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Make a Pollinator Paradise!

 

What is a pollinator paradise?

A Pollinator paradise or butterfly garden is within reach. It is incredibly important to provide support to our pollinator population. Without our lovely pollinators, no fruit will form on vegetable plants. The plants will flower and then decay. Did you know that in addition to bees and butterflies; beetles, hummingbirds, wasps, moths, and flies are also important pollinators? There are plenty of plants with nectar that can help all of these creatures pollinate.  There are several types of pollinator plants we suggest you grow in your garden; here are some that do excellent in North Carolina!

Black-eyed Susans

Black-eyed Susans require fertile soil that drains well. We’d suggest Daddy Pete’s Planting soil for outdoor gardens and Daddy Pete’s potting soil if you intend on putting them in a planter. Black-Eyed Susans enjoy full sun most, but they can also prosper in partial shade. Mitchell’s has a variety of black-eyed Susans called Goldstrum’s Select, which is a resilient variety that will certainly help with pollination. Beware of double varieties; they’re inaccessible to pollinators! These are such a bright addition to any pollinator paradise.

Eupatorium dubium ‘Baby Joe’, Joe Pye Weed

A well-known NC pollinator plant with the most beautiful fuschia blooms. Butterflies, bees, and other flying critters love this Carolina native! They thrive in moist, rich soil and do well in full sun to partial shade. They are partial to regular, deep waterings. Spreading mulch will help the soil retain moisture. Older plants can be divided and replanted in early spring or fall. 

Heuchera Purple Palace

Heuchera is a lovely perennial to have around your front porch or in your garden. The purple foliage and little white flowers are a delight to see year after year. This plant attracts plenty of butterflies, other pollinators, and specialized bees. Heuchera Purple Palace likes blooms during the summertime, which is the perfect time for butterfly watching. 

Phlox Paniculata- Garden Phlox

Plox is a flowering perennial that many southerners enjoy. They are considered a butterfly garden staple. Phlox excellent pollinator plants and add bright pops of color to any garden, planter, or porch front. They do well in full sun with lots of watering, and partial sun with less watering. If you are growing them in an area with partial sun, try cutting them back in late spring to discourage stretching, which leads to leggy, weak plants. 

Monarda didyma ‘Balbalmose’, and Beebalm ‘Balmy Rose’

My personal favorite on this list because of its unique bloom and color. Balmy Rose enjoys full sun to partial shade.  Moderately fertile, humus-rich soil that is moist but well-draining is where it will find happiness. And pollinators will find their paradise.

Butterfly Bush

Also known as Buddleia, is a summer and fall flowering shrub that attracts butterflies (of course), hummingbirds, and bees. They prefer full sun in well-draining soil. Buddleia should be severely pruned during the winter. They smell fantastic and are perfect for planting in front of the porch where you can watch the butterflies enjoy themselves!

Azaleas

Azaleas are a wonderful sight to see in April when they burst to life! They supply nourishing nectar to butterflies and hummingbirds! Azalea comes from the Greek word azaleos, which means “dry”. Azaleas don’t like having their roots perpetually moist, as it leads to rot. It’s best to water azaleas infrequently but deeply and stick to a schedule. They thrive in partial shade and do best in acidic soil, which we have plenty of here in North Carolina. Pine needles can help provide more nutrients and acidity, as well as mulch, which will absorb some of the moisture that azaleas don’t favor.  

Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum)

Pycnanthemum is a great pollinating perennial. It is not the showiest plant, but pollinators love it. A North American Native, Mountain Mint grows slowly and provides plenty of blooms for insects and other pollinators to enjoy. A low-maintenance perennial, mountain mint only needs to be watered regularly until it is established. Afterward, let them be, and trim them back in the spring to keep them from overpowering other crops. Honeybees, Bumblebees, and butterflies, along with many other pollinators, adore this low-maintenance perennial.

PARSLEY!

Parsley serves a very important role for a specific species of butterfly! Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterflies love to lay eggs on parsley. They hatch out into the prettiest green-striped caterpillars and eat the parsley. So remember to plant enough parsley for you and the caterpillars. Parsley should be planted after the date of the last frost (April 15th) in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. They thrive in both partial shade and full sun. Water when the top inch of soil becomes dry! Butterflies, beetles, and bees will thank you.

In Conclusion

Not only is a pollinator paradise beautiful, but by planting pollinator plants, you will be helping the environment and helping yourself!  So, plant a pollinator paradise this spring. Happy Planting! –