Why Are Pollinators Important?

Butterflies pollinating

Weirdly enough, it isn't just bees that are pollinating your garden! Intriguing right?

If you've ever wondered why your garden just doesn't seem to be thriving, it could be that you're missing a crucial element in your gardening strategy – the power of pollinators!

In this article, we'll be exploring why pollinators are important, the different types of pollinators and their benefits, and how we can attract them to our gardens. We'll also discuss the threats faced by pollinators and their habitat, as well as pollinator-friendly gardening practices and conservation efforts. So let's dive in and unleash the power of pollinators!

Why are pollinators important?

The question of why are pollinators important is one that every gardener should be asking themselves. To put it simply, pollinators are vital to the health of our gardens and our planet. They are responsible for the reproduction of nearly 90% of the world's flowering plants, including many of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts that make up a significant portion of our diets.

Pollinators also help maintain biodiversity in our ecosystems, as they promote the growth of various plant species. This, in turn, supports a healthy ecosystem by providing food and habitat for other wildlife. Without pollinators, our natural environment would be at risk of becoming a monoculture, where only a few hardy plant species would be able to survive.

Types of pollinators and their benefits

There are many different types of pollinators, each with their own unique benefits. Some of the most common pollinators include:

  1. Bees: Bees are perhaps the most well-known pollinators, and for good reason! They are highly efficient in their work and can visit hundreds of flowers in a single day. Bees are also able to communicate with each other about the location of food sources, making them an incredibly valuable asset in any garden.

  2. Butterflies: These beautiful insects are not only lovely to look at, but they also serve as important pollinators for many flowering plants. Butterflies are especially drawn to brightly-colored flowers with a sweet fragrance, making them highly effective at pollinating a variety of plant species.

  3. Birds: Hummingbirds, in particular, are essential pollinators for many plants. Their long beaks and tongues are perfectly adapted to reach the nectar of tubular flowers, and as they feed, they transfer pollen from one flower to another. Some plants have even evolved specifically to be pollinated by hummingbirds, showcasing the incredible co-dependence between these creatures and the plants they pollinate.

  4. Bats: Bats might not be the first pollinators that come to mind, but they play a crucial role in the pollination of over 500 plant species, including fruits such as bananas, mangoes, and guavas. These nocturnal creatures are highly efficient pollinators, as they can cover large distances in search of food.

  5. Other insects: Flies, beetles, and even ants can serve as pollinators for certain plants. While they might not be as efficient as bees or butterflies, these insects still play an important role in the life cycle of many flowering plants.

Threats to pollinators and their habitat

Unfortunately, pollinators face numerous threats that are causing their populations to decline worldwide. Some of these threats include:

  1. Habitat loss: As humans continue to develop land for agriculture, urbanization, and other purposes, the natural habitats that pollinators rely on are becoming increasingly scarce. This makes it harder for pollinators to find the food and shelter they need to survive.

  2. Pesticides: The use of pesticides in agriculture and gardening can be harmful to pollinators, as these chemicals can poison them or weaken their immune systems. This makes them more susceptible to disease and other environmental stressors.

  3. Climate change: Changes in temperature, precipitation patterns, and extreme weather events can all impact pollinator populations. These changes can alter the timing of flowering and the availability of food resources for pollinators, making it difficult for them to adapt.

  4. Disease and parasites: Pollinators can be affected by various diseases and parasites that can spread rapidly through their populations, further exacerbating their decline.

How to attract pollinators to your garden

Attracting pollinators to your garden is not only beneficial for the health of your plants, but it's also a fantastic way to support these essential creatures in the face of the many threats they face. Here are some tips for creating a pollinator-friendly garden:

  1. Plant a variety of flowering plants: Providing a diverse array of flowers in your garden will ensure that there is always something in bloom to attract pollinators. Choose plants with different shapes, colors, and bloom times to create a veritable buffet for your local pollinators.

