Many food plants depend on visits from the birds and the bees to transfer pollen and ensure good crops. We can do our part to correct declining pollinator populations by choosing their favorite plants and eliminating insecticides in our landscapes.
The shape of a flower, the scent, the colors and even the time they bloom are all strategies that have evolved to attract specific types of pollinators. For example, because hummingbirds have long pointed beaks and long brush-like tongues, they prefer deep, tubular flowers. Hummingbirds also prefer red, orange and white flowers. Butterflies like bright-colored flowers, including red and purple. Some species like a place to land so they prefer broad, flat flowers, with a faint but fresh scent. Bees like bright-colored flowers, including white, yellow and blue, with sweet scents. As for flower shapes, bees can access pollen and nectar from flowers of almost any shape.
I took these tips from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to guide my backyard garden plantings:
Pollinators’ favorite plants in my garden:
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