A shout out to Scott Stewart, Director of the The Lurie Garden in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago for a recent blog post on native and non-native plants and their benefits to pollinators. One of the greatest benefits of incorporating some non-natives into managed landscape pollinator plantings is ensuring “nectar and pollen sources are more likely to be present within the landscape for longer periods of time across all seasons, benefiting all local pollinators and increasing foraging benefits for especially vulnerable specialist pollinators,” Scott wrote. He points out that scientific literature is proving this point and also demonstrating the importance of cities and managed landscapes in supporting local pollinator populations.
African Blue Basil (Ocimum kilimandscharicum × basilicum Dark Opal) is a go-to non-native in my plantings to ensure late-season nectar well into the late fall. It’s joined by Salvia coccinea, a southern U.S. native that’s another annual providing long-season pollen and nectar into late fall. Do other readers have go-to long season annuals or perennials to extend pollinator nectar and pollen availability on the front or back side of the season? Please share – I’ll assemble and share the list.
Pollinators Benefit from Mixing Native and Non-Native Plants has a great list of reference articles at the end.
NewTerrain May 16, 2016.