Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators play a critical role in the production of fruits, vegetables, and nuts we eat on a daily basis. Provide shelter and food for these crucial insects and animals by creating a pollinator garden.
The majority of our major U.S. crops (75 percent!) need pollinators to produce food. Three hundred thousand flowering plants and up to 95 percent of all plants in their natural settings require animal pollinators to flower or fruit.
What do these statistics have to do with you? We are facing a decline in pollinators – butterflies, bees, bats, birds, and more – yet according to the Million Pollinator Garden Network, pollinators are responsible for one of every three bites of food we take every day!
We can help revive the populations of these crucial animals and insects, one pollinator garden at a time.
Why Do Pollinators Matter?
As we mentioned above, the majority of plants will not produce fruit or flowers without being pollinated. This includes the wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts we consume daily and depend on for essential nutrients.
Pollination is the process of transferring pollen from one plant to another, naturally done by animals and insects, like bees. Without pollinators, these plants we rely on and love would not grow or produce, and a crucial ecological process would be halted.
What is a Pollinator Garden?
What is there to do about the threat to pollinator populations? The easiest way we can all help is to grow plants that provide pollen and nectar. This can be in the form of an entire garden bed dedicated to pollinators or a simple micro garden. Even the smallest patch of flowers will make a difference.
The purpose of a pollinator garden is to provide insects and birds with safety, habitat, and food. How? Insects can take shelter from dangerous weather and predators in the spaces created by gardens. These spaces are also safe for laying eggs and raising young, and the pollen and nectar of the plants themselves provide sustenance for the creatures.
Pollinator gardens are both havens for the insects and birds that play a critical role in our health and visually appealing additions to our landscapes.
Start Your Own Pollinator Garden
Like any other garden, a pollinator garden can include annual and perennial flowers, shrubs, ground covers, and trees. Planning this type of garden requires only one extra step: choose plants loved by pollinators for their abundant and accessible nectar and pollen.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Mint is perfect for pollinator gardens, thriving in the heat and humidity of our state.
- Walter’s viburnum. This go-to for many Floridians is the ideal low-maintenance hedge.
- Saw palmetto. This plant’s fragrant flowers attract pollinators, and it’s a highly drought-resistant Florida native.
- Black-eyed Susan. This flower is an excellent choice for coastal gardens, as it tolerates salt and drought well.
Guideline for Pollinator Gardens
The Million Pollinator Garden Network, encouraging gardeners all over the world to plant pollinator gardens, provides a set of guidelines to create the optimum space for pollinators.
- Choose plants that produce nectar and pollen
- Plant the garden in a sunny area with protection from the wind
- Select non-invasive, native plants
- Include plants that will bloom throughout the entire growing season
- Incorporate a water source into the garden, like a fountain, birdbath, or puddle
Join thousands of other Floridians in creating a pollinator garden and taking a step towards saving our precious pollinators.