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Creating Pollinator Habitat

The San Diego Pollinator Alliance has developed a series of native demonstration pollinator gardens across the county to give residents ideas on how to create pollinator habitat at home. Demonstration pollinator habitats have been planted a Sike’s Adobe within the San Dieguito River Park and the Los Jilgueros Preserve in Fallbrook, as well as at Lafayette Elementary and Scripps Ranch High School. We will soon be helping to install a pollinator garden at Chula Vista High School and within an HOA in San Marcos.

The SDPA hosts a thriving demonstration pollinator habitat at the San Diego County Fair called the Pollinator Pathway.  Built in 2015, it is now a permanent feature within the Fair’s Infield Farm. The Pollinator Pathway is open every day of the Fair (annually during June and early July). If you are visiting the Fair, stop by and learn about low water use, California native plants that provide essential habitat for our hardworking pollinators. The exhibit also features a butterfly free-flight house and a honey bee display. We are always open to hearing from schools or other sites that would like to host a demonstration habitat – please get in touch if you would like to get involved!

Other pollinator gardens to check out around San Diego County include:

  • A native plant garden at the edge of the Zoro Garden in Balboa Park
  • The pollinator garden at Lindo Lake Park in Lakeside
  • The pollinator garden at Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista

Do you want to attract beneficial pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds into your garden? Visit a garden for inspiration, but in the meantime here are some tips:

  • Include host plants, like native milkweed (the monarch’s host plant)
  • Grow flowering plants to provide nectar. Select plants that bloom at different times of the year to provide a continuous nectar source.
  • Create nesting habitat for native bees – leave some bare dirt patches for ground nesting bees or purchase an insect hotel.
  • Avoid pesticides!
  • Consider adding a water source.

Pollinator Garden Workshop series: In February and March, the SDPA hosted a series of three virtual workshops on creating pollinator gardens in back yards, school gardens, churches, or any other space you have access to. Several guest speakers / Pollinator Alliance members kindly contributed, including Dr Michael Wall of the San Diego Natural History Museum, Annika Nabors of the UC Cooperative Extension, Mary Duffy from Earth Discovery Institute, and Alden Hough from Sky Mountain Permaculture. Workshops can also be viewed on our YouTube channel here


Pollinator Gardening Resources 

Residential Monarch Habitat Installation Program - Earth Discovery Institute

  • Earth Discovery Institute will identify home garden sites to establish habitats that support the imperiled western monarch butterfly. Priority will be given to residents from under-served communities and different climactic zones throughout San Diego County. Check their site here for more eligibility requirements.  

Pollinator Toolkit

  • A guide for all you need to know to create pollinator habitat, created by the San Diego Pollinator Alliance.

San Diego Pollinator Plant List

  • Here is a quick guide to some plants that thrive in our region.

Pollinator Habitat Restoration on Working Lands

  • Use this informative guide to learn the co-benefits of pollinator services for working lands, like farms and ranches. If you are a commerical farmer or rancher in San Diego interested in this program, please fill out this form.

Establishing Pollinator Meadows From Seed

  • A guide from the Xerces Society on how to create your own pollinator meadow.

Gardening for Monarchs

  • Tips from Monarch Joint Venture on attracting monarchs (and other pollinators) to your yard.

Calscape Garden Planner

  • Follow this comprehensive tool to plan your native plant garden.

Xerces Society Pollinator Plant List

  • Sort by state to see native plants that pollinators in your region love.

Monarch Waystations

  • A certification for gardens that provide the resources that monarchs (and other pollinators) need. By registering as a Monarch Waystation, you join a national network of pollinator habitats.

Bee Basics: Introduction to Native Bees - Pollinator Partnership

  • Wonderful introduction to native bees, their importance and how to support them.
Native Plant Resources 

 There are several nurseries that offer native plants in San Diego. Some include:


The California Native Plant SocietyView a comprehensive list of nurseries that sell native plants in Southern California.

California Native Plant Society – San Diego Chapter

  • Organization dedicated to increasing understanding, appreciation and conservation of California’s fascinating variety of native plants in their natural environment and in horticultural settings. “Gardening with Natives” and “How-To Brochures” links on their website have lots of info on native plants and butterflies.  


  • Website where you can put in your address and learn about native plants that will do well in your area.


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