Pollinators: What’s the buzz?

Pollinators: What’s the buzz?

Pollinators are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of food we eat! Pollinators—butterflies, bees, and moths—also help repopulate plants and add diversity to the environment, making an ecosystem more resilient. Unfortunately, pollinators are in decline. Gardeners are crucial to helping reverse this trend. The simple action of sowing seeds is powerful. It can create habitats that protect and feed pollinators, strengthening their population.

4 “P”s of Pollinator-Friendly Gardening

Plant flowers: Provide food for pollinators by sowing flowers, especially native varieties.
Plant diversity: Plant a diversity of bloom times, colors, and heights. By staggering bloom times, you provide a reason for pollinators to call your garden home throughout the growing season. Some pollinators are very small and need very small, open flowers in order to access the pollen or nectar. Sow a diversity of flower shapes and sizes, usually simpler (vs. double petal) varieties of flowers work for more species.
Provide water: In your water feature, create small islands with stones where pollinators can land, and climb in and out.
Pass on pesticides: Look for organic ways to block pests, disrupt their life cycle, and invite their predators. Integrated Pest Management (IMP) techniques utilize simpler solutions, such as using a fabric row cover to block pests. Sowing varieties like alyssum or allowing dill to flower, both attract beneficial and predatory insects.

Help Monarch Butterflies

In particular, Monarch butterfly populations have dropped by 90% in recent years. Researchers believe the decline is due to several key factors: milkweed plants are more scarce (a crucial food source for monarch caterpillars), habitat loss including nectar plants for adults, and pesticide use. Monarch butterflies travel an average of 3,000 miles during their annual migration—that takes a lot of energy!

You can increase their habitats by sowing diverse plants that flower specifically during migration. Be sure to include milkweed. Milkweed is the only food plant for monarch caterpillars. Adding native flowering plants will generally provide the highest quality nectar and will the easiest for you to care grow. . Perennials can take a year to flower, unless started indoors very early (10 to 12 weeks before your average last spring frost) and 3 to 5 years to achieve their full size, so integrating some annuals into the mix will provide nectar in the meantime. Deadheading (removing spent blooms) can extend the flowering period of many plants.

Which milkweed is best for my region?
Botanical Interests offers four milkweed varieties: Butterfly Milkweed, Irresistable Blend, Showy, and Common. Check the maps below to find which variety is native to your region.

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Allium Nodding Onion Seeds

Showers of lavender-pink raindrops, edible, and water-wise. NATIVE.

Item #1801

$ 2.69

Alyssum Basket of Gold Compacta Seeds

Wonderful water-wise groundcover with dense clusters of golden-yellow, early spring flowers.

Item #1077

$ 1.79

Aster China Aster Blend HEIRLOOM Seeds

These delightful daisy-like flowers are a treat for the eyes with blooms that open to reveal a stunning range of colors.

Item #1300

$ 1.69

Bachelor's Button Black Magic HEIRLOOM Seeds

Black (deep maroon) flowers are magical when paired with blue or yellow flowers.

Item #1075

$ 1.79

Bachelor's Button Blue Boy HEIRLOOM Seeds

Sky blue flowers make pretty cut or dried flowers and are a delight to honeybees.

Item #1002

$ 1.69

Bachelor's Button Dwarf Blend Organic HEIRLOOM Seeds

"Cute as a button" purple, light blue, pink and white flowers for the front of the border.

Item #2002

$ 1.99

Balsam Camellia Flowered HEIRLOOM Seeds

Beautiful columns of color; an old-fashioned Victorian favorite adding cheer to sun-challenged areas.

Item #1298

$ 1.69

Bean Pole Runner Scarlet Emperor HEIRLOOM Seeds

75 days. Large sprays of brilliant red flowers and sweet, tasty pods. Attracts hummingbirds and pollinators.

Item #0244

$ 2.39

Bee Balm Lambada Seeds

A garden treasure of delightful lavender flower clusters with mint/basil scented leaves.

Item #1085

$ 2.69

Beneficial Insect Welcome Seed Collection

Hang out the welcome sign for hard working insects that control pests, with these attractive, blooming plants.

Item #4554

$ 18.00

Bishops Flower White Lace Seeds

This delicate white flower will lend a lacy, airy look to your garden and attract butterflies.

Item #1145

$ 1.69

Black Eyed Susan Vine HEIRLOOM Seeds

Vigorous vine with charming orange, yellow, and white flowers. Groundcover, screen, or hanging basket.

Item #1119

$ 1.99

Bluebells California Bluebells Seeds

Vibrant blue flowers bloom in spring providing splashes of eyecatching color. Native to the southwestern U.S.

Item #1108

$ 1.79

Broom Corn Amish Rainbow Blend Organic HEIRLOOM Seeds

The ultimate fall decoration, broom material, and treat for the birds!

Item #2006

$ 2.99

Butterfly Banquet Seed Collection

Attract butterflies to your garden with these varieties that provide food for our fluttery friends!

Item #4534

$ 18.50

Butterfly Collection Eastern Breeze

Butterflies will flock to your garden with this collection of nectar and host plants native to the eastern U.S.

Item #4561

$ 7.95

Butterfly Collection Midwest Flutter

Create a butterfly haven with this collection of host and nectar plants native to the Midwest.

Item #4563

$ 7.95

Butterfly Collection Western Glide

Observe the Monarch butterfly life cycle with this collection of host and nectar plants native to western U.S.

Item #4565

$ 7.95

Butterfly Flower Common Milkweed Seeds

Lovely pink flowers provide nectar and habitat for monarch butterflies, their caterpillars, & other pollinators. NATIVE

Item #1319

$ 1.99

Butterfly Flower Irresistible Milkweed Blend HEIRLOOM Seeds

Clusters of pink and white flowers with a soft vanilla scent tempt butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects.

Item #1243

$ 1.99

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