In this blog we will delve into the delightful world of attracting pollinators to your garden and discover how you can transform your garden into a haven of life and abundance. Let's cultivate not just plants, but a harmonious symphony of life where every buzz, flutter and bloom is celebrated.

Pollinators include a vast range of different species from bees to butterflies, many of which are not mere visitors; they are essential partners in the garden ecosystem. Their tireless efforts in transferring pollen from one flower to another facilitate plant reproduction, ensuring the growth of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Without them, our gardens would be barren, devoid of the bounty that sustains us.

But the importance of pollinators goes beyond sustenance, it encompasses the very essence of biodiversity. By attracting these winged creatures, we invite a diverse array of species into our gardens, creating a thriving ecosystem where each organism plays a vital role. From pest control to soil health, the presence of pollinators enriches every aspect of our garden's vitality.

Creating A Pollinator-Friendly Garden

Transforming your garden into a haven for pollinators not only enhances its beauty but also contributes to the health of our ecosystem. Here are some key elements to consider when designing a pollinator-friendly garden:

  • Diverse Range Of Plants: Incorporate a variety of flowering plants with different shapes, sizes, colours and bloom times to attract a wide range of pollinators. Choose species that provide pollen and nectar-rich blooms, such as lavender, honeysuckle, crocus, primroses. By offering a diverse array of flowers, you can cater to the specific preferences of various pollinator species.
  • Water Sources: Like all living creatures, pollinators need access to water for hydration. Provide shallow dishes, birdbaths, or small ponds with shallow edges to serve as water sources for bees, butterflies and other insects. Adding rocks or floating plants can also provide landing spots and prevent drowning.
  • Nesting Habitats: Create nesting sites for pollinators by incorporating features such as brush piles, hollow stems and bare patches of soil. These habitats provide shelter and nesting opportunities for solitary bees, which make up the majority of bee species. Leaving some areas of your garden undisturbed can also encourage nesting habits for ground-nesting bees.
  • Selecting Native Plants: Choose native plant species whenever possible, as they have co-evolved with local pollinators and will be well-suited to their needs. Native plants provide familiar food sources for pollinators and help to support the local ecosystem. Additionally, native plants are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, requiring less maintenance and water once established.
  • Continuous Bloom: Aim to have flowers blooming throughout the growing season to provide a continuous food source for pollinators. Select a mix of early, mid and late-season bloomers to ensure that pollinators have access to nectar and pollen from spring all the way through to autumn. Planning your garden with the seasons in mind ensures that there is always something in bloom to support pollinator populations.

Types of Garden Pollinators

As we know, pollinators play a pivotal role in our gardens and to the natural world, bringing life and vibrancy to our outdoor spaces. There is a diverse cast of pollinating characters commonly found in British gardens:


Honeybees are renowned for their role in honey production and are diligent pollinators that visit a wide range of flowers. To attract honeybees, plant a variety of flowering herbs and shrubs such as lavender, rosemary and heather.

Bumblebees are excellent pollinators especially for crops such as tomatoes and peppers. Bumblebees prefer flowers with open or tubular shapes, like foxgloves and dahlias.

Solitary Bees - Unlike social bees, solitary bees do not live in colonies. They often nest in small holes or cavities in wood or soil. To support solitary bees, provide nesting sites such as bee hotels and leave areas of bare soil for ground-nesting species.


With their delicate wings and vibrant colours, butterflies are not only a joy to behold but also important pollinators. They are attracted to brightly coloured, nectar-rich flowers like buddleia, marigolds and verbena. Creating sunny, sheltered spots in your garden can provide ideal resting and feeding areas for butterflies. Most UK butterflies are generalist pollinators which means they don't have a specific relationship with any one plant. However, they can still help with cross-pollination of a single species.


Hoverflies look similar to small bees and are voracious predators of aphids and other garden pests. They have proven to be abundant pollinators, demonstrating a remarkable presence across various ecosystems. Their significance lies in their extensive pollination efforts, as they are documented to frequent no less than 72% of the world's food crops and over 70% of wildflowers reliant on animal pollination.

