While there has long been a focus on incorporating native and adapted plants into the garden, the movement has mostly focused on conserving resources. While conserving water in the landscape is a big reason to use native or adapted plant material in your landscape, there are a few other important reasons. Many homeowners may not have realized until recently that the plants they choose for their landscape can also have a big impact on wildlife. Pollinating insects and other wildlife, such as birds, co-evolve with certain species of plant life in their natural habitat range. They depend on them for pollen, nectar, fruit and foliage. Providing food for our important pollinators and wildlife is an important consideration when creating your landscape.
When choosing plants for pollinators, natives of course will always be preferred; the local fauna will be adapted to utilizing natives for food and habitat. However, a native species may not always be the right choice for your ornamental landscape. There are many highly adapted non-natives that may work better in the landscape, yet still provide pollen and nectar for the bees. If a native plant isn’t the right choice for you, then be sure to consider the pollinator value of the adapted plants you do choose.
Alyogyne huegelii, also commonly referred to as Blue Hibiscus, is an excellent pollinator plant: The bees love it. This evergreen shrub blooms continuously throughout the growing season, providing a steady flow of nectar and pollen for different species of bees and butterflies. Pink Princess Escallonia is another beautiful blooming shrub that pollinators can’t resist. This excellent hedge shrub blooms spring through fall. As it’s name infers, butterfly bush will keep your landscape full of happy butterflies. The huge flowers of butterfly bush also attracted plenty of hummingbirds and bees. Cistus x purpureus, also known as purple rock rose, produces 3-inch diameter blooms that are attractive to bees and other pollinators.
February 2015 Featured Plants
Buddleia davidii ‘Royal Red’
Cistus x purpureus
Escallonia x exoniensis ‘Fradesii’
Acca sellowiana (syn. Feijoa sellowiana)
Gardenia jasminoides ‘Veitchii’
Photinia x fraseri
Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’