Add native plants to your garden and you can attract more pollinators which can help with the pollination of your *cash* crops…you know, the vegetable and fruit plants that we all love to grow to provide fresh additions to our meals.
An added benefit is that many pollinating wasp species are also predators or parasitoids of insects that may be considered pests in other areas of your garden such as Tomato Hornworm or grubs and mole crickets in your lawn area.
Surround your vegetable garden with a border of native plants which host butterflies, moths and beetles…all effective pollinators and you might just see an increase in the production of your edibles.
Thynnid Wasp (Myzinum sp.) on SLENDER FLATTOP GOLDENROD (Euthamia caroliniana), a Florida Native Plant. Larvae are parasitoids of white grubs so can be used in biological control.
Giving pollinators an head start, bright pink flowers greet you before the leaves develop each spring on the eastern redbud tree. Attains a height of 25-30 ft. making it a perfect specimen for a smaller garden.
Larval host: Henry’s elfin (Callophrys henrici) and io moth (Automeris io). Popular with bees.
Learn more: http://www.fnps.org/plants/plant/cercis-canadensis
Amorpha fruticosa (BASTARD FALSE INDIGO) is a deciduous shrub with lacey leaves. It can be used as a specimen, screen, hedge, or background plant growing to a height of 6-12ft.
Larval host for butterfly: southern dogface (Zerene cesonia), gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus), and silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
Learn planting conditions: http://www.fnps.org/plants/plant/amorpha-fruticosa
Bring in the bees by trying one of the many varieties of Florida Native Goldenrod as a backdrop to your pollinator garden. The birds will chime in when the seeds set.
Hint: Goldenrod is probably not the cause of your sneezing since ragweed, which blooms at the same time, has the high pollen count that causes allergic reactions.
Learn varieties and planting conditions: http://www.fnps.org/plants/plant/solidago-stricta
Blue Dasher Dragonfly rests on coastalplain staggerbush
Want Dragonflies? Pollinators? Along with a water source, Lyonia (Lyonia spp.) shrubs provide perfect habitat as landing areas and nectar source. Good cover for mammals. A slow growing small tree or shrub. Bell shaped flowers with evergreen leaves that have a dusting of a rust coloring providing interesting foliage.
Learn planting conditions: http://www.fnps.org/plants/plant/lyonia-fruticosa
Robins in dahoon holly tree, a Florida Native Plant
Want Robins? How about other songbirds? DAHOON HOLLY (Ilex cassine) tree will entice them. Good cover for mammals and birds will nest, including mockingbirds, grackles, cardinals and others.
Berries feed songbirds and other wildlife
Flowers popular with pollinators. dioecious; make sure you have at least one male plant in the vicinity to produce berries on the females
dahoon holly, a Florida native plant provides excellent coverage for nesting birds, such as this mockingbird
Learn planting conditions: http://www.fnps.org/plants/plant/ilex-cassine
Photo © Jenny Welch
Pick a species based on moisture considerations. Beautiful wildflower garden backdrop.
Wildlife interaction: Flowers attract native bees and other pollinators. Seeds may be eaten by songbirds.
also known as GAYFEATHER.
Learn more: http://www.fnps.org/plants/plant/liatris-spp