For decades, Cline’s Nursery has been passionate about providing NC native plants for those interested in creating a pollinator garden. We are committed to providing our customers with the highest-quality NC native plants in a variety of types, sizes and colors.
Choosing what plants to decorate your garden with is an exciting but intimidating task! Whenever you decide to plant something, you should be making sure that it is compatible with your garden and the location you are in. For this reason, many gardeners prefer plants that are native to the region in which they are planting. With all of that being said, here are the best 25 Native Pollinator Plants for North Carolina!
We have all heard about the campaign to save the bees, but the reality is that bees are not the only pollinators that are in danger and not the only ones we should care about. Pollinators are so important to our lives because they are crucial in creating and maintaining the ecosystems and habitats that we and other species depend on. Worldwide, more than half of fats and oils come from crops that are pollinated by animals and more than 150 food crops in the United States depend on pollinator animals. Almost all fruit and grain crops depend on pollinators, meaning without them we would struggle to produce enough food and resources to survive.
As we know from the save the bees campaign, pollinator populations are changing. Many are in decline, a decline that can be attributed to a severe loss in feeding and nesting habitats. This is where you can help. Most gardens are designed for people. They are designed to look beautiful, with pops of color here and there fitting together perfectly to be tasteful and demand attention. Some gardens feature vegetables and fruit plants, or herbs for human consumption. By nature, most gardens are suitable for pollinators to find some food supply, you often find bees and birds floating around your yard. Instead of designing your garden just for your pleasure, there are ways to design your garden so that it is more suitable for pollinators.
Who are the Pollinators?
There are way more pollinators than you may have previously thought! The most well known pollinators are bees and butterflies. Moths, flies, beetles, hummingbirds and even bats. These animals are quickly losing their food sources, so they need your help!
How to Plant a Pollinator Garden
The overall goal of planting a pollinator garden is to give pollinating animals a healthy habitat with plenty to eat. One way to do this is to think about planting a variety of plants that flower at different times of the year in order to provide nectar and pollen throughout the whole year, rather than only during one season. These plants should be a variety of flower colors and shapes, in order to provide for different pollinators. Pollinators have different preferences and eat a variety of nectars and pollen. Butterflies are attracted to red, orange and white plants while hummingbirds prefer red and purple. Creating a habitat that attracts more than one kind of pollinator is important in the overall goal of your garden.
Another excellent way to make sure that your garden is pollinator friendly is to plant in clumps, rather than single plants. You should consider planting your chosen flowers and herbs in a cluster rather than keeping them independently planted around the yard. This will attract more than one pollinator to each cluster, which is a great way to make sure you are providing for a variety of species. Along these lines, you should have plants that are suitable for both shade and sun growth. Different pollinator species prefer different levels of sun and shade and it is a good idea to be accommodating to this in your pollinator garden.
An extremely important thing to keep in mind when planting a pollinator garden is native plants. You should always choose native plants in your pollinator garden. Native plants will attract more native pollinators, which is always a benefit to your ecosystem.
Maintaining Your Pollinator Garden
Depending on what plants you chose for your pollinator garden, your garden may need more or less maintenance. Native plants generally need less maintenance than most other plants, but they still require some attention. Though your maintenance will look different based on the plants in your garden, you should generally water your garden early in the morning and in the evening when the sun isn’t at its hottest.
Though you won’t see an immediate increase in pollinators, after some time you will eventually see butterflies, bees, and other pollinators enjoying your garden. You should keep your garden healthy in general which may include weeding, trimming, and watering as needed. Once you have established your garden and given the pollinators in your area a good environment to live and eat in, you will start to see a wide variety of species thriving in your yard.
By planting a pollinator garden, you are directly helping the environment and your local pollinators! This is an excellent way to make a difference and a great way to make sure our pollinators keep on thriving and giving us food and life in return.
Where to Find NC Native Plants
If you look hard enough at most garden centers you can find plenty of native plant options, but that can be difficult and exhausting! There are a few garden supply stores that reign superior when shopping for native plants, some are in North Carolina and some are not.
Sources in North Carolina:
- Cline’s Nursery is located in Shelby, North Carolina. They are a retail and wholesale nursery with a wide assortment of native perennials, shrubs, herbs, and annuals
- Country Farm & Home is located in Pittsboro, North Carolina. They are a distributor of native plants with the ability to ship their products all over the country! The plants they distribute are grown at Mellow Marsh Farm.
- Cure Nursery is also located in Pittsboro, North Carolina. They specialize in container-grown native trees, shrubs, and perennials.
- Growing Wild Nursery is located in Siler City, North Carolina. They are best known for their online nursery of native perennials.
- North Carolina Botanical Garden is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Here, you can find native perennials, trees, shrubs, vines, and even grasses.
Native Plants Suppliers Outside of North Carolina
- Ernst Conservation Seeds is located in Meadville, Pennsylvania. They specialize in native pollinator seed mixes.
- Applewood Seed Company is located in Arvada, Colorado. Here, they specialize in flower, herb, and grass seeds meant for wildflower meadows.
- Roundstone Native Seed serves the area of Upton, Kentucky. You can find native pollinator seed mixes here.
No matter where you get your NC native plants or seeds, you want to be sure that it comes from somewhere that can ensure their quality. Every location on this list has proven itself to be reliable and superior to other options. Look into what native plants will work best in your garden and plant some this year!