Pollinators are important to every garden, farm, and natural space across the country. According to Pollinator Partnership, a California nonprofit that works to protect the pollinating animals vital to our North American ecosystems and agriculture, “abundant and healthy populations of pollinators can improve fruit set and quality, and increase fruit size. In farming situations this increases production per acre. In the wild, biodiversity increases and wildlife food sources increase.”
When most people think of pollination, they think of bees and butterflies, but there are many other animal species that are important pollinators, including beetles, moths, flies, hummingbirds, and some species of bats. As gardeners and farmers, we can encourage pollinator populations by providing not only the crop plants that we need pollinated, but other nectar and pollen rich plants that are vital to the health of these species.
Pollinator Partnership provides great free regional planting guides to help gardeners and farmers to learn about the plants that are most beneficial to pollinator species in their area. Included in each guide is 1) a chart of plant traits that attract specific types of pollinators, detailing such things as flower color, pollen type, scent, and flower shapes that are most likely to meet the needs of a specific pollinator; 2) a chart of various regional plants and the pollinators that they attract, and 3) the bloom periods for these various plants.
To find the free regional planting guide for pollinators in your area, visit www.pollinator.org/guides.htm.