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Nighttime Pollinators Garden Kit

Nighttime Pollinators Garden Kit

Exclusive! We created a special garden kit with plants for pollinators of the night. Order our new Nighttime Pollinators Kit through your county Conservation District fundraiser. These will not be available on our website until summer.


A garden kit is a collection of plants pre-selected by our nursery to meet a certain purpose to make gardening goals easy. Kits can be used as a quick way and economical to start gardening native without having to do as much research. Plants come pre-arranged in a tray so you can plant them just as they are for an instant garden design, with tall plants in the back and short, showy plants in the front. Or, since each plant is labeled with plant name and height, you can arrange them to suit your space.


When people think pollinators, they tend to picture bees and butterflies. However, studies are showing that 50% of pollination occurs at night, while the bees and butterflies are sleeping. Most of this pollination is done by moths. Moths don't generally use pollen, but their fuzzy bodies carry it effectively, usually much farther than the pollen could be carried by bees tied to a small territory around a nest site. One such study found that 50% of the pollination of apple tree flowers was done by moths. Apple flowers that were barricaded at night to prevent nocturnal pollination were not fully pollinated, resulting in small, misshapen fruit. Ironically, the pollinators observed were mostly moths that come from army caterpillars and tent worms, some of the most hated of caterpillars. So think twice, before destroying their tents - nature needs them, and they won't kill the tree. Better yet, garden for them, just like you would for their flashy butterfly cousins. There are two ways plants can help moths - they can host (be eaten by) moth caterpillars, or they can provide nectar to night-flying adults. Goldenrods, asters, oak trees, and other are considered "keystone" pollinator plants mostly because of the number of moth species they host.


The other way native plants can support moths is providing nectar that is available at night. Not all plants have nectar available at all times. They tend to offer rewards at certain times and in certain ways to attract their favored pollinators, to better ensure that their pollen gets to a plant of the same species. Signs that a plant provides nectar to moths include a light-colored flower, easier to detect in dim light, and a scent that intensifies in the evening to lure awakening pollinators.


This Nighttime Pollinator Kit is designed for average garden soil and full to part sun. It will contain 2 to 5 of each species. A typical kit would contain the following mix of plants, but one way we keep the per plant costs low on garden kits is by reserving the right to substitute plants based on our current inventory. Your kit is may differ from the list below in exact species, however, the plants included will meet the stated goals of the kit, in this case, supporting moths and other nighttime pollinators. If you need specific plants for your garden goals, consider supplementing your garden kit with quarts:


  • Evening Primrose - the secret is in the name; these open and offer nectar in the evening
  • Big Bluestem - caterpillar host plant
  • Stiff Goldenrod - both nectar and host plant
  • Black-eyed Susan - nectar and host plant
  • Panicled Aster - nectar and host plant with light flowers
  • Common Milkweed - pale flower with a delicious scent that intensifies in the evening
  • Hairy Beardtongue - nectar plant with light flowers
  • Showy Goldenrod - Goldenrod importance to moths as both nectar and host plants cannot be overstated, so we are including two favorites
  • Early Sunflower - nectar and host plant with a lot of caterpillar real estate
  • Cutleaf Coneflower - nectar and host plant with even more caterpillar real estate 
  • Boneset - nectar and host plant with white flowers
  • Meadowsweet - early season nectar and host plant
  • Canada Milkvetch - host plant and nectar source 


If substitutions are necessary, they may include Culver's Root, Calico or other asters, Giant or Paleleaf Sunflower, other goldenrods, other native grasses, or others. These plants are also recommended if you wish to expand your Nighttime Pollinator collection. 


This economical kit includes 38 plant plugs that fill 38 square feet at 1-foot spacing - a 4'x9.5' bed; or up to 86 square feet at 1.5 sq. ft. spacing - a 6'x14' bed. Each kit comes with a planting guide. The plants are individually tagged for identification and all tags include height so you can alter the layout to suit your space.  Picture is an example kit of a different type. This kit will differ from the picture.


This kit is not available through us at this time. Support your local Conservation District by ordering through their Native Plant Sale fundraiser. To order, search for "your county" Conservation District. Some have their plant sales up and running. If they don't, or if they aren't offering this kit, give them a call and let them know you are interested. Most U.P. Conservation districts will be doing a plant sale with us this year.


While you've got them on the phone, ask about possible grants for pollinator gardens or greenhouses. Ask about site visits to help you identify your existing plants, determine what you should plant next, address erosion concerns, or look at your woodlot. You can even ask for help controlling invasive species on your property. Get to know your local Conservation District. Conservation Districts are the gateway to it all! 


You can also stalk our What's Happening page for Conservation District Native Plant Sale dates, details, and ordering links.

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