We know pollination is important for plants to reproduce. However, plants can’t move, and thus pollinators will help make this happen.
Pollinators are insects and birds that help transfer the pollen grains from one place to another. To attract pollinators, plants contain colorful flowers and sweet nectar. Pollinators go to the flowering plants in search of food, rest, mates, and for collecting materials to build their nests.
If you have maintained a garden before, you will be well aware that gardening requires the pollinating species’ presence. If you are new to gardening and are just starting up, don’t worry, this article will explain in detail how to attract pollinators. Let’s dive in.
How Is A Pollinator Garden Important?
The pollen grains must be transferred from the male to the female part of the plant for the fertilization to take place and produce seeds. Fertilization of plants happens through cross-pollination like wind, water, insects, bats, and birds or through self-pollination when the flower is closed off.
The majority of the plants are dependent on pollinators to produce seeds, fruits, and nuts. Pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds provide a lot of site attractions to people and entertain us in the environment. A good pollinator must be able to travel from one place to another to transport the pollens.
The trees and plants contain nectar in their flowers which the birds, bees, and butterflies come to take to transport from one flower to another. The pollen grains present in the anther (male part) stick on the pollinator and get transported to the stigma (female part) of the flower. The pollens travel to the ovule of the plant through the stigma to enable fertilization and produce seed.
Some fruits and seedlings will not be produced if the pollinators do not pollinate. Thus, ways to attract pollinators are crucial for the production of more plants in our garden.
Gardening Tips And Tricks
Knowing how to attract the pollinators will be beneficial and make it easier to plan a pollinator paradise. The flowers innately contain colorful petals, nectar and give off pleasant smells which attract various animals. Other than this, we can follow certain tips which will be useful to attract pollinators.
1. Mix The Colors Up
The various varieties of pollinators respond to different colors. Fill your yard with a variety of colorful plants as different species of animals and insects have different preferences. Butterflies get attracted more to red and purple colors, whereas bees get attracted to blue, white, and yellow flowers. The hummingbirds are normally attracted to shades of red flower species.
The diversity in the flower’s blooms shape, size, and pattern attract a diversity of moths, butterflies, and bees. Suffuse your habitat with rainbow varieties of flowers, and make sure to get plants that bloom at different times, so the pollinators are attracted throughout the season in your gardens.
2. Provide Water
Always water your plants to keep them nourished for them to look healthy and grow well. Keep some water for the hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators to drink and bathe.
Install fountains or create a pond in your garden for the pollinators to drink. A bird bath is easy to provide with any bowl or cup filled with water or buy them by shipping the products orders. Food and water help the pollinators lead a satisfying life.
3. Grow Them In Clusters
Grow the flowers in a bunch of clusters so that the pollinators can easily identify them and pollinate a larger area in your garden. Growing the flowers in clusters makes navigation easy for the pollinators. Scattered plants might miss the flowering as not all pollinators can see from a long distance.
To attract bees, butterflies, insects, and hummingbirds, the garden must contain a wide variety of flowers that grows in different seasons.
4. Provide Shelter
Provide shelter to the pollinators that come to your yard and garden soil. The pollinators need a place to stay and may get attracted there. For example, mason bees create homes between stones and cracks, bats like to live in trees, and hummingbirds get attracted to colorful trees.
A resting area and food in your garden will also attract them in a difficult season like winter or in rainy and windy days. Hence, create a shady and safe habitat to stay in your yard with things like compost, grass, unmulched soil, or dead tree limbs in your gardens.
5. Plant Native Plants
Plant native plants that are available in the country to attract native pollinators. These also reduce other pesky creatures and diseases as they prevent shipping plants and seeds to your home. For example, flowering plants like honeysuckle, purple coneflower, bee balm, milkweed, butterfly weed, and California poppy are all native of the US, which results in pollinator paradise.
6. Include Shrubs And Trees
Include a bunch of trees and shrubs to attract butterflies and moths, which provides them with shelter in your own pollinator garden. A nest or birdhouse can be provided for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Shrubs like summersweet, butterfly bush, viburnum contain nectar and hence can prove advantageous for your garden.
7. Harvest Herbs
Planting and letting herbs bloom in the garden are good measures as they provide the nutrition that your vegetable garden needs. Herbs like mint, oregano, and basil are known to attract bees. So harvest and add a lot of herbs and vegetables to your garden and let them bloom.
8. Wisely Use Pesticides
Limit the usage of pesticides in your pollinator garden. These not only get rid of pests and insects like wasps and ladybugs but might get rid of the desired pollinators like butterflies and bees. So the pesticides should be sprayed with caution when the flowers haven’t bloomed.
The smell of fertilizers and pesticides is harmful to the pollinators, and these items might overpower the smell of flowers. It would be wise not to use these products when a bee is out as that would be a lot safer for us. The concerning decline in the population of honey bees and other pollinators is worrisome to our environment.
Recently, neonicotinoids, a type of insecticide, have been banned by the Environmental Protection Agency. This was to promote and safeguard the health of honey bees and other pollinators as they proved to be harmful to them.
Going organic or buying these products with proper knowledge from articles and other authentic sources is necessary. Check the toxicity of pesticides before using them.
Specific Pollinators For Your Plant
Good pollinators are creatures that can cross-pollinate easily with genetically diverse species. They contain pollen grains on their hairs, feathers, scales, or long mouthparts. The pollen grains attach to them and are transferred from one flower to another.
There are guides and many research articles which contain the list of different plants attracting a particular pollinator. The most common ones are butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Let’s look at some of the kinds of blooms attracting a particular type of pollinator in your garden.
Flowers that attract butterflies are butterfly bushes, butterfly weed, Liatris (blazing star), Salvia coccinea(scarlet sage). These blooms attract the butterfly with their color and fresh odor.
Hummingbirds attract blooms like trumpet honeysuckle, giant hyssop, hummingbird mint, torch lily, and trumpet vine present in your garden. Hummingbirds prefer flowers with little to distinct odor.
The Bees are attracted to the blooms of plants like purple coneflower, milkweed, bee balm, mint, Joe-Pye weed, and sunflowers. The bee might also prefer flowers that have contrasting ultraviolet patterns and give fresh or mild orders.
The plants provide us with a variety of nutrients. Pollinators, in a way, work a lot for the plant without being aware of the work they do. Some pollinators take in the nectar through their long beaks, like in the case of hummingbirds, and others through their body’s toes, feathers, or hairs.
Due to habitat loss, lack of food, diseases, climate change, and degradation, there is a decrease in the number of pollinators. The population decline of the pollinators is a worrisome issue as it might lead to possible extinction. Hence, there is a need to preserve them. Great care should be taken in our gardens to provide good food and water. Also, a safe habitat must be provided for them to flourish.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.