It’s Pollinator Week everybody! And that means it’s an impeccable time to cover the importance of pollination and name off a few favorite plants that prove to be excellent pollinators.
Looking to make a full-blown Butterfly Garden for local bee and butterfly populations? Or just want to add native plants that are great at attracting beneficial insects for your vegetable garden? Read on.
First, Why Make Pollinator Friendly Gardens for a Variety of Pollinators?
About 13 years ago, the U.S. Senate made the step to designate a solid week in June each year to raise more awareness about the declining pollinator populations. It has now grown to be an international celebration!
Why may you ask? Without pollination, there is no healthy life for flowers and plants. This puts a roadblock in front of many environmental attributes that create a living for humans and animals.
Pollination brings clean air, purified water, and prevents soil erosion through the help of plants. Not only that, pollination is essential for growing crop based plants and obtaining flavorful fruits.
Did you know that ⅓ of all foods and beverages is delivered by pollinators? That’s amazing!
And without bees, butterflies, birds, and more, the vegetation across the world wouldn’t even be a thing. In fact, almost 75% of flowering plants need the help of insects and animals to move pollen for fertilization.
Have we convinced you enough? It’s never too late to start growing your own pollinator-friendly garden!
Our bird, butterfly, and pollinator plants make it easy for you to choose your favorites from a long list of plants that help the environment. Not to mention, they also make superb garden additions for extra visual interest.
Keep in mind that all types of butterflies appreciate flat and open flowers, like those of the stunning Neon Flash Spirea (Spiraea japonica ‘Neon Flash’), so that they can easily rest upon them.
Honey bees and bumblebees have a passion for any flower that carries a sweet scent, such as Roses or Bulbs. Tubular flowers, like Weigelas, are splendid plants for hummingbirds to stick their nose within.
Interested in learning more about details about a butterfly flower garden? Check out our other blog on bringing butterflies and other beneficial insects to yours.
Boost Your Edible Landscape Yields With Nectar Plants
We all know that home growing fruits and vegetables needs a helpful hand from pollinators. Many vegetable and fruit plants lack the ability to produce both the male (stamen) and female (stigma) flowers and have no controlled way of transferring pollen from one to the other.
With no stamen and stigma, fruits and vegetables cannot begin to grow. They have to wait until male pollen has been transported to a female flower of the same species.
That’s where pollinating insects come to the rescue and do the job for us! Thanks to them, we get to enjoy delicious tasting, home grown fruits and vegetables.
If your edible garden plants are failing to yield a nice crop, it could be due to poor pollination. Late frost, bad weather conditions, and a dry atmosphere have negative effects on insects.
Although these are hard to control, you can actually encourage insects to visit your garden by planting pollinator friendly flowers and plants. Their nectar will actually increase your edible landscape yields!
Don’t worry, we have provided many types of plants that will easily help you with your garden in this blog so you don’t have to go scouring the internet! This includes plants that work in full sun and partial shade.
Attracting Butterflies And More With Pollinating Plant Favorites
Deep hued blue and purple flowering perennials, like Bee Balm (Monarda didyma ‘Balbalmac’), are a fan favorite for creating colorful landscapes. Their extended blooming periods keep your garden looking fresh.
When mixed with white flowering perennials, they make a lovely contrast. And pollinators love their nectar! In fact, blue and purple are some of their favorite colors.
Spring blooming perennials display a large variety of colors and leaves that make a lovely welcome sight. Butterflies and bees appreciate the nectar source from a plant that blooms in early spring.
They also make the ideal clarion call to welcome the new season within a landscape garden.
Bright yellow and orange flowering perennials are almost begging for pollinating insects to land upon them. Their pop of color is a bullseye for monarch butterflies and bumble bees.
These perennial flowers also ensure visual highlight to any home and garden too! They work well in hanging baskets, flowerbeds, and mass plantings for a striking display of color.
Rugosa Roses are widely used in landscaping because of their tough and easy care features. They carry a sweet fragrance and several different colors making them a prized ornamental plant.
