Pollinators like bees are essential to the plant world. They carry pollen from one plant to another, helping plants grow, flourish, and produce seeds and fruit. While we most commonly associate pollinators with flowers, they are also attracted to some edible plants as well. Consider planting these items in your fruit and vegetable garden this spring. If you do, you’re sure to bring in some bees and butterflies.
Herbs: Try planting some basil, lavender, or oregano. All three are great spices to add while cooking, and all three will attract pollinators. You will have to let one basil plant go to flower while keeping the others trim. Lavender is both a flower and an edible, so no special treatment is necessary. And oregano will attract pollinators both when it is flowering and when it is not.
Fruit: Apple trees attract pollinators galore! If you’ve ever visited an apple orchard, you have probably seen lots of happy bees and butterflies going from flower to flower on apple trees. If you decide to plant apples, remember that you’ll need at least two varieties so that they can cross-pollinate and produce fruit. Apple trees cannot self-pollinate or pollinate trees of the same variety.
Vegetable: Squash, green beans and radishes can all bring in pollinators. The flowers on squash and green bean plants attract bees and butterflies, while the leaves of radish plants do the same.
Flowers: Don’t forget that some flowers are both beautiful and edible! Dandelions usually pop up on their own and can be used in recipes and even wine. Sunflowers are cheerful and bright during the summer, attract pollinators, and even yield delicious seeds afterwards. And last, but not least, Honeysuckle flowers produce deliciously sweet nectar that can be used to flavor jelly, sorbet, liqueur and cakes.