Go native during national gardening week
Happy National Gardening Week. ATC encourages you to get your hands dirty and plant some pollinator-friendly plants this week!
What exactly are pollinator-friendly plants? They can be flowering plants, trees and shrubs that provide nutrient-rich nectar or serve as host plants for caterpillars. Native plants, however, are the most important ones since pollinators co-evolved with native plants. With native pollinator populations in decline, you can help by planting a few native pollinator-friendly plants in your yard.
If you want to plant for pollinators, think in threes.
- Plant a minimum of 3 varieties of flowering plants to ensure you attract several pollinator species. Common spiderwort is a favorite of bees, while the Turk’s cap lily is favored by hummingbirds and butterflies. Attractive to bees, butterflies and birds are columbine, coneflowers, blazing stars and lupine.
- Aim for blooms across 3 seasons – spring, summer and fall. Be sure to include milkweed for summer as monarch butterflies only lay their eggs on their leaves. Butterfly weed with its bright orange flowers, is a great choice.
- Use at least 3 types of native plants in your landscape. Include flowers, woody plants (e.g., New Jersey tea) and grasses (e.g., little bluestem),to provide forage, cover and places to raise young.