Planting for Pollinators: May

There’s much that we can all do to help pollinators in our own backyards. It’s key to remember that pollinators feed largely on flowering plants. They consume sugar-rich nectar, as well as protein and fats from pollen.

Here are some hot tips for making pollinator-friendly backyards.

  1. Make sure to not use pesticides, and purchase starters that have not been treated with pesticides before you bought them.
  2. Prevent turning the soil or mulching where possible. Over 70% of native bees live in the ground, and disturbed soil ruins their homes.
  3. Plan your garden according to bloom time. Bees are busy! You know the expression, make honey while the sun shines… Pollinators are need floral access throughout the whole season so make sure your garden can deliver the goods. Plant flowers that will come out in bloom succession month after month.

Top flower picks for the month of May:

Credit: Walter Seigmund

Nootka Rose –  Rosa nutkana

Nootka rose is a 2m tall shrub that grows throughout the southern half of the province. The petals of Nootka rose are edible and great in spring salads. Their flowers attract all kinds of pollinators, and bumblebees seem especially fond of them.


Coastal Strawberry – Fragaria chilosensis

Found up and down the Pacific coast, these native strawberries produce a tiny but flavourful berry. A very useful plant for ground nesting bees who often fly low to the ground.

Camas – Camassia leichtinii or Camassia quamash

Located in the Garry Oak savannah ecosystem, camas is a well-known flower of Vancouver Island and some coastal areas of the mainland. Camas show off a bright, yellow pollen and is a great early source of food for spring pollinators.


Lupin – Lupinus polyphyllus (or lupins local to your region)

Lupin is usually pollinated by bumblebees. Their complex petal structure are pushed open by these large bees with long tongues to get at the nectar and pollen reward inside.



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