Pacific Northwest Pollinator Garden - Attracting Pollinators In Oregon And Washington

Close Up Of A Bee On A Yellow Flower
(Image credit: JavenLin)

Without bees there likely wouldn’t be any human life. Bees and other pollinators are vital to us and other species. The news of late has been stressing the lack of pollinators in Oregon and Washington and other areas of the globe. That’s why many residents are interested in a Pacific Northwest (PNW) pollinator garden. A pollinator garden in the Pacific Northwest entices pollinators with native plants. You’re doing your part for the pollinators, and they reward you with gorgeous blooms and plentiful food. 

Pollinator Garden Pacific Northwest

Many homeowners love their pristine lawns, but to get a lawn that is unblemished by weeds and disease, many rely on chemicals -- chemicals that kill off pollinators including bees. Remember, those dandelions in your lawn are one of the first foods for bees. 

Instead of damaging pollinators in Oregon and Washington, many gardeners are turning to native plants which are naturally adapted to the PNW thus nullifying the need for chemical controls. 

PNW Pollinator Garden Tips

There are a few criteria that should be supplied for pollinators in Oregon and Washington (and anywhere else for that matter). 

  • Utilizing native plants as mentioned above is a great start. 
  • Consider the difference between the anatomies of a hummingbird vs. a bee. Hummers have long beaks with which they can retrieve nectar, but bees can’t reach deep into a flower, so choose flowers with visible pollen that is easier to reach. 
  • When choosing Northwest pollinator plants, choose varied colors -- especially bee attractants such as blue, violet, white and yellow. 
  • Select plants that bloom at different times of the year so there is a steady supply of pollen and nectar for pollinators.
  • Avoid using pesticides. Chemical controls don’t discriminate between insects and can easily decimate a bee colony as easily as the targeted pest insect. 
  • Provide a water source for in a Pacific Northwest pollinator garden. Bees use water to cool the hive and to dilute honey to feed their young. 

Northwest Pollinator Plants

Flowering native plants to consider for a PNW pollinator garden include selfheal, common camas, large-flowered collomia, big leaf lupine, and meadow checkermallow. Other options include the Pacific or coast rhododendron, serviceberry, salal, red flowering currant, and milkweed

Other bloomers that attract pollinators might include lavender, catmint, blueblossom, ocean spray, Russian sage, and annual zinnias and sunflowers. 

There are plenty of other plants to attract pollinators in the PNW pollinator garden. The more diverse the garden is the better. Non-native plants can also be planted, but just be sure they are suited to your region; plant them knowing they aren’t naturalized in your area and therefore may be more susceptible to disease or pests. 

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.