficial because it provides both nectars for adult monarchs and leaves for the caterpillars to feed on. The adult butterflies are attracted to the sweet nectar produced by the plant's flowers, while the leaves are 100% food for the caterpillars.

By planting swamp milkweed in your garden or creating a monarch butterfly habitat, you can help support the monarch population. Providing milkweed plants is crucial because it keeps the entire life cycle of monarchs and aids in their conservation efforts.

Butterfly Weed

Butterflyweed - Prairie Flower - Seed Savers Exchange

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is indeed a great pollinator plant. It is known for attracting pollinators, especially butterflies, hence its name. Here are a few reasons why butterfly weed is beneficial for pollinators:

Attracts butterflies:

Butterfly weed produces vibrant orange or yellow flowers that are particularly attractive to butterflies. The nectar-rich blooms serve as a valuable food source for adult butterflies.

Host plant for butterflies:

In addition to attracting butterflies, butterfly weed is a host plant for the monarch butterfly. Monarch caterpillars rely on milkweed plants like butterfly weed as their primary food source, making it an essential plant for their lifecycle.

Pollinator-friendly structure:

The flowers of butterfly weed have a unique structure that provides an ideal landing platform for butterflies. The shape and design of the flowers allow butterflies to easily access the nectar while inadvertently transferring pollen from flower to flower.

Drought-tolerant and low-maintenance:

Butterfly weed is a hardy perennial that thrives in various environments, including dry and sunny locations. It requires minimal maintenance once established, making it a convenient choice for many gardeners.

15 Monarch Pollinator Plants - TN Nursery

15 Monarch Pollinator Plants

This Monarch Pollinator Plants package is a fantastic way to create a butterfly-friendly garden and attract beautiful monarch butterflies to your space. Among the various plants included in the package, the Trumpet Vine, Milkweed, and Jewelweed stand out for their remarkable attributes, making them essential for any butterfly enthusiast. Create a Stunning Meadow With Pollinator Plants Adding 15 monarch pollinator plants to your yard is a great way to create a small wildflower meadow. Some milkweed species have robust, monoecious flowers with a maximum height of three feet. Other variants include vines with long, twining stems. Zinnias can take several forms, including daisy, cactus, and dahlia shapes. They come in various colors, including white, yellow, orange, red, and pink, and they feature vibrant, solitary flowerheads on an upright stem. A coneflower's delicate petals can be any pink, purple, or white shade. Modern coneflowers are available in a rainbow of hues, including orange, green, peach, and coral; they can be single or double-bloomed. Design a Striking Butterfly Heaven With Pollinator Plants They benefit butterfly gardens in various ways. They provide butterflies with food and shelter while the butterflies themselves spread pollen, allowing them to multiply. Some popular flowers that work well in butterfly gardens include verbenas, blazing stars, marigolds, and goldenrods. Planting 15 of them in a cluster will create exquisite havens for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Build a Colorful Woodland Edge With Pollinator Plants A natural ecotone is the gradual change from open to wooded regions; planting flowers that attract butterflies in these areas can help make the transition seem more natural. The habitats the flowers create are optimal for many other kinds of animals, including birds and bees. A few of the most common flowers that work well as woodland edges include barrenworts, hostas, and toad lilies. The attractive blossoms these flowers create add a unique appeal to yards with wooded areas. Enhance your gardens with Monarch Pollinator Plants and nectar flowers to turn them into butterfly waystations. You can even arrange other flowers in an outer ring around the milkweed to create an exciting design. It's best to grow a range of nectar flowers that blossom in the spring, summer, and autumn; these can be annuals, biennials, or perennials. Include a minimum of ten of them, preferably of diverse types, to provide a healthy food supply for the butterflies and their larvae.

