Pollinators are facing serious threats in today’s world. Habitat destruction, pesticide use, and climate change are just a few of the factors that have directly affected wild pollinator species and their populations over the last several decades. But there’s good news: you can help support pollinators in your garden! In this article, we’ll discuss some ways you can help keep your garden humming with activity from bees, butterflies, and other insects that play an important role in our ecosystem.
What are pollinators?
Pollinators are insects that carry pollen from one flower to another. They are essential for the survival of many plants, responsible for the production of many food crops, and are responsible for the production of many of the world’s commercial crops.
The most common pollinators include bees and butterflies, but moths also play a major role in pollination. Other animals like bats and birds also contribute to pollination, as do wind and water currents.
What are the drought-friendly pollinators?
To be a drought-friendly pollinator, an insect must have the following traits:
- It is native to your area.
- It has a long bloom period and many blooms per plant.
- Its flowers are open for a long time during the day or night (depending on what kind of pollinator it is).
- Its flower color blends in with its environment so that predators cannot see it as easily.
How does drought affect pollinators?
Drought can have a major effect on pollinators. Drought affects their food supply and habitat, breeding, foraging, and ultimately their health and survival.
- Food Supply – Flowering plants provide most of the nectar that pollinators need to survive. A lack of rainfall means less water is available to plants; therefore they produce fewer flowers or no flowers at all! This can lead to a reduction in the diversity of species that are available as resources for pollination services (diverse habitats provide more food sources). Some species will be able to adapt by migrating closer to water sources whereas others may die off completely if conditions do not improve soon enough (such as bees who stay too long after mating season with no access to new pollen sources).
- Habitat – Pollinators require intact natural areas where they can find suitable nesting places so they’re not exposed while searching for food sources or mates during times when there aren’t any other options available nearby–this would make it difficult for them to survive long-term because there wouldn’t be enough food coming back into those areas over time which could lead them towards extinction over time unless something changes.
How to make a pollinator garden?
When it comes to pollinators, there are a few key things you need to consider before planting your garden. First and foremost, find a sunny spot where you can plant your flowers and herbs. If possible, try to choose an area that gets at least six hours of sunlight each day. Making sure your plants get enough sun will ensure that they thrive and grow strong.
Secondly, keep your garden as weed free as possible by mulching regularly and keeping the soil moist whenever possible (especially when temperatures rise). Weeds compete with pollinator flowers for nutrients in the soil which means less food for bees and other insects who rely on pollen from flowering plants for survival.
Thirdly, Planting different types of flowers will help keep bees from becoming bored or stressed out by having too much competition between species during one visit (which could lead them away). A diverse collection of bee-friendly blossoms—like lavender, clematis vine or even mint—will help provide both nectar sources (the sweet liquid stored inside petals) as well as pollen sources (tiny grains produced by male catkins).
Fourthly, Don’t use pesticides! Pesticides kill insects indiscriminately – including the good ones that pollinate our food crops! Opt for natural pest control methods instead like ladybugs or praying mantis egg cases that you can buy at your local garden center (and then release into your yard).
Install nesting boxes around your yard so bees will have somewhere safe to live and lay eggs during times.
How to keep pollinators happy and healthy in drought
If you’re in a drought, you might be tempted to think the best thing you can do for your garden is let it dry out. That’s not the case! In fact, if you are struggling with water shortages and looking for ways to conserve what little water is available for your plants and animals, consider these tips:
- Water early in the day or evening so that plants have enough time to absorb some of it before nightfall. Don’t worry about watering your plants. It’s okay if they don’t get watered as often or as much as they used to. Your plant choices should be ones that are able to withstand drought conditions well, such as succulents or other plants that store water in their roots or leaves. Consider planting wildflowers instead of traditional flowers like roses or daisies. Wildflowers are less likely to need watering than conventional varieties because they grow more quickly and have more roots than many traditional flowers do, which means they’ll be able to get more water from the soil around them rather than from you.
- Use mulch around plants and trees that need extra protection from heat or sun—it’ll help retain moisture while also keeping weeds down. Mulch with pine needles or grass clippings instead of bark mulch or wood chips, which can be harder to find in a drought. The pine needles will decompose slowly over time and keep your soil moist while keeping weeds at bay.
- For non-edible pollinators like butterflies or moths (who don’t care as much about food as bees do), increase their habitat by adding more flowering plants nearby. This will give them shade from direct sunlight during most of the day when they’re resting between feeding trips.
Drought friendly plants for pollinators
Drought-friendly plants are a great way to make sure your pollinators stay happy, healthy, and well-fed during dry spells.
Allium is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant that can survive in areas with little to no rain. In fact, it thrives in arid environments and will grow well even if you don’t water it at all. Alliums are easy to maintain and propagate as well—they’re perennial (meaning they come back every year), so once you get them growing in your yard or garden, you don’t have to worry about them going away anytime soon.
- Asters are drought tolerant and easy to grow.
- They are also easy to grow from seed.
- Asters are one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, so they can be planted early enough in the season that they will have time to take root before becoming dormant over summer. This way, you’ll have plenty of time for them to provide color and attract pollinators before the weather gets too hot again.
- Asters attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds (and other beneficial insects) with their bright colors and sweet nectar!
Bee balm (Monarda didyma) is a native plant that can be planted in full sun or partial shade and is drought tolerant. Bee balm attracts bees and butterflies because of its nectar. It also repels mosquitoes, so it’s a win-win!
Bee balm is easy to grow, spreads quickly, and has pretty flowers. You can do no wrong with this choice for pollinators who need some love this summer.
Butterfly weed is a great plant for attracting butterflies. It has a long bloom season, and it’s drought tolerant, making it easy to grow in poor soil conditions. Butterfly weed is also a host plant for Monarch butterflies, so you may see them around this plant as well.
Catmint is a perennial herb with fragrant leaves. It has a calming effect on the mind and body and can be used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Catmint also has many health benefits that include easing digestion and reducing fevers and headaches. It can also help improve liver function by stimulating bile production in your gallbladder.
Catmint grows very quickly so you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t overtake other plants in your garden—but it’s completely worth keeping around! The aromatic scent attracts butterflies and bees into your pollinator gardens as well as repelling pests like aphids from other plants nearby.
If you’re struggling with drought, it’s easy to forget that there are still ways you can help pollinators. While it may seem like there isn’t much you can do, there are still things that everyone can do to help save our pollinators! Whether it’s planting more flowers or giving up one shower a week, every little bit helps. You don’t have to be an expert gardener or beekeeper in order to make a difference; just taking some simple steps now can help ensure that future generations will continue benefiting from these important insects.