Flying pollinators are responsible for the majority of the reproduction of flowering plants and a large percentage of human food plants. Without pollinators, especially bees, our world would be bloom-less and our plates would have less food on them. In order to keep plant life growing strong we need a steady supply of flying pollinators, like bees, butterflies and birds. Certain plants attract and feed our pollinating friends and they in turn help to keep us fed. Spring and summer months provide plenty of nectar-rich plants to feed the bees, butterflies and birds, but in fall and winter the food sources are scare and many pollinators don’t survive. The main thing we can do to help increase the bee population, and other pollinating species, is to provide them with year around food sources. Plant and grow some of these attractive pollinating plants and the bees, butterflies and birds will thank you by keeping the vegetation growing strong in your garden.
Spring Pollinator Plants
Fruit trees provide a rich source of nectar for bees and other flying pollinators in the spring. Apple, cherry, peach, plum, etc., produce attractive and fragrant blooms in the spring and attract a variety of pollinators that will feed on the nectar and increase the tree’s fruit production.
Snowdrops and crocus are two of the earliest spring-blooming plants that produce nectar. Both of these pollinator plants will bloom when snow is still on the ground and provide bees with their first meal in spring.
Forsythia is a small shrub that produces a large volume of tiny, yellow nectar-rich blooms in early spring. Bees are extremely attracted to forsythia and the bush almost seems alive with all the movement taking place on it from the flying pollinators.
Summer Pollinator Plants
Bee Balm is fragrant, self-reproducing, blooms all summer and attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Purple coneflower and Black-eyed Susans are two other favorites of flying pollinators. Flat, open flower blooms are always favored by pollinators because the nectar is easier to reach inside the bloom and the open flower face provides an easy landing spot.
Fall Pollinator Plants
Autumn Joy sedum, alyssum and basil are three garden favorites that bees will come to in droves during the fall when few other plants are blooming. Allow a few basil plants to go to seed in the herb garden so the herb plant will produce fall flowers.