Plant flowers for

Why is planting flowers for pollinators important?

The populations of many pollinators are in long-term decline due to a lack of flowering plants. This is a result of modern farming practices and paved, urban gardens. Yet, pollinating insects are vital for our crops.
  • The number of butterflies found in urban areas has fallen by 69% in the last 20 years, compared to a decline of 45% in the countryside.
  • In the last 30 years, two bumblebee species have become extinct in the UK.
  • In the last century, four species of butterfly and more than 60 moth species have become extinct.

Many of the plants in our farms and gardens could not flourish without bees, butterflies and other pollinators spreading pollen.

By planting flowers for pollinators in our Naturespaces, it is possible for everyone to make a real difference and turn the tide on this decline. It also means you will get to see more of these fabulous creatures in your Naturespace!

Insects are estimated to contribute over £600 million every year to the UK economy through pollinating crops - including tomatoes, strawberries and apples.

What can you do to help?

Planting nectar and pollen-rich flowers is a simple action to provide resources for pollinators, including bees, hoverflies, butterflies and beetles.

How to do it:

You can buy established plants from garden centres and nurseries. The RHS Plants for Pollinators labelling for wildflowers and garden plants, can help guide your selection of plants in participating shops, garden centres and online stores. Plug plants can be a cost-effective alternative to large plants and seeds are available for purchase through garden centres, catalogues or online.

Make your garden a haven for wildlife

How do I maintain a flower-rich garden?

There’s a number of options you can get involved with depending on the size of your Naturespace and the amount of time you have. Remember to let us know what you’ve done in your Naturespace profile, so we can see how these amazing actions are helping local wildlife.

Step 1: location

Different species grow best under different conditions, so you need to consider your soil type, where the plants will be and the amount of sunlight that they’ll get.

Labels on the pots or on websites will tell you which plants are suitable for your garden type. Take a look at RHS Find a Plant guide for more information.

Step 2: Plan your plants

You will need around three to six plants per m2.

If your space is limited, pots will work as well.

Step 3: Choose your species

Aim for a number of different flower shapes - for example daisy, bell, round or flat umbels and tubular.

A mix of perennials that flower at different times of the year will also make sure that there’s pollen across the seasons, especially early in spring and autumn when less is in flower.

Consider whether the plants are classed as native, meaning that they naturally occur in the UK - native plants are preferred. Research from the RHS has shown that having a mix of native and non-native species is likely to be the best strategy to help pollinators in gardens.

Step 4: Get planting!

Follow the planting instructions on the plant labels for the best results.

Plant flowers close together in areas where they will thrive, for example in sunny or partially shaded areas. Don’t forget to make sure your plants are getting enough water and regularly remove any dead ones.

Observe your plants and see what attracts the most pollinators, then grow more of whatever proves popular!

Popular plants for pollinators

What you choose to plant is up to you! However, the number of options can be somewhat overwhelming, so take a look at some of our suggestions for the different seasons.

Perennial wallflower

(Erysimum sp.)


(Calluna, Erica)


(Primula vulgaris)


(Ajuga reptans)

Cuckoo flower

(Cardamine pratensis)


(Taraxacum officinale)

Red clover

(Trifolium pratense)

Red valerian

(Centranthus ruber)


(Lavandula angustifolia)


(Verbena bonariensis)

Perennial wallflower

(Erysimum sp.)

Oregano / Wild marjoram

(Origanum vulgare)

Common knapweed

(Centaurea nigra)

Scabious (field, devil’s-bit, caucasian)

(Scabiosa sp.)






(Stachys officinale)





Anise hyssop

(Agastache foeniculum)

Oregano / Wild marjoram

(Origanum vulgare)


(Calluna, Erica)

Cone Flower

(Echinacea purpurea)

Hemp agrimony

(Eupatorium cannabinum)


(Hylotelephium telephium)


(Hedera helix)

Mint (including water mint)


Record your flowers for pollinators within your Naturespace profile, so that we know what you have done.

If you need any additional information, take a look at these handy guides:
©Earthwatch 2020  

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Unless otherwise credited, all illustrations © Chris Shields, and all wildlife photographs © Steven Falk
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