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Cardinal Flower - TN Nursery

Cardinal Flower

The Red Cardinal Flower has vibrant red blooms and tall, erect stalks. It adds color and elegance to gardens, parks, and various outdoor spaces. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, it offers several advantages, making it a popular choice for landscapers and gardeners. The scarlet-hued Lobelia cardinalis is a perennial in the bellflower family. Its tall, nectar-filled bloom spikes attract hummingbirds and create a beautiful display in your garden. The plant's common name refers to the red robes a Roman Catholic cardinal wears.     Natural Habitat Of The Cardinal Flower Lobelia is native to the North and South American continents and blooms from July through September. This moisture-loving plant grows on stream banks and in low woods, marshes, and meadows across the United States. If you want to create a handsome show in your garden, Lobelia will surely delight. The plant's fiery spires yield brilliant red blooms that open gradually from the bottom to the top of their racemes. Each long, narrow, tube-shaped blossom has two flat upper petals and three lower petals at the tips. The delicate plant crown leafy 2’-4' stems, covered with shiny, lance-shaped, bright green leaves that sometimes have a bronze or reddish tint. The leaves alternate as they climb the stems, enhancing the blooms to create a lively riot of color. Cardinal Flower is a favorite of gardeners who love adding bold splashes of crimson. This plant is perfect for shady woodland plots, wet meadow plantings, water gardens, pollinator gardens, and rain gardens. Its long stems can add height to borders and create depth when placed in the back sections of your landscape. The blossoms are most spectacular from midsummer into fall and make excellent cut blooms. Ecology Of The Cardinal Flower Some people say Lobelia will bring hummingbirds in from the sky. The plant's blooming period coincides with the late-summer migration of ruby-throated hummingbirds traveling south to Mexico. The birds pollinate the plant by dipping their beaks into the plants' long, red tubes. The blossoms are also beautiful to swallowtail butterflies and bees, making them a wonderful centerpiece in a pollinator garden. Cardinal Flower Is A Bold Statement In Any Garden  When you want to make a bold, beautiful statement in your garden, include the Cardinal Flower in your plan and celebrate the summer season.

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Annual Phlox - TN Nursery

Annual Phlox

Annual Phlox blooms in spring, summer, and fall, making this perennial so popular. It also has a long blooming season in the fall and stays blooming for weeks. This delightful flowering plant brings robust color and charm to any landscaping project. As an annual plant, it completes its life cycle within a single growing season, but its attributes make it a popular choice for gardeners year after year. Let's explore why this annual is a fantastic addition to your landscape. Phlox provides color shades of pink, purple, red, white, and even bi-color combinations. Annual Phlox Provides Stunning Flowers It is a favorite among gardeners who love show-stopping blossoms. This plant is known for producing massive clusters of flowers in spring and summer. The plant features small, flat blooms that burst out of the top of the plant. The flowers always have five petals with rounded or slightly pointed tips, so their shape is similar to a star. During peak blooming season, a plant can quickly produce hundreds of blossoms. TN Nursery Offers Vibrant Colored Annual Phlox Annual Phlox blossoms come in a wide range of different colors. Depending on the variant you select, they can be red, purple, white, pink, or blue. Blooms can range from soft, pastel shades of blush pink and lavender to bright, eye-catching shades of magenta and crimson. Many types have variegated blooms that create awe-inspiring visuals. Some standard options include royal purple flowers with white centers or pink with red centers. Gorgeous Greenery & Delicate Blooms Of The Annual Phlox Though they are mostly known for its flowers, it continues to make a statement even when it's not blooming. Before and after it blossoms, the plant has a graceful look that accentuates any property. It grows in clusters of around six to 20 inches tall. The vertical stalks have a pleasantly even look with regular rows of leaves. The leaves typically have an elongated, teardrop shape with small ripples down the center of each leaf. In most cases, they're a medium green shade, but some variants may have silvery green leaves. The upright spikes of the plants add plenty of visual appeal to any location. Annual Phlox creates dense carpets of flowers that work well for landscapers. Some people like to plant them as fillers in flower beds, and others want to arrange the plants into low shrubs or borders. The versatile colors make coordinating yours with your other plants and decor easy. It's also a popular groundcover form for people who prefer more informal arrangements. A sweeping blanket of them in the spring or summer creates a charming backdrop, and its bright colors work well in wildflower gardens.

