Pollinator Friendly Gardens, Part 2

Pollinator Friendly Gardens, Part 2

Having the right features in your garden will help attract pollinators, but the gardening practices you follow will make sure they stay there and do all the wonderful pollination they were born to do. Here are a few garden practices to employ to create pollinator friendly gardens.

Plant single flowers: Fewer petals equals more pollination.

1) Pick native plants. While some pollinators are adaptable and will get nectar from hybrids, local pollinators evolved with native plants. Be sure your garden includes some native species.

2) Plant single flowers. People love the over-the-top fluffiness of double flowers. Bees — not so much. They like flowers that have the pollen front-and-center with a relatively easy way to get to it. Consider adding some single roses or native coneflowers to your garden this year.

3) Incorporate grasses in your planting beds.While flowers are where the nectar and pollen is, pollinators use grasses, especially native bunch-type grasses, for nesting sites. Bumblebees, particularly, nest in grasses.

4) Avoid insecticides. Systemic insecticides are particularly harmful to pollinating insects because they may stay in the plant a long time.

Plant bulbs, such as crocus, for early bloom and late-season plants, such as asters, for late bloom.

5) Plant for early and late bloom. When bees wake up in spring, the pickings are slim. Some of the early sources of nectar include crocus and dandelions. Let some of your dandelions flower for the bees. Also, plant late bloomers, such as asters, to support pollinators after many summer blooming plants have faded.

6) Don’t plant invasive species. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a great list of invasive plants to avoid. The problem with these plants is they crowd out the native species that are good for pollinators.

If you want Monarch butterflies, plant milkweed for the caterpillars.

7) Plant for all phases of life. If you want Monarch butterflies in your garden, plant milkweed. It’s the only plant the caterpillars can eat. If you want blue swallowtails, lay out a buffet of parsley for caterpillars.

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About Tom McKusick 30 Articles
It is the mission of MSHS to serve Northern gardeners through education, encouragement, and community. Through a variety of educational programs, classes and conferences, and by publishing an award-winning magazine, Northern Gardener, MSHS helps its members and the general public to be better gardeners in USDA plant hardy Zones 3, 4 and 5. MSHS’ plant donation network, Minnesota Green, started in 1988, serves the greening efforts of volunteer gardeners throughout the state. Minnesota Green promotes grassroots efforts to revitalize communities by coordinating the donation and distribution of nurseries and greenhouse’s flowers and trees to be planted in public spaces statewide. MSHS was formed in 1866, as an association of fruit growers who took on the challenge of growing apples and other fruits in a northern climate. Two years later, the association became the Minnesota State Horticultural Society to recognize the importance of all phases of horticulture development in rural and urban Minnesota. In 1873, the Minnesota Legislature approved an act providing for the publication and distribution of 2000 copies of all the transactions of the society. 1894 marked the birth of one of the longest continually published horticultural magazines in the country: Northern Gardener, formerly known as Minnesota Horticulturist.