Pollinators are the busybodies that keep the vibrant world of flora in your garden growing. Without pollinators, plants populations would dwindle and die. While the occasional hummingbird or bat will visit your garden, the most common pollinators are insects: bees, butterflies, moths, beetles and flies all pollinate plants.
Growing plants that attract pollinators is a great way to contribute to the health of your local ecosystem. Not only will your own garden benefit from these visitors, but other plants in the area will, too. When choosing how to fertilize and treat your garden for pests, consider the impact your treatments might have on pollinators that stop by. Opting for eco-friendly pest control is a great way to keep your garden safe and friendly.
It is important to consider that the larval stages of some of our favorite pollinators have large appetites. If you find a caterpillar munching on your plants, consider rehoming it to a robust bush, tree, or distant part of your yard.
Pick the Right Flowers for Your Favorite Pollinator
Various aspects of flowers and plants attract different pollinators.
- Bats are fond of plants that have regularly-shaped flowers, lots of pollen, strong musty odors, and dull white, green, or violet flowers.
- Beetles enjoy large flowers, such as those of the magnolia tree, a lot of pollen, and dull white or green flowers.
- Bees like plants with flowers that are easy for them to visit: They aim for plants with shallow flowers and landing space. Flowers with delicate and pleasant odors and bright white, yellow, or blue flowers are also appealing to bees.
- Butterflies like brightly colored, skinny, tubular flowers that allow space for them to land and produce a lot of nectar.
- Flies like pale and dull flowers with putrid scents.
- Hummingbirds like long, funnel-like red, orange, and white flowers with lots of nectar on robust plants that can support their weight.
- Moths like dull red, purple, pink, and white flowers that smell very sweet, produce a lot of nectar, and have a tubular shape.
Prepare Your Garden to Be a Pollinator Paradise
Planting a variety of flowering plants to attract the pollinators you appreciate most is a good way to draw them to your garden. Grouping plants together not only provides a target pollinators can more easily spot, it also allows them to gather nectar and pollen from several plants at once without traveling far and exposing themselves to predators. The more flowers you have, the more enticing your garden will be. Don’t overlook herbs as potential plants for your garden.
Beyond plants, there are other things you can do to make your garden an appealing place for pollinators: Providing shelter by incorporating different varieties of plants along with bee boxes for carpenter bees make them feel at home and stay longer. Fresh water is important to all sorts of animals, and pollinators are no exception. Adding a hummingbird fountain is a great way to provide fresh water and further entice hummingbirds to visit your yard.
Your garden will be happier, healthier, and more vibrant if you make an effort to attract pollinators. And each pollinating insect has a wide terrain to travel—a single butterfly traverses about 3,000 miles in its migrations—so not only will pollinators benefit your garden, but the environment beyond as well.
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Kelly Jacobi is an artist, designer, student, and patio gardener who enjoys seeing her plants thrive, and adorning her walls with pieces of art created by local artists and artisans. She is currently in pursuit of a bachelor’s of art and performance and hopes to delve deeper into her art and writing upon completion of her degree.
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