We’re not talking just “flowers”, we’re talking pollinators. What are pollinators? Are they important? Why do we need them in the garden? What is the result of lack of or poor pollination in the vegetable garden, how does it affect the economy, and much more?! Join us tonight as we dig in!
What Is A Pollinator?
Anything that helps carry pollen from male part of the flower (stamen) to the female part of the same or another flower (stigma).
Are Bees The Only Insect Pollinators?
It can be bees, wasp, moths, butterflies, ants, birds, flies, and small animals including bats.
Some, including bees, intentionally collect pollen. Others (butterflies, birds, bats) move pollen accidentally. Pollen sticks to their bodies and is transported unknowingly from flower to flower resulting in pollination.
Why Do We Need Pollinators In The Garden?
One out of every three bites of food you eat exists because of the efforts of pollinators, including many fruits, vegetables, and seeds. Pollinators not only are necessary for our own food but support the food and habitat of animals.
Healthy ecosystems depend on pollinators. At least 75 percent of all the flowering plants on earth are pollinated by insects and animals! This amounts to more than 1,200 food crops and 180,000 different types of plants—plants that help stabilize our soils, clean our air, supply oxygen, and support wildlife.
In the United States alone, pollination by honey bees contributed to over $19 billion of crop production in 2010, while pollination by other insect pollinators contributed to nearly $10 billion of crop production.
- Somewhere between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants on the earth need help with pollination – they need pollinators.
The Best Flowers To Attract Pollinators
Zinnias, Sunflowers, Hibiscus, Lavender, Lantana, Salvia, Celosia
Tips for Pollinators and Pollinator Plants
- Bees are one of the most important pollinators. They are able to see ultraviolet colors and prefer flowers in shades of yellow, purple and blue. Bees are also attracted to plants with a sweet fragrance. Bees like a few dry, sunny, bare spots with well-drained soil. South-facing slopes are ideal.
- Butterflies need sunny, open spaces, fresh water and shelter from the wind. As a general rule, butterflies are attracted to purple, white, pink, yellow, orange and red – and less to greens and blues.
- Hummingbirds need open spaces that allow them to fly from one pollinator to another. They also need a safe place to perch and a few shady spots to rest. They like most nectar-rich, unscented, tube-shaped flowers, but are highly attracted to pink, orange and bright red.
- Plant a variety of flowers so something is blooming in your pollinator garden throughout the growing season. Plant large patches of pollinator plants, which makes it easier for pollinators to forage.