Pollinators such as butterflies and bees fuel up on sweet nectar from flowers. As they feed, pollen sticks to them, and they spread it from flower to flower. This helps the plants make seeds and fruit.
Plants and their pollinators make perfect pairs, but sometimes they need a little help finding each other. Why not create a “pollination station” in your neighborhood where they can meet up? Just plant some of the pollinators’ favorite flowers in your yard, or in pots on your patio or balcony.
Pollinators are picky about what plants they will visit, and many plants are picky about where they will grow. It’s always best to choose plants that are native to your area. Here are some tips to help you get your garden growing:
Bees prefer yellow, blue, and purple flowers with lots of nectar and a sweet smell. Examples are: mint, thyme, lavender, and bee balm.
Hummingbirds go for red, orange, and purple tube-shaped flowers with lots of nectar. No need for a landing pad (they hover) or odor (they don’t have a strong sense of smell). Examples are: fuschia, nasturtium, scarlet runner bean, and cardinal flower.
Butterflies like brightly colored flowers (red, orange, yellow, pink, blue) with flat landing pads. Examples are: purple coneflower, milkweed, zinnia, cosmos, and marigold.
Moths fly at night, so they are attracted to white or pale-colored flowers that are open after dark. Examples are: evening primrose, yucca, and moonflower.
Some kinds of bats in the Southwest also look for night-blooming, light-colored flowers. These nectar-eaters seek out strong, fruity odors. Examples are: cactus, agave, and banana.