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Milkweed Plant - TN Nursery

Milkweed Plant

The milkweed plant is known for attracting monarchs. It is a native perennial with clusters of showy, pink to mauve flowers and lance-shaped leaves. The plant attracts pollinators while thriving in moist, wetland habitats. It boasts numerous benefits when incorporated into landscaping designs. Its unique features contribute to outdoor spaces' aesthetic appeal and ecological value. With clusters of vibrant and captivating flowers, it adds a burst of color and charm to gardens while also serving as a vital component in supporting local ecosystems. Milkweed Plant - Asclepias Incarnata  The Asclepias Incarnata variety of Milkweed is a flowering perennial that, in addition to its ornate floral growths, is highly beneficial for local ecosystems. Today, we will examine this truly stunning and unique plant. The Asclepias Incarnata Milkweed can grow to about 59 inches tall and is known for the vibrant, clustering flowers at the top of the narrow stem. The flowers have a purplish-pink hue and pink shafts reaching the main plant stem. The plant's leaves have a sword-like shape and a deep green hue that remains for most of the year.  When the flowers are in full bloom, they create a stunning contrast against the natural earth colors of the leaves, making them stand out in any garden or landscape. The Asclepias Incarnata Milkweed has opposite leaves that grow in pairs on either side of the stem. Thus, the plant alone has an elegant, tidy, and elegant air. The green leaves work well in drab areas of your garden that could use some brightening. Aside from the innate beauty of Asclepias Incarnata, with its green foliage and glowing pink flowers, this plant also attracts a different kind of beauty-monarch butterflies.  The nectar of the Asclepias Incarnata Milkweed is the only known food source for the larvae of monarch butterflies - That's a Primary Reason Monarch are now going extinct  The monarchs will frequently visit these flowers to nourish themselves with their nectar and lay their eggs in them so the larvae can thrive. As a perennial with rich, nectar-filled flowers, the Asclepias Incarnata Milkweed attracts beautiful hummingbirds. The shifting colors of the hummingbird breast will also contribute to the palette of your outdoor areas. The length of the Asclepias Incarnata leaves varies from 2 ½ inches to 6 inches. They are narrow and have light green veins running through them. They don't grow densely, leaving the flowers to take center stage in their bouquet. The near-neon hue of this Milkweed's flowers makes them great companion pieces for other bright-blooming flowers. Gardeners and landscapers like to plant this variety of Milkweed to add a splash of unique color that instantly breathes new life into dull spaces. Benefits of Milkweed (Asclepias Incarnata) Yes, the Asclepias Incarnata looks stunning in full bloom. However, there are perhaps even more important reasons you should consider adding this perennial to your garden. It's A Native Plant - The Asclepias Incarnata Milkweed grows natively in North America. They have been observed to grow wild from Texas to Nova Scotia. This means they will be easy for you to plant, cultivate, and maintain even if you don't have much gardening experience. Asclepias Tuberosa Plant Supports the Local Honey Bee Population  Honeybees are vital to your local ecosystem as they are natural pollinators. In fact, according to Farmers.gov, honey bees are responsible for the pollination of nearly 80% of our flowering plants. Keeping Milkweed can attract bees that pollinate your garden's flowers and other plants. The honey bee population is dramatically declining, and providing sanctuaries for these critical links in the ecosystem has never been more important.  Keeps Pests Away Asclepias Incarnata contains a natural latex that repels invasive insects and animals that would otherwise feast on the plant. This Milkweed in your garden can, therefore, repel these pests and keep your other plants healthier. Ornamental Value - If you look closely at the flowers, you will see they are made of smaller, intricate flowers. This gives them a stunning appearance, while the purple-pink coloration adds ornamental value to many landscapes. Plus, the flowers have a fragrant aroma that some have said is reminiscent of cinnamon. T Monarch Butterfly Population-Like honey bees, the monarch butterfly population is in decline. Some leading conservation groups have even classified them as endangered. You can do your part to support the migration patterns of the Monarch butterfly by keeping the Asclepias Incarnata Milkweed in your garden.  Milkweed F.A.Q.s If you still have questions about the Asclepias Incarnata Milkweed, please look at the following answers to some of the most common questions:  Is Asclepias Incarnata Sun or Shade?  