- Tina Barta
Pollinator Gardens/Landscapes: Why it’s important to have gardens that are bug-friendly
Florida landscapes are known for their bright colors and bold vegetation, and serious gardeners put in a lot of effort to keep theirs strong and beautiful. But did you know pollinators are actually one the most crucial factors in promoting a healthy garden? Pollinators are insects, such as butterflies and bees, that carry pollen from plant to plant, aiding in reproduction. More than 80 percent of flowering plants are pollinated in this way. Unfortunately, the bee and butterfly populations have been dwindling in recent years due to pesticides, disease, and habitat loss. This is why it is imperative you make your garden pollinator-friendly.
What can you do to support our pollinators?
Planting a wide variety of plants and shrubs that bloom at different times of the year is vital to maintaining a healthy ecosystem, and to help pollinators not only survive, but thrive. This provides the insects with a constant food source, ensuring a higher pollinator survival rate.
Consider using native plants in your garden. Native plants are already adapted to the climate and are more likely to supply adequate food and shelter to your neighborhood pollinators. Additionally, native plants are lower maintenance, requiring less watering and fertilizers than non-native plants, making your garden work for you rather than the other way around.
Plants to consider adding to your Florida garden
Milkweeds: Producing vibrant flowers in shades of orange and yellow, these plants are a favorite among butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. They are tolerant to drought and take minimal effort to maintain, making them excellent additions to any Florida garden.
Salvia: Salvia is part of the sage family with almost 1000 species of shrubs and flowers. In bright, flashy shades of purple, blue, and red, their long-lasting blooms attract bees and hummingbirds, as well as other pollinators.
Sunflowers: We’ve all seen these big, beautiful flowers, and adding a variety of sizes and colors to your landscape is particularly effective in attracting pollinators to your garden.
Coneflowers: Purple coneflowers attract butterflies and bees of all kinds with their sweet nectar. Native and tough, this plant is ideal in a pollinator-friendly Florida garden.
Zinnias: Zinnias typically come in shades of pink, red, and orange, and are known for their long-lasting blooms. They are one of the best annuals for attracting butterflies and are also drought-tolerant.
Creating your pollinator-friendly landscape
Pollinator gardens can be created in any shape or size, but to make sure yours is a success, you can follow a few rules of thumb.
Select a sunny, open area with good soil drainage.
Plan your garden with diversity in mind. Fifteen to twenty species.
Include flowers of varying sizes and colors.
Try to have at least three plant species blooming each season.
Include blue, purple, red, and yellow flowers to attract a wider variety of pollinators.
Avoid using pesticides in your gardens. Pull weeds by hand when necessary.
We want to create a safe place for our pollinators to work and live. It is important for us to be aware of the impact the insects around us have on our environment, and how our decisions affect their ability to survive. They work hard to keep our gardens alive, let’s do our part to do the same for them.
If you find yourself in need of a landscape makeover, reach out to the professionals at Barta Landscape Makeovers. We will create a pollinator-friendly piece of paradise that everyone can enjoy. Call us today at 321-749-2150.