What You Need to Know About Pollinators: How They Can Help Your Garden and Help You

What You Need to Know About Pollinators: How They Can Help Your Garden and Help You

Have you been seeing bees and other pollinators around your flowering plants? Though pollinators may seem like pests that are bothering your flowers and buzzing around your outdoor living space, they are essential to the health of your plants, and for your health as well. 


Pollinators are animals that fertilize plants. Insects, birds, and even a few mammals such as bats and monkeys can be classified as pollinators. These animals carry seeds or pollen from the male structures of flowers to the female structures of the same plant, which allows the plant to reproduce. This process of pollination allows plant populations to flourish and reproduce naturally, and allows the pollinator to receive nectar that gives them vital nutrients. Without adequate pollination, plants wouldn’t be able to produce for themselves or reproduce for future generations of plants, and pollinators wouldn’t be able to survive. 


Some pollinators, especially bees or other insects, can seem like an annoyance that you need to get rid of. These animals are only trying to gain necessary nutrition for themselves and pollinate your plants, and will not harm or bother you if you offer them that same courtesy. Pollinators are of vital importance to healthy ecosystems. Without pollinators, we would not have access to three quarters of our major, and most healthy, food crops. Pollination is responsible for the growth and production of most of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts that we consume. Experts estimate that the ecological service of pollinators is valued at $200 billion a year in the United States. We need pollinators in order to produce some of our most vital food crops and we also need them to sustain the beautiful plants in our environment. 


If you want to do your part to promote pollination, consider adding some of these beautiful plants to your garden!

Perennials that Attract Butterflies

  • Achillea-Yarrow
  • Agastache – Hyssop
  • Asclepias tuberose – Butterfly Weed
  • Buddleia – Butterfly Bush
  • Echinacea – Coneflower
  • Eupatorium – Joe Pye Weed
  • Liatris – Gayfeather

Perennials that Attract Hummingbirds

  • Aquilegia – Columbine
  • Campanula – Bellflower
  • Lonicera – Honeysuckle Vine
  • Heuchera – Coralbells

Annuals that Attract Butterflies

  • Cosmos
  • Heliotrope
  • Lantana

Annuals that Attract Hummingbirds

  • Fuschia
  • Lantana
  • Mandeville

For a list of midwest pollinator plants, click here

Pollinators may seem like a nuisance that needs to be exterminated from our gardens, but they actually provide necessary support for maintaining a healthy ecosystem, and a beautiful outdoor living space.


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