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Outdoor Plants, Spring, Blog

Using native plants to support our pollinators

April 14, 2022


Pollinators such as bees, bats, butterflies, birds, and other insects are essential players in sustaining a healthy environment and ecosystem and are vital contributors to our agricultural sector.


There is widespread global concern for declining populations and the overall health of native pollinators such as bees. Factors such as exposure to pesticides, destruction of natural habitats, and climate change are all factors that pose threats to our native pollinators. Without bees and other pollinators, our agriculture sector and environment would be in big trouble!

Creating a Pollinator-friendly Garden

We can assist our pollinators by creating a welcoming, sustainable garden using Ontario native plants. When setting up this type of garden, you will provide a healthy place for pollinators to thrive in the spring and summer. The plant debris will also offer a safe place for many of them to hibernate in the winter months.




Native plants are plants that have been growing in a geographic area since long before human habitation. These plants have evolved and adapted to the local conditions over time and become an essential part of the ecosystem. They provide food and shelter for a variety of native pollinators and wildlife.


For more plant and pollinator information, download our chart for Using Native Plants to Attract Pollinators. 


Common pollinators we want to attract
  • Bees – native bees to Ontario include bumblebees, leafcutter, mason, sweat, and mining bees.
  • Butterflies
  • Flies
  • Ants
  • Beetles
  • Moths
  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds


What is an optimal pollinator garden?
  • Includes a wide selection of flowers, shrubs and trees that bloom throughout spring, summer, and fall seasons and attract a variety of pollinators
  • Includes host plants where pollinators can lay their eggs
  • Uses native plants suitable for this climate and habitat and are not invasive to their environment
  • Includes little nooks and protective spots such as birdbaths and bee houses
  • Provides bare patches for nesting for native bees
  • Features small pots with rocks in them that will catch water and create a water source
  • Leaves plant debris in the winter months to provide homes for hibernation
  • It does not include hybrid plants such as ‘double-flowered’ plants bred to be showier with less nectar and pollen
  • It does not use pesticides or herbicides 
Things to consider when creating a pollinator-friendly yard/garden

Plant a wide variety of plants

To create interest, food, and shelter for multiple pollinators, include plants that will bloom throughout the seasons and serve a purpose for new and returning pollinators. Research your plant’s ideal growing location for sun and shade for optimal results with flowering and fruiting.


Plant in groups or clumps

Pollinators can find the plants more easily and work much more efficiently when their food and shelter sources are planted together in a larger group.


Soil and watering

Most pollinator plants thrive in well-drained sandy soil. If your soil is rich in clay, you may need to add some sand to your existing soil. Regular watering will help produce the healthiest plants with optimal pollen and nectar.


Fertilizing and weed control

For fertilizing, the best practice is to add natural nutrients such as compost material. You should also plan to weed your gardens by hand and not introduce any chemicals that would adversely affect any pollinators.

Visit any one of our garden centres to take the next step in creating a healthy, sustainable pollinator garden. The experts at Sheridan Nurseries can help you find the right plants and supplies to begin mapping out a backyard oasis for Ontario pollinators.