Providing plants for pollinators like bees and butterflies has been an ongoing concern in the Maryland gardening community for at least several years. With pollinators becoming fewer and farther between, installing the best plants in the garden has become paramount. Thankfully, Maryland has an abundance of pollinator plants and knowledgeable landscapers to help you create a successful pollinator garden.
Maryland Native Plants
Maryland is home to an abundant collection of native plant species, including grasses, ferns, shrubs, trees, and herbaceous plants. One can search Maryland native plant databases online to find the perfect collection for your property, taking sun exposure, soil type, soil moisture level, and other factors into consideration.
When planning a complete native garden, one should utilize different plant types of varying heights into the design, such as trees, shrubs, and flowers. Even better, plan to have at least three different species that will provide flowers from spring to fall. Flowering plants will likely need at least 6 hours of full sunlight.
Maryland’s bees and butterflies rely on native species, even to the extent of fulfilling their entire lifecycle on one plant (like the monarch butterfly with milkweed.) However, insects are flexible and do pollinate other plants as well. If you have a vegetable garden, allow plants like broccoli, onions, and kale to flower once in a while so that the pollinators have an extra food source.
Herb gardens are another way to provide food for pollinators. Herbs can grow either in containers or directly in the ground, and their flowers often give popular pollinator fuel. Lavender, rosemary, mint, parsley, sage, and more are all fantastic for the garden and the kitchen.
No Harm in a Few Weeds
Having a healthy lawn generally means that you have a weed-free lawn. Even so, if a few dandelions sprout up in April on your property, there’s no need to fret. Dandelions, clover, and other weeds do have nutrients that are beneficial for the soil. What’s more, they provide food for pollinators in early spring before many other species begin to flower.
Other Ways to Help
Planting pollinator plants is the primary way to help pollinators thrive, but one can also include a couple of additions. One is to limit herbicides and pesticides as much as possible. Another is to put out a water dish with stones in it for insects to use for drinking.
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