In the flowering plant life cycle, pollinators play a crucial role in their success. Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, flies and wasps are some of the important pollinators. Sadly, the population of these pollinators is declining quickly with the use of chemicals, diseases, pollution and diminishing open space. Gardeners can have a positive influence by planting plants that will help these pollinators flourish.
What is Pollination?
The process by which plant pollen is transferred from the male reproductive organs to the female reproductive organs to form seeds. In flowering plants, pollen is transferred from the anther to the stigma, often by the wind or by insects. In cone-bearing plants, male cones release pollen that is usually borne by the wind to the ovules of female cones. Some plants can self-pollinate, others must cross-pollinate such as shown in the illustration to the left. Occasionally a male and female plant is required for pollination to occur.
Pollinators can get pollen from single bloom flowers much more easily because their nectaries are exposed. Petals of double bloom varieties often block the flower’s nectary, making it difficult to navigate.
Provide shelter for nesting and egg-laying, such as:
Not all pollinators see colour the same as we do, like honey bees for example. You can help them by choosing flowers that have white, yellow, blue or purple flowers. This will help them spot resources in your garden more easily! Pollinators will also go crazy for aromatic flowers, such as lavender and all the herbs known!
If you must use a pesticide, choose one that is the least toxic to non-pest species, does not persist on the leaves, and apply it in the evening or early morning when most pollinators are not active.
Plants that Attract Butterflies
Plants that Attract Butterfly larvae (Caterpillars)
Plants that Attract Hummingbirds
Plants that Attract Bees