Planting a pollinator-friendly garden isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. While it’s true that a garden filled with butterflies, bumblebees, and hummingbirds is pretty picturesque, there are so many extra benefits to pollinator-friendly garden design. Pollinators play an essential role in our ecosystem, and several plants rely on pollinators so they can reproduce through releasing seeds. This provides us with edible fruits and vegetables, and without the help of our winged friends stopping by to snack on plant nectar, food production would plummet. In fact, if all pollinators were wiped out, we’d end up losing 75% of the earth’s edible crops.
Attract pollinators to your yard by planting their favorite flowers and discontinuing the use of products that are harmful to them, and you’ll help maintain the natural balance of our ecosystem here in Florida. Sounds kind of amazing, right? It’s a win-win all around—you’ll have a booming vegetable patch, and the local wildlife will be well-fed too. Plus, who doesn’t love a garden full of fragrant, colorful flowers?
Visitors To Expect In Your Pollinator-Friendly Garden
Bees are definitely taking the lead when it comes to pollinating. Bumblebees, arguably one of the cutest bugs ever, are particularly good at pollinating because their fuzzy coats pick up pollen like a suede couch picks up cat hair.
Birds, especially hummingbirds, like to drink nectar from tubular flowers and end up spreading tons of pollen along the way.
Butterflies are always welcome visitors to the yard, and there are so many colorful varieties in Fort Lauderdale. The iconic Monarch is a favorite for many, but its populations have been declining, so encouraging them to breed in your yard will help make a positive difference!
Moths and Bats do most of their work at night, and they help pollinate flowers that stay open at night. We particularly love to plant white night-blooming flowers, because they reflect the light of the moon and seem to glow.
Flies might not seem like a bug we’d want to keep around, but they really do have a significant impact on pollination, especially for fruit trees.
Pollinator-Friendly Flowers To Plant In Fort Lauderdale
If you plant these fragrant flowers in your yard, you’ll be sure to generate some buzz among the local wildlife! Especially the bees.
Monarda, aptly nicknamed “Bee Balm,” is a shrub perennial with bright, wacky blossoms that resemble fireworks. The bees can’t resist their bright colors and delicious scent, reminiscent of bergamot orange.
Milkweed is a staple in the diet of the monarch butterfly, and their young depend on it for survival in their early stages. When you plant these butterfly-friendly shrubs perennials throughout your yard, it can make a big impact in protecting the monarch population, and luckily it grows quite easily here in Fort Lauderdale.
Coneflowers have big, bulbous centers that are loaded with pollen, and super easy for pollinators to access. Plus, they have wide, flat petals that butterflies and bees can perch on to rest.
Thyme has a scent and flavor that we can’t get enough of, and many pollinators seem to agree. It produces lovely purple flowers and makes an excellent groundcover plant for filling in gaps in the garden, or between paving stones.
Columbine has such a distinct and beautiful look—it’s kind of like a flower within another flower! The bi-colored varieties are especially eye-catching, and they grab the attention of local pollinators as well.
Coral Honeysuckle is a native species in Fort Lauderdale, and it’s one of the most popular food sources for hummingbirds, as well as many other bird species. Since it grows here naturally, it won’t be difficult to maintain.
Salvia makes a great addition to a pollinator garden because it has flowers shaped like wine flutes, full of floral nectar that hummingbirds love sipping. Opt for a red-colored variety, because hummingbirds seem to love that color the most.
Bonus Tips For A Bee-Friendly Garden
Making your yard attractive for pollinators is one thing, but there are a few other things to keep in mind, to help make it a safe and inviting space for them to live.
Go Chemical-Free: This is perhaps the most important part of maintaining a safe landscape that won’t endanger local wildlife. Many chemical insecticides and weed-killers have been directly linked to declining populations in bees, butterflies, and many other beneficial insects. If pest or weed control is an issue you’re facing, use some of the many natural or organic products available that don’t pose a threat to beneficial wildlife.
Leave The Dandelions: We know many gardeners are hesitant to let this weed spread through their yards, but they’re one of the first available food sources in the spring for hungry bees. At the very least, don’t use chemical weed killers on them—just pluck them yourself if you’d prefer a dandelion-free yard.
Plant Species Native To Florida: If a pollinator sees a plant it recognizes from the wild, it will be much more likely to visit. While we do love to plant tropical flowers from different exotic locations in the world, they aren’t as attractive to our wildlife, so native species are garden staples, too. Plus, they’re much easier to take care of since they’re accustomed to our climate and can grow on their own without much intervention.
Install a Water Feature: Water features accent your landscape and provide a fresh water source that will help keep the local critters hydrated too—and we all know how thirsty you can get after a long day out in the hot Florida sun.
Include Some Taller Ornamental Grasses And Plants: While it’s tempting to keep your landscape neatly manicured and even, having some bushier, shaggier spots will be more appealing to beneficial insects looking for a place to lay eggs. Adding in ornamental grasses and bushier plants is an excellent way to keep getting the best of both worlds—a landscape that doesn’t look unkempt, but has enough texture and shaded spots for pollinators to nest.
We have so many different fragrant, flowering plants and shrubs here at Living Color Garden Center, sure to attract all sorts of beautiful winged creatures. Visit us today, and we’ll help you pick out the best plant varieties to transform your yard into a little wildlife sanctuary.