If you’re growing veggies or berries (or both), you definitely want pollinators to visit your yard. After all, no pollination = no yummy fruits! One way to attract those helpful bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other insects is to create a raised bed pollinator garden. Just follow these simple garden design rules to create a space both you and your pollinator pals will love:
· Put tall plants in back, short ones in front.
· Add vertical interest with a taller plant, shrub, or vine on a trellis.
· Repeat colors throughout the bed to create a sense of unity.
· Choose a selection of plants that will flower at different times all season long, so pollinators will have plenty of food.
Hands down, the easiest way to create a pollinator garden is to purchase our Raised Butterfly Garden Kit. It's a cinch to assemble and comes with just about everything you need to create a flowering herb garden to draw butterflies and other pollinators, including the raised bed, just the right amount of soil to fill it, plant food, and a selection of flowering herbs from Bonnie Plants®. All you need to contribute are sun and water!
Looking for a additional inspiration? Try one of the pollinator garden planting plans below. Each is designed for a different common raised garden bed size; if yours is bigger or smaller, simply add or subtract a few plants. Though you may not recognize all the names right away, rest assured that these plant varieties are all pretty common. Know, too, that you can simply add a few pollinator plants in with your existing veggie patch if you don’t have the space or desire to create a whole separate garden.
One more thing: With any of the perennial pollinator plants (which means they come back season after season), let the stems stay in place through the winter to provide shelter for pollinators. In the spring, cut any remaining stems back to about 2 to 3 inches tall, then clip the stems you removed into small pieces and drop them into the bed to compost.
Pollinator Garden: Continuous Color
Raised bed size: 4’ x 4’
This is a mix of perennials plus an annual vine grown on a trellis. Feel free to change out the vine from year to year. Also consider planting spring flowering bulbs, such as dwarf iris, daffodil, and hyacinth, to add even more spring food sources for pollinators.
Plants & Supplies Needed:
· 1 teepee trellis with Cardinal Climber vine: Place the trellis at the center of the bed, then plant vine seeds at the base of the trellis.
· 2 goldenrod: Place on opposite sides of the trellis.
· 2 white coneflower: Place one each in the front and back of the trellis.
· 4 allium: Place one clump in each corner of the bed.
· 2 creeping phlox: Place one at the center of each of the sides of the bed, near the edge so it can drape over.
· 2 aster: Place one each at the center of the front and back edges of the garden.
Pollinator Garden: Native Plant Garden
Raised bed size: 3’ x 6”
When given a choice, pollinators in North America tend to gravitate to plants that are native to North America. This raised bed garden delivers by serving a buffet of natives pollinators won’t be able to resist. Until perennials mature, you may have empty spaces in the bed, which can be filled temporarily with annuals such as zinnia, verbena, or ageratum.
Plants & Supplies Needed:
· 3 lanceleaf coreopsis: Plant along the front edge, 1 in each corner and 1 in the middle.
· 2 butterfly weed: Plant between and slightly behind the coreopsis.
· 2 switchgrass: Plant along the back side, about 15 inches in from each corner.
· 1 Joe-Pye weed: Plant in the center of the back of the bed.
· 2 bee balm: Plant on either end of the bed, between the coreopsis and switchgrass.
· 3 anise hyssop: Use these plants to fill the empty space in the center of the bed by planting them in a triangle.
Pollinator Garden: Just for Butterflies
Raised bed size: 4’ x 8’
This garden features a blend of annuals, perennials, and herbs that mature butterflies adore. Those marked with * are there to feed butterfly caterpillars.
Plants & Supplies Needed:
· 1 teepee trellis with passionflower vine*: Position the trellis in the center of the bed and plant vine seeds around the base.
· 1 swamp milkweed*: Plant off the rear right corner of the trellis.
· 1 butterfly bush: Plant in the back left corner, roughly 18 inches into the bed on a diagonal line from the corner.
· 2 tithonia: Plant 1 in the back right corner, about 1 foot in from the corner. Plant the other behind the left corner of the trellis.
· Parsley*: Plant from seed along the front edges, covering 2 feet on each end plus 1 foot in the center. Also, consider growing parsley along back bed edges.
· 1 caryopteris: Plant this on the right side between the parsley and tithonia.
· 2 verbena: Plant along the front edge between parsley clumps.
· 2 common yarrow (orange or red): Plant behind verbena along front edge.
· 2 dill*: Plant behind the yarrow and on either side of the trellis.
· 2 coneflower: Plant behind the parsley on each end of the front side of the garden.
· 3 zinnias: Plant in a triangle in front of the trellis and behind the parsley.
Pollinator Garden Care
With these raised bed pollinator gardens, you’ll get the best results when you tuck plants into well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. Fill beds withMiracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Raised Bed Mix to give plant roots a good start, then keep plants growing strong by feeding them with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Blooms Plant Nutrition. Fertilizing plants is key to helping them grow bigger and open more flowers to feed pollinators. Here’s another (big!) bonus: When you grow plants in Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Raised Bed Mix and feed them with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Blooms Plant Nutrition (following all directions, of course), you’ll experience more blooms (vs. unfed) over the growing season. More blooms, of course, equals more pollinators! And next spring when it's time to plant again, revive last year's raised bed soil with Miracle-Gro® Refresh™ Soil Revitalizer. Over time, soil structure breaks down and nutrients are depleted. Miracle-Gro® Refresh™ is specially formulated to help renew water retention, replenish nutrients, and restore soil structure so your pollinator plants will thrive.