|Indian Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)|
There are 6 families of bees...each with numerous species...in Florida that work as pollinators for native plants, food production and in our gardens.
I wanted to find out more about making my own garden a little more bee-friendly, so I did a little research. If you're interested in having a more diversified, wildlife-friendly garden here are some tips that will make your garden an inviting bit of paradise to our Florida pollinators:
#2 - Grow local native plants. Add a variety of native plants to all areas of your garden. Studies have shown that native plants are four times more likely to attractive native bees.
#3 - Plant blue, purple, white and yellow flowers. These colors are most appealing to bees and will attract a larger number of pollinators to the garden. Choose a variety of plants for blooms in all four seasons.
#4 - Choose flowers with different shapes - Generally, single flowers attract more bees than double petals which don't produce as much pollen and nectar. But long-tongued bees and bumblebees love to dine on tubular shaped flowers...to ensure that you provide food for a variety of bees, plant flowers with a variety of shapes.
#5 - Place bee-loving plants in clumps. Planting clumps of one species together will attract more bees than placing a single plant in different places around the garden.
#6 - Provide year-round blooms. Make sure you have flowers in your garden year round, especially in winter.
#7 - Be a little less tidy in the garden - Bees need natural materials to construct nests. Leave dried grasses through the winter and small brush piles hidden in the garden for this purpose. Also, leave some unmulched ground so that ground-nesting bees can construct their nests.
I noticed this past summer that two particular plants in my garden...liriope (both Big Blue and Evergreen Giant), and Moss Rose were attracting large number of bees on a regular basis. Also, the native mallow (most people would call it a weed) that I let grow in parts of my backyard while it's blooming (photo on right) is another favorite.
What plants in your garden are the bees most attracted to?