Put in some pollinator-friendly plants

Put in some pollinator-friendly plants

Yes, it is time to get those plants into the ground! If you’ve never had a pollinator-friendly plant area, maybe this is the year. 

Why pollinators? Pollination begins with flowers. Flowers have male parts that produce very small grains called pollen. Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains from one flower to another; it leads to the production of more plants and seeds that will create more plants. 

Pollinators like birds, bats and insects play a very important role in flowering plant reproduction and in the production of most fruits and veggies. Over 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators, most of which are insects like beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies and moths. About 1,000 species of pollinators are hummingbirds, bats and other small mammals. Bees pollinate the largest number of plant species. We need to make sure pollinators love us and our spaces.

If you have a diverse group of plants and trees in your yard, you are increasing your chances of attracting pollinators. Plant lots of Texas natives, herbs and heirloom plants. Plant things that bloom at different times of the year. Large groups of flowers, with 10 or so in a group, are great.

Using pesticides is not a good thing because they harm pollinators. If you use pesticides, it will rid your yard of “bad” insects but it will also rid your yard of “good” insects. If you have a small hidden area in your landscape, it’s really a good idea to leave a small space with dead wood and a pile of brush to give bees and other good pollinators a place to live.

Plants to attract bees and other pollinators are easy to find these days. Look for almond verbena with its yummy fragrance and mostly evergreen, fine-textured, gray-green foliage. Coral vine will grow so fast and cover structures if allowed to grow. It attracts bees and butterflies and won’t even mind our super hot summers. Gregg’s Mistflower attracts pollinators with its pretty blue flowers. Sweet acacia grows 10-feet wide and almost twice as high. This small tree is semi-evergreen and has bright yellow, round fragrant flowers in early spring. Gulf Coast Penstemon is a Texas native with tiny purplish flowers that pollinators love. Also, look for kidney wood, fragrant mistflower, salvias, Texas redbud, columbine, spiderwort, agarita, pink evening primrose, aster, butterfly weed, Abelia, azalea, barberry, bottlebrush, sweet spire, gardenia and spirea.

For your calendar

Want some of these plants this weekend? Don’t forget to show up early for the much-anticipated Jefferson County Master Gardener Plant Sale from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. this Saturday, April 8, at Hangar No. 4 at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport. Just follow the signs!

There will be something for everyone and master gardeners around to answer questions. Look for the Kids Corner and food booth. Our head of Texas Agri-Life Extension Agency, David Oates, will be there at 7:30 a.m. to answer your questions in person.

Only service dogs allowed. Bring your own wagon or cart if you plan on buying a lot.