What could be more delightful than watching butterflies as they flitter around the yard? Time stands still as the whole family watches in awe… It’s magical! How can we consistently entice these lovely insects into our gardens? Simply plant some honey plants!
What are honey plants?
Also called “nectar plants”, honey plants contain large quantities of nectar and pollen. They are the main food source for pollinating insects such as butterflies, bees, bumblebees, and hoverflies.
Some plant species, such as poppies, do not produce nectar. They nonetheless produce high amounts of pollen and are a popular pick for bees. Others are an excellent source of nectar, including lobelia, columbines, and beebalms, which attract hummingbirds.
It is important to note that perennials generally produce more nectar than annuals. This does not mean you should avoid planting them! The best approach is to nurture biodiversity with different types of plants: annuals, perennials, shrubs, climbing plants, aromatic plants, etc. The work of pollinating insects is indispensable. Pollination helps not only to enhance gardens; it also helps to increase flower and fruit production to the great joy of gardeners!
5 must-have honey plants to add to your garden
This small bush boasts cone-shaped flowers that attract butterflies. With its bright, extended flowering tendency, the butterfly bush will certainly steal the spotlight! Don’t hesitate to prune wilted blooms to extend flowering.
Monarch butterflies can’t resist milkweed! Its gorgeous, tiny, star-shaped flowers have a high nectar content. Adult butterflies visit the plant to lay their eggs so their offspring will find adequate nourishment when they hatch.
The aster stands out for its bright, tardy flowers that bloom from late July into the fall. Its flowers have shallow corolla, which attract and nourish pollinators late in the season.
With its exposed centre (bulbous dome), the echinacea is by far the best variety for pollinators because their delicious nectar is easy for them to extract.
Lantana flowers are particularly attractive to pollinators with their mild perfume, bright colours and flowers that bloom all summer. The tubular blooms are butterfly favourites! They adore perching on them to extract their sweet and plentiful nectar.
Even more tips for attracting pollinators
- Set up insect hotels
In urban settings, insects generally have very few locations to reproduce. Accordingly, the purpose of these hotels is to offer them a peaceful space to shelter.
- Install butterfly drinking stations
Water is another feature to include in your garden. How about a butterfly drinking station? It’s simple! Pour water into a sturdy plate with a raised edge and add a few decorative stones.
- Staggered flowering is recommended
Choose plants that flower in spring, summer and fall and for different durations. This allows insects to find food all season long.
- Include single-flower cultivars
Single flowers have only one level of petals and their yellow stamens are generally more visible. It is important to note that cultivars with double or triple flowers such as peonies, roses and carnations generally produce smaller quantities of nectar and pollen and are less accessible to pollinators.
- Variety is the spice of life!
Don’t hesitate to select flowers with different colours, shapes and aromas. This will attract a broader variety of pollinators. Also consider planting beds because a large quantity of flowers represents a tremendous food source for them.
- Include fine herbs
Grow fine herbs to flowering such as dill, chives, coriander, fennel, lavender, lemon balm, mint, oregano, parsley, sage and thyme. The pollinators will be thrilled!