Sunflower with Bumblebees

As gardeners, we may take pollinators for granted until we have a year where our zucchini start to develop and then shrivel up, or our apples are badly misshapen, or no fruit develops at all. Our dependency on these little creatures cannot be overstated! To ensure adequate pollination, our garden is abundant with brightly colored flowers, attracting pollinators of all kinds. Numerous varieties of bees, butterflies, moths and flies do the bulk of the pollinating for us.

Providing a good food source and habitat is crucial for supporting our pollinators. Choose flowers that produce pollen, instead of pollen free hybrids or double bloomed flowers. A mix of varieties that bloom throughout the season will help provide a longer foraging season, as different bee species have different foraging times. Don’t forget early spring blooms, with bulbs and native woodland plants!

Monarch Butterfly on Liatris aspera

Monarch butterflies can feed on nectar from many types of flowers.

Monarch caterpillar on Butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa

Monarch caterpillars can only feed on plants in the milkweed family. Consider planting a milkweed species where the butterflies can lay their eggs

Mixed Annual flowers provide a food source for many pollinators

Annual flowers are Important too, with a caveat

Annual flowers can really beautify a vegetable garden, whether they are intermixed with vegetable and fruit plants or planted in the borders. Adding a bed for cut flowers to make bouquets is another way to add multifunctional purpose to your growing space. Not all flowers are created equal when it comes to producing pollen and nectar, so do some research if your goal is supporting pollinators. Avoid pollen less hybrids and double blooms. Always inquire with the nursery on whether neonicotinoids were used in the growing process. Neonicotinoids are systemic insecticides that affect all parts of the plant, including the pollen, putting pollinators are risk when they are used on plants that attract them.

Annual flowers that adorn Fremont Township Garden for Pollinators

  • Zinnias
  • Cosmos
  • Sunflowers
  • Dill
  • Calendula
  • Bachelor Buttons
  • Sages/Salvias
  • Mexican sunflower
  • Chamomile
  • Nicotiana
  • Alyssum

Perennials in Fremont Township Garden for Pollinators

  • Yarrow
  • Butterfly weed
  • Black eyed susans
  • Echinacea
  • Catmint
  • Asters
  • Anise hyssop
  • Bee balm
  • Clematis
  • Liatris