Gardening for Butterflies and Other Pollinators

You may know that many plants (plants we eat!) depend on pollinators for their existence. Up to 1/3 of the food we eat exists because of the daily actions of pollinators smaller than the size of your thumbnail. Pollinators also form a huge part of the foundation of the food chain and sustain the vast majority of animal life (including humans).

You may also know that pollinators are under threat due to habitat loss – clearings full of wildflowers and hedgerows that once offered habitat have been replaced by buildings and other human structures. An easy way to help our pollinators is to plant a garden that offers them food, water, and shelter. Planting a garden for butterflies and other pollinators is a win-win – you’re helping in a very big-picture way, and you get to enjoy the beauty of the flowers and the tiny animals they attract.

Download our Butterfly & Pollinator Gardening Brochure here!

Choose a Location

Where should you put your garden? Whether you’re starting from scratch or building on what’s already there, the tips below will help you get where you want to be.

Choose Your Plants

Below are suggestions for where to start when choosing your plants, some do’s and don’ts, and how to make sure your garden is blooming all season long.

Gardening for Butterflies

To entice a variety of Ontario’s butterflies to your garden you’ll need to plant two food sources: host plants and nectar plants. Common butterflies and their host plants are below.

Attract Other Pollinators

Your garden should be a paradise for all pollinators, not just butterflies! A well-balanced garden will attract bees, beetles, flies, moths, and birds too.

List of Perennials

Native perennial plants should build the foundation of your garden because they’re low maintenance and drought tolerant.

List of Annuals

Annuals help fill the blooming gaps of your perennials to keep your garden blooming all season long. Some even help with pest control!

Winter Maintenance

Gardening for pollinators doesn’t stop when the growing season ends, we need to think about how to help them during the winter, too!

Pest Control

It might go without saying, but do not use pesticides in your garden! If Mother Nature can manage her gardens organically, so can we!

Certify Your Garden

Become part of a growing network of individuals, schools, and businesses that are working to create and restore Monarch and pollinator habitat.