Help us celebrate Pollinator Week this year, by selecting plants for a pollinator garden in your landscape. Keep reading to find out the best pollinator plants for butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds!
What is Pollination?
If you watch a bee closely on a flower, you can see them removing pollen from the stamen of a flower. Pollen is created in the anther, which is located in the stamen of a flower. Pollinators will carry the pollen between flowering plants. This process is called cross-pollination. By moving the pollen from one plant to another, the pollen will help fertilize the flower for reproduction. Cross-pollination also increases biodiversity which is essential for ecosystem sustainability. Some of our staple crops like corn, wheat, rice, and oats are pollinated through wind pollination.
We Can’t Live Without Them!
Every one out of three bites of food was created in part by pollinators like bees, butterflies, moths, bats, beetles, and birds. Not only do we need them for food production, but pollinators also help sustain our ecosystems by assisting in plant reproduction. About 75% to 95% of flowering plants on the earth need these beneficial insects to reproduce, and it’s our responsibility to conserve them.
Best Pollinator Plants for Butterflies, Bees, and Hummingbirds
Daylilie’s are attractive to pollinators because of their cup-like shape. The deep flowers make it easy for our tiny friends to gather up pollen and nectar without a threat of predators.
Hibiscus flowers are loved by hummingbirds. Even though they attract other pollinators like butterflies, the exposed stamen allows for easy nectar collection.
Crabapple Trees are great for pollinators because their flowering season starts earlier and lasts longer than most blooms. The long-blooming time provides a reliable food source all season long for our buzzy friends.
The bees will be hanging out on the rod clustered blooms that the Liriope produces. Liriope bloom after most other flowers have finished their life cycle, making them essential for pollinators after summer.
The Tulip Poplar Tree may be one of the most popular pollinator-friendly trees in the United States and is known as a major honey plant. The flowers produce a generous amount of nectar and pollen and will feed honey bees, native bees, and hummingbirds for months.
Gardenias are extremely fragrant making them the first stop for many pollinators. The bright white blooms will attract Hawkmoths after dark, as they take the night shift for their pollinating friends.
Bee Pollination Facts
Every year, millions of native bee colonies travel across the country in early spring to pollinate our fruits and veggies. There are more than 4,000 species of bees in the United States, who spend most of their life collecting pollen. Honey Bees are responsible for more than 3 billion dollars in agricultural revenue in the United States, and many fruits like blueberries, cherries, and almonds depend almost entirely on them.
Are Wasps Pollinators?
Wasps are some of the most important pollinators. They are close cousins of bees, and similarly, need pollen and nectar from many flowers to survive. Although wasps look like bees, they are not as covered in tiny hairs that assist in flower pollination. Fig wasps pollinate around 1,000 different species of fig trees by laying eggs into the immature fruit.
Best Pollinator Friendly Fruit Trees for Bees
National Pollinator Week
Sadly, our bee population has been declining for the last half-century. Development in infrastructure has put pollinator populations at risk, as their food sources are diminishing. We can help in pollinator conservation by planting plants that attract pollinators (like butterfly gardens), plants that have overlapping bloom times, native plants, and using fewer pesticides and insecticides.
Join us in celebrating National Pollinator Week by donating to the Pollinator Partnership, and adding pollinator plants to your landscape. Save the bees!