Trott column: Gardening for pollinators


Pollinators migrate from plant to plant and carry pollen on their bodies, which can transfer genetic material that is vital to the reproductive system of most flowering plants.

Almost all seed plants in the world have to be pollinated. This applies to conical plants such as pines as well as to the more colorful and well-known flowering plants.

Pollen, which looks like insignificant yellow dust, carries the male cells of a plant and is an important link in the reproductive cycle.

Careful planning is essential to creating a successful pollinator garden. Follow these simple steps to make sure everything is covered before making your investment.

Location: Butterflies and other pollinators like to bask in the sun and some of their favorite wildflowers grow best in full or partial sun with some wind protection.

Soil Type: Your soil type and the amount of sunlight will determine the type of plants you can grow.

Native plants: These are ideal choices as they require less maintenance and tend to be heartier. You should also focus on perennial selection to ensure that your plants will come back every year and not require a lot of maintenance.

Seeds versus plants. Seeds are more economical, especially for larger gardens, but they take more time. If you are using seeds, plan to distribute them in the fall or late winter before your summer growing season. This will give the seeds time to germinate. Plants started by kindergartens cost more, but they usually give you a quick payback on your investment and bring pollinators into your garden in the meantime

Food source: Pollinators need nectar early in spring, throughout summer, and even into fall. Choosing plants that bloom at different times can create a bright and colorful garden that you and the pollinators will love for months!

For more information on creating your own pollinator garden, see:

Until next time, have fun gardening!


“When the air is wine and the wind is free

and the morning sits on the beautiful leaf

and sunlight ripples on every tree

Then love in the air is right for me

I am a bee,

I’m a gorgeous, boisterous, young queen bee

That’s me. “- EBWhite

Robin Trott is a horticulture educator at the University of Minnesota Extension. Contact them at 320-762-3890 or at