Bringing pollinators to your garden is an important step in building a healthy landscape. Several pollinator plants such as anise hyssop, Walter’s viburnum, and chaste tree are excellent pollinator plants. Pollinators provide much needed ecosystem services and their presence should be encouraged whenever possible. Each of the following plants has unique characteristics which make them excellent attractors for pollinators throughout Florida.
Anise hyssop, is a perennial of the mint family that can be found in upland forested areas, plains and fields. This plant grows to two to four feet tall and is noted for its summer bloom of lavender to purple spiked flowers and its fragrant foliage. It is best grown in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. This plant performs well in moist soils, but good soil drainage is essential. In order to properly manage anise hyssop e sure to remove spent flowers to promote additional blooms that will encourage pollinators to forage in the landscape.
Walter’s viburnum makes for an excellent hedge plant, this Florida native features a cluster of small white flowers in spring that attract butterflies, and its fall fruit attract birds and other wildlife. It’s also a favorite nesting site for cardinals and other songbirds. Walter’s viburnum prefers full or partial sun and will tolerate a range of different soil types. This is a low-maintenance plant and highly drought-tolerant, but it can produce root suckers, therefore, regular pruning is a practice that can enhance growth and maturity.
Chaste tree features sage-scented gray-green leaves. This tree has several cultivars which offer a choice in flower color. One variety ‘Alba’ have white flowers which bloom in clusters while another variety ‘Rosea’ has bright showy pink flowers. Chaste tree has a strong ability to attract wildlife. Although not a Florida native species, native butterflies and hummingbirds feed on the nectar. It is also attractive to bees and encourages honey production in surrounding hives. Leave the chaste tree room to grow, since this vase-shaped plant can grow up to 15 feet tall and up to 20 feet wide. These plants develop low, drooping branches when left unpruned. In your landscape this plant will grow best in well-drained soil where standing moisture is not present. Planting a pollinator attractor like chaste tree offers significant aesthetic value to a landscape while also providing valuable ecosystem services.