As summer kicks into full gear, it’s the best time to step outside and take in the glories of nature. Spending time engulfed in your home’s outdoor oasis is even better when the garden is full of beautiful flowers and foliage to enhance our enjoyment. If your garden is full of plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, you already know who magical that can be.
But, did you know how important it is to attract more pollinators to your garden? In fact, strategically planting flowers and plants that attract pollinators offers countless and far-reaching benefits to, not only, your garden, but the entire ecosystem you inhabit.
Pesticides and crowded cities, along with many other reasons, have contributed to a decline in pollinators, especially bees. The ecosystem supported by bees and other pollinators is increasingly in jeopardy, but small steps can help improve this precious resource.
What to Know About Pollinators & How to Attract Them
What are pollinators and why do they matter? – Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles and other small mammals are all considered pollinators because they travel from plant to plant carrying pollen. They interact with the plants providing genetic material that is critical to our environment. Essentially, these pollinators, most importantly bees, drink nectar from the flowers or travel with and transport needed pollen as they go from spot to spot.
- A majority (around 75-95%) of the flowering plants in our world environment need pollinators to help them with pollination.
- Pollinators impact over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops.
- It’s commonly agreed that one out of every three bites of food we eat is there because of pollinators.
- In terms of dollars and cents, pollinators and the results of their efforts generate $217 billion globally.
- Bees alone contribute to 1.2 and 5.4 billion dollars in the United States.
- And, as if that were not enough, pollinators support a healthy environment contributing to clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather and keep wildlife habitats safe.
Now that we’ve painted the picture of just how important these pollinators are to our ecosystems, let’s drill down on our gardening strategy to support and encourage more pollination activity.
Plants that attract pollinators – One of the most impactful action steps you can take is planting plants that attract pollinators. By choosing nectar and pollen-rich plants, you will increase the occurrence of pollination in your ecosystem. Choose wildflowers, old-fashioned varieties of flowers and local varietals of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs so nectar and pollen will be on hand throughout the growing season.
Flowers That Attract Bees, Butterflies, & Hummingbirds
• Butterfly Attracting Plants – Alyssum, Aster, Bee balm, Butterfly bush, Calendula, Dianthus, Lavender, Marigold, Purple Coneflower, Stonecrop, and Zinnia, among others.
• Hummingbird Attracting Plants – Ajuga, Butterfly weed, Cardinal flower, Delphinium, Geranium, Iris, Lily, Paintbrush, Scarlet sage, Zinnia, and many others.
• Bee Attracting Plants – Perennials and Annuals, Bee balm, Bee plant, Borage, Gaillardia, Goldenrod, Marjoram, Rosemary, Wallflower, Wild Rose, and much more.
Keep Things Organic
Many commonly-used pesticides contain toxins that are detrimental to the bee population. Taking an organic and bee-friendly approach to weed prevention and pest control is safer for the environment, encourages crucial pollination from the endangered honey bee and is safer for your family.
Few things are more beautiful during summer than to relax in your backyard (or front yard) with a tall glass of iced tea and watch butterflies and hummingbirds flitting from colorful flower to colorful flower. Making this happen does so much more than just add to your own personal connection to nature; it has a serious impact on the entire environment. You can feel good knowing that you are helping to make a difference while enhancing the beauty of your home or business’s exterior.
The good news is you don’t have to take a DIY approach to creating a garden that attracts pollinators. Your local Spring-Green lawn care team is well-versed on native plants that can support pollination activity with low maintenance and a positive impact on the environment around you. Get started now and start enjoying the splendors of nature – all from the comfort of your own home!