  2. Provide food sources: In addition to flowers, pollinators also need other food sources. For example, bees & butterflies require nectar and pollen. Make sure to include a variety food sources in your garden to cater to the needs of different pollinators.

  3. Provide water: Pollinators need water to drink, so make sure to include a shallow water source in your garden. A birdbath or a shallow dish can provide essential hydration for your garden's pollinator visitors.

  4. Create habitat: Pollinators need places to rest, shelter, and lay their eggs. Incorporate features such as rock piles, logs, and native grasses into your garden design to provide habitat for a variety of pollinators.

Best plants for pollinators

When choosing plants for your pollinator-friendly garden, consider the following options:

  1. Native plants: Plants that are native to your region are more likely to attract local pollinators, as they have co-evolved with these creatures and are well-suited to meet their needs. Examples of native plants to the UK are the Ox-eye Daisy, Ragged Robin, Corn Cockle and Corn Marigold.

  2. Herbs: Many herbs are highly attractive to pollinators, including basil, mint, and lavender. Planting a mix of culinary and medicinal herbs in your garden can serve double duty by providing both food for pollinators and fresh ingredients for your kitchen.

  3. Flowering trees and shrubs: Trees and shrubs that produce flowers can provide large quantities of nectar and pollen for pollinators. Examples include crabapple trees, lilacs, and rhododendrons.

  4. Annuals and perennials: A mix of annual and perennial flowers can help ensure that your garden is always in bloom, providing a steady food source for pollinators. Consider planting zinnias, sunflowers, and cosmos for annual color, and bee balm, echinacea, and salvia for perennial blooms.

Pollinator-friendly gardening practices

In addition to choosing the right plants, adopting pollinator-friendly gardening practices can help support the health and well-being of your garden's pollinator visitors. Some practices to consider include:

  1. Reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides: Pesticides can be harmful to pollinators, so try to minimize their use in your garden. Instead, opt for organic or integrated pest management methods to control pests and diseases.

  2. Planting in clusters: Pollinators are more likely to visit gardens with large, dense patches of flowers, as this makes it easier for them to find food. Plant your flowers in clusters or swathes to create a visually appealing display that will also attract pollinators.

  3. Maintaining a healthy garden: A healthy garden is less likely to suffer from pest problems, reducing the need for pesticides. Regularly weed, prune, and water your plants to keep them healthy and strong.

  4. Leaving some areas of your garden undisturbed: Many pollinators, such as native bees, nest in the ground or in cavities in dead wood. Leaving some areas of your garden undisturbed can provide essential habitat for these creatures.

Pollinator conservation efforts

As we've seen, pollinators are facing numerous threats that are causing their populations to decline. This makes it more important than ever to support pollinator conservation efforts, both in our gardens and in the wider community. Some ways to get involved include:

  1. Educating yourself and others: Learn more about the importance of pollinators and the threats theyface, and share this knowledge with others. This can include sharing articles, attending workshops or seminars, or simply talking to friends and family about the issue.

  2. Supporting local conservation efforts: Many communities have initiatives in place to protect pollinators and their habitats. Consider volunteering with local organizations or making a donation to support these efforts.

  3. Creating pollinator-friendly spaces: Whether it's in your own backyard or a community garden, creating spaces that are welcoming to pollinators can make a big difference in their survival. By providing food, water, and habitat, you can help support these essential creatures.


The power of pollinators cannot be overstated. These amazing creatures play a vital role in the health of our gardens and our planet, and they are facing numerous threats that are causing their populations to decline. By taking steps to attract and support pollinators in our gardens and communities, we can help ensure their survival and the health of our ecosystems.

So, let's unleash the power of pollinators and create beautiful, thriving gardens that support these essential creatures. Whether you're planting native plants, reducing pesticide use, or educating others, every action you take can make a difference in the survival of pollinators. So, get out there and start gardening for the bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other pollinators in your community!