Fragrant Roses are bold and beautiful garden additions. Their sweet aroma will make you want to bottle it up and use it as a perfume. This fragrance is like candy to insects and draws them to the nectar and pollen!
Pink Roses and Yellow Roses are unbeatable in the garden with their vibrant color punch and fragrance. When mixed with white roses, they are sure to stand out in any landscape.
They also happen to be an amazing choice of color for bees to easily locate them.
Viburnum Shrubs produce flat-topped clusters of blooms. Pollinators adore these! They have proven themselves to be some of the best landscape and garden additions for all of the right reasons.
They come in a variety of sizes and feature many ornamental benefits. If you plant more than one Arrowwood Viburnum, for instance, they'll create fall berries! You'll lure both beneficial pollinators and songbirds to your landscape.
Flowering Shrubs enrich your garden with their spectacular splashes of color and elegant foliage form. Many pollinator insects are attracted to their blooms during the Spring and Summer seasons.
They also add structure and balance to a landscape layout.
A Perfecta Trifecta Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii BUZZ ‘Sky Blue’, Buddleia davidii BUZZ ‘Hot Raspberry’, Buddleia davidii BUZZ ‘Ivory’) is everything anyone could ever need in a shrub! With large, vibrant pink, white, and purple fragrant blooms, butterflies simply cannot keep themselves away.
Your garden will be well on its way to breathtaking.
Linden Trees are easily recognizable by their pyramidal shape and heart shaped fragrant blooms! They make a charming shade tree and birds, bees, and butterflies can’t get enough of them.
The Eastern Redbud Tree (Cercis canadensis) is a small, ornamental tree that puts on a marvelous show each season of the year. It is extremely pollinator friendly too!
Fun Facts About Pollination
As mentioned before, pollination is the transfer of pollen from a male flower to a female flower. Even though a majority of pollination comes from the work of vectors, there are self-pollinating ways as well.
This includes wind and water. It’s a lot more by chance this way, but plants take all the help that they can get!
Now who does all the pollinating? We have mentioned a few, but there are approximately 200,000 different species that take part in this natural system.
There are vertebrates, those who have a backbone, and invertebrates, those who don’t have a backbone. Birds, bats, and small mammals fall under the backbone category while flies, beetles, butterflies, moths, and bees lack the spinal column.
To no surprise, bees sit ranked at the very top of all pollinators. We all really saw that coming.
Each of those animals are involved in a very vital interaction with plants. The very plants that produce countless fruits, vegetables, and nuts. In fact, one out of every three bites of food we take is indirectly made from pollinators.
They also provide half of the world’s oils, fibers, and raw materials and increase carbon sequestration.
Let’s talk more facts about how important pollination is.
Of all flowering plants in the world, about 75% to 95% of them need assistance with pollination. They simply can’t do it themselves and without the help, those plants would not be able to reproduce.
To put the percentages more into perspective, pollinators give their services to over 180,000 different plants and more than 1,200 crop based plants.
Ever heard of the saying ‘April showers bring May flowers?” Well, it’s more like thousands of hardworking pollinating insects bring the pretty May flowers.
If we want to get technical and talk money, pollinators actually add 217 billion dollars to the world’s economy. Of that 217, honey bees themselves make up for almost 5.4 billion dollars. No wonder they have the nickname ‘busy bee!’
As of now, the population is at a decreasing rate as a result of the loss of feeding and nesting habitats for the pollinators. Without these areas, they struggle to survive and do their job.
Building on that, pollution, chemicals, and changes in the weather are all negatively affecting the pollinator populations around the world.
There are ways that we can help these important insects! By planting various flowers, shrubs, and trees, we are providing homes. And if we begin to be mindful of our environment, we will see it flourish more than before. Looking for even more information about which plants to use in your pollinator garden? Check out what our friends at Gardeners Path have to say in their article How to Attract pollinators.
Happy Pollinator Week!
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