Maintaining a butterfly, hummingbird, and bee friendly garden

Jul 18, 2016
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United States
I recently moved to a new home (in central Ohio - zone 6a) that had a good head start on a butterfly, bees, and hummingbird friendly garden in the front planters. While it was a bit out of maintenance, we've brought it back up to a more manageable state. The garden currently has:
  • Campion
  • Daylily
  • Catmint
  • Coreopsis
  • Purple coneflower
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Bee balm
  • Foxglove
What maintenance besides weeding would be a good approach for such a garden? Should I be using any fertilizer? Do any of those plants require special care? Any additions that would make it more pollinator and hummingbird friendly?

Feb 2, 2016
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Colima, Mexico
Hardiness Zone
USDA Zone 11
Select lots of nectar-rich plants that are native to your area. I am not familiar with Ohio, but you can search "nectar rich plants native to Ohio". Of course pollinators can be drawn to plants rich in nectar from areas other than Ohio, so your garden does not have to be limited only to nectar rich plants native Ohio. This is where i would start though. For my garden in Mexico, i select many plants that grow wild here, like Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia), Cosmos, Ruellia, Mexican Flame Vine, Tropical Asclepias, etc. and avoid hybrids of any kind. Generally, wild plants don't require much in the way of special attention, but some may prefer acid soil over alkaline or vice versa. It is good to check the preferences of your individual plants so you will know where best to plant them and what kind of food, if any, may be appropriate. Most of my plants grow best in poor soil as long as it is well-draining. Unfortunately, i have quite good soil and they seem to tolerate it:LOL:. I don't really know how to turn good soil into poor soil.:rolleyes: I do add a lot of lava sand to the soil to aid good drainage. Hummingbirds are very territorial and often can chase away other pollinators. For this reason i have plants that are specific to hummingbirds in one area and this seems to work well in my small garden. A garden full of pollinators brings so much life and interest to a garden...enjoy:) Oh, and for butterflies remember that they need host plants for their caterpillars to eat in addition to nectar plants, so don't forget those host plants!

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