How To Attract More Bees And Other Pollinators Into Your Garden
Most of the popular flower varieties are hybridized for different features that the gardener values. Such things can include better disease resistance, longer blooms, or even bigger flower size and pronounced color. However, hybridization has dealt a negative blow. It has reduced the pollen and nectar production are at times, leaving plants completely sterile. Such plants then become useless to pollinators such as bees.
With things such as temperature, climate conditions, humidity, and soil moisture influence nectar production in plants, the situation only looks bleak for the bees and other pollinators.
General Gardening Advice
The Xerces Society has taken note of the plight the pollinators are facing and offer the following tips and advice to help attract more of these insects to your garden:
• Avoid using pesticides:
The chemical makeup of most pesticides makes them non-selective. That means that will kill every bug that comes into contact with the chemical. But the use of pesticides is, at times, necessary. However, you should start with the least toxic variety and make sure you follow the instructions on the label.
• Use local native plants:
According to some studies, native plants are four times more attractive to the local bees and exotic plant varieties. Moreover, these native plants are well adapted to growing and thriving in conditions in your region, thus requiring minimum attention. Perennials and heirloom varieties of herbs will provide the bees with decent foraging. You should also find out which bees like which plants. We have a great guide for differentiating between bee species.
• Chose several colors of flowers:
Bees rely on their excellent color vision to locate flowers that offer the pollen and nectar they need. Whites, violets, blues, yellows, and purples are some of the flower colors that will pull in these pollinators into your garden.
• Plant flowers in clumps:
Clustering flowers of the same species into a cluster can help attract more bees as opposed to having them scattered individually on your plot. If you have enough space, you can make clumps that are around four feet in diameter.
• Include flowers of different shapes:
With well over four thousand different bee species in North America, there is a range of preferences regarding the nectar and pollen. The difference in the species can be seen in their size, tongue lengths, and preferences of flowers. Therefore, having a range of flower colors and shapes will ensure all types of bees can benefit.
• Diversify the flowering plants all season:
Bees are typically generalists; they feed on an array of plants throughout their life. Having different plant species flowering the same time and a sequence of blooms through the spring, summer, and fall season can ensure the bee are contented with the supply of pollen and nectar.
• Plant where bees will visit:
Bees like sunny spots even though they will set up their hives in shade areas, but mostly to shelter them from strong winds. Therefore, consider planting your flowers in sunny spots.
Choosing The Right Flowers
Providing a range of flowing plants will help bees and other pollinators have substantial access to nectar and pollen during the blooming periods. You can attract these insects into your garden all year round if you set up patches of foraging habitat in different sections in your plot. Remember to give more preference to the native plant species and create a mosaic of habitat what will attract the pollinators.
The native plants are what the local bees prefer, and you can grow these complementing them with some heirloom varieties of perennials and herbs. The idea is to provide some variety that makes your garden an attractive place for both people and pollinators.
Below are some native plants suitable for different locations. However, you should do some research to know which species will do well in which areas. The list may not be exhaustive, but it can be a starting point in your quest to attract more bees and other pollinators into your garden. Hopefully, you will be able to pick the right plants that are local to you.