The Asclepias Incarnata Milkweed does well in full sun or partially shaded areas. However, the seeds germinate quickly with heat, so these plants need at least some direct sunlight. When do you Plant Asclepias Incarnata? The best time to plant this Milkweed is in the fall when the soil is likely wet. The Asclepias Incarnata prefers wet and moist soil, so if your area receives a good amount of rain in the Spring, you can also plant it in early Spring. How Tall are Asclepias Incarnata Milkweeds During Maturity? The Asclepias Incarnata Milkweed can grow to about five feet tall depending on how it is maintained and how much room the root system has to grow. When Should I Prune Asclepias Incarnata? The best time to prune this plant is in the Spring before it sprouts new growths. Pruning helps make the plant look more attractive and encourages the development of new leaves. However, it may not be necessary if the plant is already healthy. Do Monarchs Like Asclepias Incarnata? Absolutely. The females lay their eggs on them as they provide a food source for Monarch butterfly larvae. Adult monarch butterflies are also attracted to the nectar of the Milkweed flowers. Your Milkweeds Are Here. No matter what type of Milkweed plant you want, we have them available here at TN Nursery. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, making us a perfect choice for experienced and new gardening enthusiasts. Order now to paint your outdoor spaces with vibrant colors. It is a tall plant noted for its pink to purple flowers. It is one of 115 plants in the Asclepiadaceae family, named after Asklepios, the Greek god of medicine. This is appropriate because it is known for containing high levels of cardiac glycosides, which are used in some treatments for heart disease. This same substance also serves as the only source for Monarch butterfly larvae. Where Does Milkweed Grow It is native to the midwestern and eastern regions of the United States and Canada, but it can also be found further west. It is most commonly found in more open habitats, such as pastures, prairies, fields, and roadsides. It needs total sun to grow but can tolerate light shade as well. You’ll typically find it commonly clustered together into large patches, which are called colonies.  It can grow to be over five feet tall. The foliage can grow up to 8 inches, elongated nearly four inches wide, and is somewhat thick. The upper part of the oval-shaped leaves is usually darker greenish, while the underside is much lighter green and sometimes even white. When cut, both the leaves and the stems reveal a milky latex. The flowers can grow nearly an inch long and half an inch wide with a midrib that runs beneath them. They have a pink to purple coloring over them with a greenish tint and are very sweetly scented. Milkweed Plant Has Striking Pink-Purple Blooms The pink-to-purple colors contrast nicely against lush green fields and dry yellow prairies. Gardeners like it for its distinctive appearance and sweet, fragrant aromas. Find Milkweed and more at TN Nursery. Another reason why gardeners often like it is that it serves as the host plant for the beautiful monarch butterfly. These butterflies will lay their eggs on it, and as mentioned previously, the nectar also serves as the only food source for the Monarch larvae. Gardeners who like monarch butterflies or are otherwise concerned about their declining population can grow it to provide these butterflies with a natural habitat. The flowering perennial is named for its cardenolide-bearing latex, which benefits butterflies and insects. Monarch butterflies use and require specific species, including Asclepias syriaca and Asclepias incarnata, as host plants: their genus name, Asclepias, honors Asklepios, the Greek god of medicine.  Asclepias contains hundreds of species native to Africa, North America, and South America. Asclepias syriaca and Asclepias incarnata are native to the American continents and standard across the central and eastern United States. The sun-loving Asclepias syriaca grows naturally in fields, prairies, and pastures, while Asclepias incarnata grows along creeks, ponds, and bogs. Their flowers typically bloom from June through August. Asclepias produces complex blossoms that have similarities to orchids. Their large, spherical clusters of five-petaled blossoms are at the top of their thick stems. Each Asclepias growth usually carries two to five clusters of flowers. The individual blossoms are about three-quarters of an inch long and emit a strong, sweet fragrance. Asclepias syriaca has greenish-pink to rosy pink blooms, while Asclepias incarnata's flowers tend toward a brighter purplish-pink hue. It can grow up to five feet tall. Their thick, bright green leaves are six to eight inches long and two to three-and-one-half inches wide. The leaves' upper surfaces are darker than their whitish undersides. Asclepias plants form colonies in nature and landscapes and need room to spread out. Asclepias incarnata is highly ornamental and fairly quickly contained, making it well-suited to perennial, butterfly, and pollinator gardens. Asclepias syriaca works well in meadow gardens without defined borders. They increase from seed and spread as their rhizomes expand. They can be propagated in the late fall or early spring. Asclepias syriaca and Asclepias incarnata are the food sources for monarch butterflies, beetles, moths, and other insects that evolved to feed on their nectar. In the midwestern and northeastern regions of the United States, their leaves are the most crucial source of nourishment for monarch caterpillars, and their presence helps to fortify and increase monarch populations. Planting Milkweed Will Bring the Butterflies to Your Garden If you want to encourage monarch butterflies and other pollinators to make your garden home, you'll surely want to add Milkweed Plant to your landscape.

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