Try planting strawberries, clover and aponaria as ground covers to attract and benefit pollinators

If space in your yard is limited for planting another pollinator garden, look in between! You might have small swaths of space between shrubs, trees and big perennials where different ground covers could go.

Those spots where you might normally use wood mulch or let grass grow, instead, plant ground covers like strawberries, clover and saponaria.

Wild and alpine strawberries especially make great ground cover. Cultivated strawberries grow well in between hedgerows, shrubs and bigger perennials like peonies, too. And if you go with alpine strawberries, they’ll keep flowering throughout the summer.

Another ground cover to try is called rock soap wort or saponaria. It’s a low-growing ground cover with pink or white fragrant flowers. This cover works well in a rock garden in full sun and well-drained soil.

If you’re planting clover as a ground cover, do note it can be aggressive, so pair it near trees and shrubs where it can fill in spaces with its beautiful white flowers that pollinators can’t resist. Clovers bloom all summer, and the plant fixes nitrogen and stays green during a drought.

Planting these ground covers means you’ll do less watering and weeding, too. Plus, they won’t compete with your other plants. The biggest benefits by far, though, are the flowers that bloom, which will attract pollinators.

How much coir is the right amount to add to potting soil?

Q: You answered a question about water retention or lack thereof in houseplants and recommended adding coir to the potting mix. What’s the ratio of potting mix to coir? I ended up with some stuff that is incredibly porous! – Beth, via email

A: Coir is very porous, so aim to mix it in along with something else for different soil uses. For instance, if you’re adding coir into soil for seed-starting, also add in some perlite and vermiculite, along with some sand.

House plants need to have more heft in their soil, so try a 50/50 mix of coir and a sterile compost, perlite and vermiculite to help with aeration and water retention.

It may take some trial and error when finding the right balance of coir, but keep mixing and you’ll find the right recipe for your soil uses!

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