What would we do without pollinators? These tiny creatures, the bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, mosquitos, etc. are critical to our ecosystem and way of life. Without pollinators, we wouldn’t have tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, or squash. So how do we attract these important critters? It’s simple. Plant what they like to eat.
To Attract Butterflies experts suggest planting a wide variety of flowers. Try planting Mexican Sunflower, Yarrow, Butterfly Weed, or Salvia. Other good options are Black-Eyed Susan, Coneflowers, or Phlox. And if those don’t fit your fancy, you could go with the ever-trusty pot Marigold, Wildflowers, or Heliotrope.
In addition to planting a variety of flowers in your garden, you can also prepare a place for the butterflies to “puddle,” where they can get the critical minerals they need. To do this, fill a shallow dish or pan with sand then saturate the sand with water. You can even put a few rocks in there where the butterflies can land. Put the puddler in a sunny protected place so the butterflies can sunbathe in the early morning sun before they get off on their way. Also, be sure to position the puddler in a place you can watch these amazing creatures!
To Attract Bees to your garden try planting blue, white, yellow, and purple flowers. Some common flowers bees like are bee balm, Purple Coneflower, Dill, Mint, and Sunflowers. We have a variety of Wildflower Mixes specially designed to attract bees. You could also consider putting a bee box in your yard near your garden as a place for the bees to stay long-term. As with butterflies, bees can also benefit from having a place to get a drink, so putting a shallow dish of water near your garden with maybe a few rocks or twigs for landing zones for the bees can help. Avoid using pesticides in your garden, as these are toxic for bees (and butterflies too).
To Attract Hummingbirds remember the color red. Hummingbirds love the color red, so have red decorations in your garden and plant red flowers for them (like the Salvia - Red Hot Sally II or Poppy Power Pollinator Seed Mix). Hummingbirds also like orange, pink, or purple blooms, so Columbine, Mixed Color Morning Glory, and Hibiscus are good choices.
Like bees, hummingbirds also like Salvia. You can fill a hummingbird feeder with sugar water made with 1 part sugar and 4 parts water. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Be sure to not put any dye in the water for your hummingbirds, as this can be harmful to them. Nectar in the wild is clear, so the food you give them should also be clear. Hang this in a place you can readily see and admire these tiny wonders as they pause to get a drink.
As we protect and take care of our pollinators, they will take care of us. Not only are they critical to our way of life, but they are so really fun to watch as well.