Last Updated on December 28, 2021
Gardening is a great way to spend time outdoors and it’s so rewarding to grow your own food. But did you know that growing flowers near your fruits, vegetables, or herbs can also help attract pollinators?
Pollinators are the keystone species of any garden because they not only bring us beautiful blooms but they also play an important role in our food system — the more pollinators we have around, the more robust our ecosystem becomes. Gardening can be expensive and challenging at times but these tips will make it easier on you!
Why is it important to attract pollinators
Pollinators are insects or other types of animals that transfer pollen from the stamen or male section of a flower. Without pollinators, many plant species would not be able to reproduce.
Pollinators also provide an ecological service by controlling how fast a plant species can spread. They do this by limiting a plant’s ability to cross-breed with its neighbors.
One of the most important pollinators is the honey bee. Bees are responsible for 80% of the world’s food crops and it’s estimated that one in every three mouthfuls come from something pollinated by bees! The honey bee population has been diminishing at alarming rates because of disease, pesticides, habitat loss, and climate change.
Tips for growing flowers to attract pollinators
By planting a variety of flowers in your garden, you can attract more pollinators. If possible, try to plant flowers in every section of the garden so that you have a continuous supply of food for your pollinators.
This is because when bees visit one flower in your garden, they’ll leave behind pollen from other flowers on the way home. This will allow these flowers to be fertilized
In the springtime, flowers such as dandelions will provide food for adult bees before they get busy visiting the fruit and vegetable plants later in the season.
To help get more butterflies in your garden, plant flowers that are brightly colored and provide nectar. Shining sunflowers will attract adult butterflies, while lantana will catch caterpillars for future butterfly larvae to eat.
Even if you can’t have a full flower garden, you can still make sure the plants around your crops are bee-friendly. Native plants and flowers maintain the ability to support a broad selection of pollinators in your region.
Bees love to come to flowers that are:
- full of nectar
- aromatic, particularly with a minty smell
- brightly colored, preferably blue or yellow, and note that bees can’t see the color red
- a tubular shaped flower that has nectar at its base
- in the sun
Other flowers you can grow to help with pollination
- California poppy
- Sweet peas
- Sweet alyssum
Some of these blooms are edible and have additional uses in addition to the ability to attract pollinators. Some species repel pests that can harm your vegetable plants both above and below ground level.
Remember that not all pollinators are interested in the same color, so try experimenting with different colors and see what works best for your garden. You’ll soon figure out which pollinator prefers which colors, such as bees preferring yellows and butterflies choosing reds.
Always make sure your flowers are in full sun and well-drained soil. This ensures the plants produce pollen regularly throughout the day.
You should also regularly deadhead your plants to encourage more blooms. It’s very simple – just cut off or pinch the stem of the flower you want to deadhead, and above the next set of healthy leaves.
Use this process to help create a smaller, softer-looking garden that attracts just as many pollinators!
With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to a beautiful garden with healthy pollinators. What are some of the ways that you have created a habitat for bees and other important pollinators? Share them below!