It’s a fact that pollinators are necessary for a garden’s longevity and productivity. It’s also a fact that different flowers attract different types of pollinators. A garden’s main sources of pollination are from bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. However, moths and flies also act as natural pollinators. The most common and desired pollinator is the honey bee. This busy, busy insect means no harm and is sure to return year after year to a good spot, bringing the whole family with him.
Planting a garden is like planning a marriage. You have to get the timing right. If a garden’s main source of pollination is available during the late summer months, spring blooming flowers will not stand a chance. Bees are most active during the summer months, appearing in the spring and dying off with beginning of winter weather. It’s best to plant flowers that will bloom during when bees are most active for your area. Supplementing your garden with fall blooming plants is a great way to make sure it will continue to get the attention it needs late into the year.
The best way to ensure swarms of bees is by planting trees that bloom all summer long. However, not everyone has the space. Smaller trees, perennials and annuals will create a unique and attractive space for an assortment of pollinators. There are thousands of spring flowers and bulbs to pick from, but selecting native plants will give your garden the best chance. Miniature variations of the sunflower, Brown-eyed Susans bloom all summer and are great for attracting bees. Milkweed variations are another popular addition to gardens. These plants attract butterflies and are a food source for caterpillars.
3. Color & Smell
Except for hummingbirds and flies, all pollinators are attracted to the same smells that we are. Hummingbirds have no sense of smell and flies tend to be attracted to the smells we don’t like, such as Queen Ann’s Lace. Bees are attracted to every color imaginable, except for red. Ironically or by natural development, butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to red and reddish toned flowers.