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By Rebecca Fending
Flowers are a great way to spruce up your yard, but many people don’t think about the positive affect that planting has on their local ecosystem. From helping pollinators to repelling invasive insects, flowers can be a great environmentally conscious addition to your home. Here are a few ways specific flowers can have a great impact.
Keep the Pollinators Happy
Recently, we’ve seen a steep decline in pollinators due to environmental issues. For most, the word “pollinator” means honeybee, but there are many species that help pollinate our plants. Butterflies, hummingbirds and even bats are among some of the lesser recognized pollinating species that are under attack of pesticides. However, there are several types of plants and flowers that can help support these suffering pollinators.
- Butterflies: Lavender, lilac, milkweed, sage, butterfly bush and trumpet vine. These last two will require regular trimming so as to not let it overgrow. You can find a complete list of plants for butterflies here.
- Hummingbirds: Butterfly bush, rose mallow, firebush, Florida azalea & etc. Here is a complete list by Florida Today.
- Bats: These creatures require night-blooming flowers since they are nocturnal. The following flowers are great examples of ones you can plant to help bats: French marigold, evening primrose, thyme, raspberry, honeysuckle or dahlia. Learn more about how you can attract bats to your garden here.
- Honeybees: Bees are pretty easy to please when it comes to attracting them. Basically, if you have bright, fragrant flowers, honeybees will find you. A few that are especially tempting to them are black-eyed Susans, marigolds, lavender and purple coneflower. Read more about why bees love these flowers.
There are a majority of other things you can include in your yard to help support local pollinators. One of these is setting out fruit rinds, peels or the rotting fruit themselves to attract butterflies. Another tip is to leave any broken, damaged or dead tree limbs as they act as a home for bees, especially in colder weather. One of the easiest ways to make your garden safe and inviting for all pollinators is to use all natural pesticides as opposed to chemical-filled commercial ones.
Keep Unwanted Bugs Away
Pest-like insects are the bane of most gardeners’ existence; from damaging plants through eating to leaving plants susceptible to fungus. How can you keep pests out of your garden without using harmful pesticides? These are some great flowers to plant if you’re looking to ward off garden pests.
- Marigolds: It seems like marigolds are the answer to any garden problem, whether it’s not enough pollinators or keeping pests out. The strong smell keeps mosquitoes and beetles far away from your home and your garden.
- Citronella: Similarly to marigolds, the aromatic quality of this plant keeps a multitude of bugs away from your garden. This stuff can grow pretty tall, so don’t be afraid to trim it if need be.
- Wormwood: This plant looks great when added to any planting arrangement, but works to keep pests like flies, moths and even mice out of your garden and away from your house.
- Chrysanthemum: This miracle flower seems to deter nearly every pest. From beetles to mites, the compound (pyrethrum) found in this plant will keep your garden in check.
No matter how you plant your garden, including these flowers and plants can help keep your garden beautiful all season long. Be sure to plant at least a couple from each category in order to help aid your environment, both immediate and distant.