Gardening to attract pollinators is not only fun, but it is essential to our survival as a species.
In the United States, one-third of all agricultural output depends on pollinators.
What Is Pollination & What Are Pollinators?
Pollination is what occurs when pollen is carried from flower to flower by birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles, and others. The wind can carry it as well.
From Pollinator Partnership:
“The transfer of pollen in and between flowers of the same species leads to fertilization and successful seed and fruit production for plants. Pollination ensures that a plant will produce full-bodied fruit and a full set of viable seeds.
“Worldwide, roughly 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend.
“Foods and beverages produced with the help of pollinators include apples, blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, vanilla, almonds, and tequila.
“In the United States, pollination by honey bees, native bees, and other insects produces $40 billion worth of products annually.” – Pollinator.org
Herbs & Pollination:
Almost any herb will attract pollinators. I make sure my garden has many herbs mixed in with the other plants and flowers.
Some of the herbs that I’ve recently planted are chives, lemon balm, sage, and various mints.
Some of the plants I have in my garden that attract pollinators are coral bells, hosta, begonias, geraniums, salvia, ivy, veronica, and Shasta daisies.
I’m sure when I go out there later I will see that there are even more I forgot to mention here.
How Birds, Bees, Hummingbirds & Butterflies Pollinate Flowers:
Sticky pollen attaches to a bird’s beak and feathers. The bird goes to the next flower and drops off pollen and picks up more. This is the process they use to pollinate flowers.
A bee collects nectar and pollen from the flower and it sticks to the hairs of the body. When she visits the next flower, some of this pollen is rubbed off onto the stigma, or tip of the pistil. This is the female reproductive organ of the flower.
Pollen clings to a hummingbird’s bill as it sips nectar from a flower. Then when the hummingbird visits another flower the pollen is transferred to a new bloom for pollination.
Butterflies pollinate flowers by moving pollen from one flower to another of the same species. The pollen attaches to their body while they are feeding on nectar.
Butterflies are less efficient than bees at moving pollen between plants. Highly perched on their long thin legs, they do not pick up much pollen on their bodies.
Flower Colors That Attract Pollinators:
Butterflies and hummingbirds are usually attracted to plants with red, orange, pink, or yellow flowers.
The most likely colors to attract bees, according to scientists, are purple, violet, and blue.
Bees are attracted to bright white, yellow, or blue flowers and flowers with contrasting ultraviolet patterns that have fresh, mild, or pleasant odors.
Nature brings many wonderful things for us to enjoy. And the pollinators that are essential to our survival are just part of it.