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Monarda punctata flower with bumble bee

Create A Pollinator’s Paradise

 

When you hear the word “pollinator,” what comes to mind? Honeybees? Butterflies? How about flies? Wasps? Hummingbirds? Bats?

Bee on flower

The diversity of pollinators is amazing. By using the principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping in my yard, I’ve been lucky enough to see pollinators that I didn’t even know existed!

But, in reality, it’s not about luck at all…

It’s about planting with a purpose.

 

A variety of bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, and flies of different sizes and shapes visit a diverse array of flowers

Top row, left to right: Fiery skipper on climbing aster, bumblebee on Tithonia, delta flower scarabs on passionflower, a green sweat bee on Texas sage. Bottom row, L-R: Leafcutter bee on basil, Hoverfly on fleabane, black-winged dahana moth on sweet almondbush, beneficial Scoliid wasp on Rudbeckia

 

Following the Florida-Friendly Landscaping principles can help bring your landscape to life. Using the right plants for your site conditions, managing pests responsibly, and creating vibrant, functional habitat… if you build it, they will come!

(BONUS: Many of these pollinators perform helpful garden services in return, like providing beneficial pest-patrols!)

Syrphid fly larva hunting aphids

Above: A hoverfly larva eating aphids. Adult hoverflies spend their days visiting flowers. In my yard, the flowers that attract the most hoverflies are small, white or yellow, and prolific, such as fleabane (Erigeron sp.), scorpiontail, Yaupon holly, and sweet alyssum, etc.

 

In honor of National Pollinator Week, I’ve compiled a few pollinator-related tips & resources below. Just a few ways to help bring life to your landscape & community!

 

TIPS –

 

  • Provide sources of nectar & pollen throughout the year.

 

      • NOTE: This doesn’t mean you need to find plants that can bloom all year long! In fact, very few plants can bloom non-stop, while still providing high-quality nectar & pollen resources. Instead, look to include a variety of different plants in your landscape (and around your neighborhood) that will take turns blooming seasonally throughout the year.

Collage showing a seasonal rotation of blooms

 

  • Provide habitat & refuge.

 

      • NOTE: This could include vertical layers of vegetation (like trees & shrubs), patches of bare, sandy ground for ground-nesting bees, branches, stems, and dead wood for cavity-nesters, bat houses, and more….

Insect nesting in hollow stem

 

  • Minimize the use of pesticides in your landscape and community.

 

      • Follow the Florida-Friendly Landscaping principle of “right plant, right place.” It will help keep your plants in better health, making them less prone to pests.

 

      • When pests arrive, be sure to identify them correctly, and determine whether any action is necessary. Some pests will only cause minor cosmetic damage, and will typically be controlled by beneficial insects – i.e. the “good bugs” – if you let them! Others can typically be controlled by targeted methods that avoid impacts on non-target beneficial organisms like pollinators. (HINT: Your local UF/IFAS Extension office can help!)

 

The new growth of this firebush was heavily infested with aphids. (Note the curled leaves and shiny honeydew?) BUT – put away the insecticides and have no fear – the “good guys” are already on the scene! (Photo credit – F. Galdo – UF/IFAS)

 

      • Encourage your community to adopt Florida-Friendly Landscaping practices to help reduce over-reliance on pesticides, fertilizers, and irrigation. For more info on how to achieve this, check out the great resources below!

Pollinator / good bug research plot on a golf course

 

Excellent resources, just for you!

 

Q: How can I help my community become a little more “pollinator-friendly?”

 

A: The Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program has created a set of tools specifically to align the Florida-Friendly Landscaping concepts with an HOA community’s deed restrictions. That way, you can keep your community looking great, while supporting pollinators too!

 

 

Q: We’d like to hire a landscaping company that will protect pollinators & follow Florida-Friendly Landscaping Principles. What should we look for or ask about?

 

A: The FFL Program has developed several helpful resources to make it easier to hire landscape professionals who have been trained in Florida-Friendly Landscaping / Green Industries Best Management Practices.

 

 

Looking for more information?

Whether you want to attract hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, or bats, check out these hand-picked guides for helping to create a pollinator paradise –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abundant miniature sunflowers alongside feathery fern fronds Fuzzy bumblebee on fragrant aster flower Tiny berries clustered around beautyberry stem Bumble bee in flight approaching a cluster of firebush flowers

 

 

 

Plant Selection Guides

And of course, no matter what your landscaping goal, the key to success is matching “right plant, right place!” Here are a couple of helpful plant selection guides to put you on a path to success:

The Florida Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design (pdf) – https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/media/fflifasufledu/docs/FYN_Plant_Selection_Guide_2015.pdf

 

FFL Online Plant Selection Guide – https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/

 

Florida Native Plant Society Plant Selection Guide – https://www.fnps.org/plants

 

Waterwise Plant Selection Database – http://publicserver2.sjrwmd.com/waterwise/search.jsp

 

 

Feathery pink plumes of muhly grass sway in the breezeTiny flowers and berries line the drooping branch of Yaupon holly.


About UF/IFAS Extension: UF/IFAS Extension serves as a source of non-biased, research-based information for the residents, businesses, and communities of Florida, providing educational materials and programs for adults and youth. We bring UF to you.

 

(Not in Pasco County? Not a problem! Click here to find your local UF/IFAS Extension office!)


About the Author: As the Florida Friendly Landscaping (FFL) Program Coordinator in Pasco County, Frank works with the residents, homebuilders, and businesses of Pasco to help create attractive landscapes that DON’T require a lot of water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Through an innovative collaboration with Pasco County Utilities, the Pasco County FFL Program also provides on-site troubleshooting assistance to individuals and communities identified as high water users. His motto is – Less guesswork, better landscapes.” Frank can be reached at fgaldo@ufl.edu

 

Thirsty for more FFL knowledge? Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Have an idea for a future post? Let me know at fgaldo@ufl.edu

 

UF/IFAS Extension Is An Equal Opportunity Institution.

 

 

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