Author: Katherine Pretorius Flowers play a key role in ecosystems. They can enhance our moods, add to the aesthetics, are edible and bring a splash of colour to our gardens. But there is so much more to flowers than just beauty; planting flowers is also good for the natural world. Helpful pollinators such as butterflies, bees and moths are attracted to most flower and veggie patches. Flowers come in a variety of shapes and colours which appeal to a range of insects vital to their survival.

Here are six flowers to plant that will attract pollinators to your garden:

If you want to attract bees to your garden, daisies are a great choice. Daisies offer lots of pollen and as such, they are a favourite amoung bees.

Here are three daisies to consider for your garden:
  • Oxeye daisy - (Leucanthemum vulgare) is a perennial wildflower much like the Shasta daisy in appearance, with a central yellow eye surrounded by white petals. It is considered to be especially cheerful and mystical in the eyes of many plant lovers
  • Shasta daisies – This flower has the classic white and yellow appearance usually associated with it. They are adept at attracting helpful flying friends and come in beautiful vibrant shades of yellow, pink, and more.
  • Shaggy daisy – The shaggy daisy has slender petals giving it a somewhat more 'ruffled' look than its broader petalled relatives.
Other flowers known to attract pollinators are:
Marigold - These edible, annual, brightly coloured flowers are not without controversy. According to some, it actually repels bees. But bees have often been observed visiting the marigolds along with other friendly critters such as flies, moths, and butterflies.

Besides improving soil health, marigolds have the added benefit of warding off disease-causing soil nematodes, which often infect tomatoes and other vegetables. When buying, be sure to select varieties with open centres which make it easier for insects to reach the pollen.

Dahlia - From delicate pink to deep red this bushy, herbaceous flower is often a favourite amoung gardeners.

However, it’s important to get the right variety of dahlias to help your garden friends. You won’t have so much success attracting insects with “pom-pom” or “cactus” varieties, as they have been bred to have petals that are too close together for pollinators to access. Dahlias such as the semi-double or single type are a favourite amoung pollinators and are also low maintenance.

Not quite a flower, not quite an herb, this perennial plant is nevertheless a must-have for attracting pollinating insects.

Bees go absolutely crazy for lavender, which also has other interesting properties that help with warding off unwanted insects, such as fleas, flies, and mosquitoes.

Lavender is also obviously a very pleasant smelling plant that can be dried and used to fragrance the home.

There is no better bumblebee attractor than the snapdragon. Adapted to the bumblebee's specific needs, its scent, colour, and physical form have evolved uniquely to attract these pollinators.

As an example, the snapdragon releases scent during the bumblebee's most active hours during the day, which makes it irresistible.

Snapdragons are also not randomly coloured. Red is not visible to bees, but yellow, blue, and ultraviolet are. The patterns arranged on each flower act as a billboard advertising an ‘all you can eat buffet’.

The unique bell shape of the petals is also adapted perfectly for the little bees to buzz in and out of.

Another magnet for bees, these cheery flowers are sure to be a hit with many forms of wildlife in your garden.

This beautiful flower is perfect for attracting insects and birds, as its seeds are adored by both. This is ideal because it’s important to attract all kinds of helpful critters to the garden, and birds also play a key role in pollination.

The task of keeping our ecosystem functioning rests on the tiny backs of these pollinators – a big burden for their little shoulders to bear! 
As such, it is our responsibility to help them any way we can.

Trailblazing Partners - Issue 6


Foreword - Issue 6


Issue 6 - Cover

Issue 6 - Cultivation