When planting for pollinators, try to incorporate at least three different types of plants that bloom in each of the three growing seasons (spring, summer, and fall). In Kentucky and much of the surrounding region, the growing season typically begins sometime in February and ends with the first killing frosts in late October or November.
Some of the reasons behind planting three different types of plants for each season are: 1) not all pollinators use the same plants, 2) it allows for one species to “have a bad year” while still giving the pollinators other options, and 3) some species may bloom early in the season while others bloom later in the season, thus the different types of plants can provide a continuous source of blooms throughout the season.
When thinking about plants for pollinators, don’t forget about trees. Trees provide important sources of nectar and pollen for many insect pollinators. Maples, elms, and willows are also some of the earliest plants to bloom in this region. “Yard weeds” such as dandelions, henbit, and deadnettle can also provide early sources of nectar and pollen, while providing early pops of color after a long winter.
This article was part of Shannon’s original Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife blog which evolved into the blog for Backyard Ecology.
Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at www.backyardecology.net.