Exhibiting notable migratory patterns, hoverflies cover vast distances, often traversing hundreds of kilometres within a single day. Their capability to transport pollen over distances exceeding 100 kilometres across open water, underscores their crucial role in pollination dynamics. They are attracted to flowers with open, shallow blooms like marigolds, asters and daisies.


Although not as efficient as bees or butterflies, beetles also play a role in pollination. They are attracted to large, bowl-shaped flowers with strong fragrances, such as roses and lilies.  Many species of beetle eat pollen either as part of their main diet or as an additional tasty snack. For this reason, beetle pollinated flowers tend to produce extra pollen so that there is some left over to be carried to another flower on the beetle’s body.


Moths gracefully navigate from one flower to another under the darkness of night. Certain species of nocturnal moths exhibit a preference for pale, tubular and scented blossoms such as honeysuckle. As these nocturnal pollinators dip their elongated tongues into the heart of the flower, seeking the nourishing nectar, pollen adheres to their furry bodies. Some moth species embark on remarkable journeys, traversing vast distances, unwittingly transporting the precious cargo of pollen far and wide.


Whilst wasps are not as hairy as bees and pollen doesn’t stick to them quite as well, they are still important pollinators.  They are hungry and energetic minibeasts and search extensively for flower nectar.  

Tips For Encouraging Pollinators In Your Garden

Encouraging pollinators to visit your garden is about more than just planting pretty flowers.  You’ll need to create an overall, welcoming environment. Here are some practical tips for encouraging these vital creatures to thrive:

  1. Avoid Pesticides - Pesticides, even those labelled as "bee-friendly," can harm pollinators and disrupt their natural behaviour. Instead of reaching for chemical solutions, opt for natural alternatives like neem oil or insecticidal soap to manage pests. Additionally, practice integrated pest management techniques, such as companion planting and crop rotation, to minimise the need for pesticides altogether.

  1. Provide Shelter and Nesting Sites - Pollinators need more than just flowers, they also require shelter and nesting sites to thrive. Incorporate features like brush piles, hollow stems and undisturbed patches of soil to create habitat for solitary bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. Installing bee hotels or nesting boxes can also provide additional nesting opportunities for certain species.

  1. Incorporate Natural Elements - Integrate natural elements like rocks, logs and water features into your garden design to enhance its appeal to pollinators. Rocks provide basking spots for butterflies and resting areas for bees, while logs offer shelter for ground-dwelling insects. A shallow dish or birdbath filled with clean water serves as a valuable source of hydration for pollinators.

  1. Plant a Variety of Flowers - Diversity is key to attracting a wide range of pollinators to your garden. Plant a diverse selection of native flowers with different shapes, sizes and bloom times to provide a continuous food source throughout the seasons. Choose flowers with simple, accessible blooms that are easy for pollinators to access and collect nectar and pollen from.

  1. Let Your Lawn Grow - letting your lawn grow a little wilder helps caterpillars of many moths and butterflies as they rely on native grasses and plants. Connecting areas of wildflowers allows pollinators to move easily from place to place and gives them a larger habitat to thrive on.

  1. Maintain a Healthy Garden Ecosystem: A healthy garden ecosystem is essential for supporting pollinator populations. Practise good garden hygiene by removing weeds, dead plants and debris that can harbour pests and diseases. Avoid over fertilising and over watering, as excessive nutrients and moisture can disrupt the natural balance of your garden and harm pollinators.


By learning about the importance of pollinators and implementing the tips and strategies discussed in this blog post, you're well on your way to fostering a vibrant and thriving garden ecosystem.

Remember, attracting pollinators isn't just about beautifying your garden, it's about supporting essential ecological processes and promoting biodiversity. Every bee, butterfly and beetle that visits your garden plays a crucial role in pollinating flowers and ensuring the production of fruits, vegetables and seeds.

As you continue on your gardening journey, keep experimenting with different plants, habitats and practices to attract and support a diverse range of pollinators. Whether you have a small balcony garden or a sprawling backyard oasis, there are always opportunities to enhance your garden's appeal to pollinators.  For everything you need to help your garden thrive, from seeds and bulbs to garden tools and planters, visit our gardening shop.