• December 8, 2016

Food crops depend on the hard work of pollinators

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, June 25, 2011 12:00 pm

By Mary Lew Quesinberry

Bell County Master Gardener

Do you ever wonder why your vegetable garden is not setting fruits?

Many of our food crops depend on the diligent work of pollinators.

Many plants depend on the wind and pollinators to produce crops such as tomatoes, cantaloupes, watermelons, peaches and onions. Important pollinators are bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds, bats and wasps. Insect and animal pollinators are critical to food and seed production as they visit plants searching for pollen and nectar.

Make your garden a haven for pollinators. Gardens attractive to animal pollinators have a minimum of lawn and varying layers of trees and shrubs and flowering plants. Water sources such as shallow bird baths, misters, drip hoses, water-filled saucers with stones for the bees and butterflies to stand on and muddy areas are important.

Overly ripe fruit is a treat for butterflies. Most importantly, keep your landscape pesticide free. One careless pesticide treatment can destroy generations of bees and butterflies. Be sure to plant diverse groups of plants to satisfy the needs of different pollinator species. Drifts of the same flower and plantings with different bloom times will provide a buffet of nectar and pollen to these important insects and animals all growing season.

Avoid hybrid plants. Native perennials such as bee balm, columbine, butterfly weed, Blackfoot Daisy, Salvia greggii, goldenrod, milkwort, penstemon, and passion flower vine will produce the best quality nectar and pollen over engineered plants. Some easy herbs to plant are mint, oregano, garlic, chives, parsley and lavender. Zinnias, cosmos, sunflower, marigolds and impatiens are good annuals to plant. Roses, irises, morning glory and thyme are also good plants to include. Don't forget the night blooming plants for the moths and bats, such as cactus, flowering tobacco, moonflower, Four O' Clocks and gardenia. You will be surprised at the variety of "critters" planning and planting for the pollinators will attract.

Have any questions about gardening in Central Texas? Contact ask.bcmga@gmail.com.

More about

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.

Entertainment Events

  • 4th Annual Memorial Day Farmers Market

    • Mon, May 25, 8:00 am CDT
    • Walker Honey Farm Store, Rogers

    Join Walker Honey Farm in celebrating their 4th Annual Memorial Day Farmers Market on Monday, May 25th from 8am-2pm. The market will be locate…

  • 23rd Annual MLK Grande Parade

    • Mon, Jan 16, 10:00 am CST
    • Midtown Houston, Houston

    The MLK Grande Parade Is One Of The Largest Single Day Multicultural Events In The U.S. That Commemorate The MLK National Holiday Observance. …

  • MLK Grande Parade-2017

    • Mon, Jan 16, 10:00 am CST
    • Midtown Houston, Houston

    The MLK Grande parade Is One Of the Largest Single Day Multicultural Events In The U.S. That commemorate The MLK National Holiday Observance. …