Which Part Of A Plant Attracts Pollinators? Important Facts!

Since about 75-90% of flowering plants require pollinators to be able to reproduce and since they can’t go out and seek pollinators for this purpose, plants have to have a strategy for attracting all kinds of different pollinators to them. There is something called pollinator syndrome which refers to the way plants have developed over the years essentially attracting very specific pollinators to themselves. But the question of the matter is which part of a plant attracts pollinators?

The answer is simple, plants use visual cues such as shape, size, showy petals, guides to nectar, sepals, and color to attract pollinators. Plants also use their coloration and specific patterns to signal to the right kind of pollinators.

Nectar guides are patterns that are used to guide pollinators to the nectar and pollen of the flowers. These patterns are not only visible to pollinators but also to humans. Some of those patterns include subtle lines, swaths of color, spots, and streaks like the ones that are used to direct bumblebees inside penstemon. To learn more about how plants attract pollinators to themselves keep reading below.

What Attracts The Pollinators?

If we use the native azalea as an example of how plants attract pollinators you would see that the bell shape of the blossoms attracts native ruby-throated hummingbirds. The hummingbird essentially comes into contact with the plant’s reproductive parts which then performs the pollination service with ease.

Irises will use their energy from the underground rhizomes to ultimately help them produce rather large flowers. The size of their flowers allows them to compete with the flowers that surround them so they can have access to the pollination services produced by bumblebees.

And the aromatic aster, which is a fall-blooming plant, actively communicates its pollination status through visual cues to attract monarch butterflies. Since monarch butterflies have a long migration to Mexico every year it’s absolutely imperative that they are able to fill up on as much nectar as possible before they start their journey.

Read more: How To Create A Garden That Attracts Native Pollinators?

There are some nectar guides that are not visible to the human eye. Yet they are perfectly visible to bees who can actually see the ultraviolet color. Over 7% of plants and flowers show different floral patterns that are visible in ultraviolet light but are not visible in natural light.



How Do Plants Attract Pollination?

Most of the bugs, insects, and animals that are involved in pollinating plants only perform pollination services because the plants or flowers provide them with food. Nectar is made up of primarily sugar water that happens to contain some amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that are concentrated to best suit the nutritional needs of the pollinator.

Over time many researchers have studied the different species of Impatiens flowers. They soon discovered that within this species of these flowers, the nectar varied greatly, even though it is within a genus. One example of this is that some other different species had nectar that had more amino acids, which helps weak butterflies who are lacking a lot of protein in their diet.

Nectar Plays a Very Important Role In Attracting Pollinators

Plants that are highly dependent on pollinators have needs that are highly energized, such as hummingbirds, which will produce highly concentrated nectar. Bees have actually been known for being capable of perceiving the many differences within the sugar concentrations, about 1-3% of the time.

Over time plants and flowers have changed rapidly to be able to produce the right amount of nectar. If in fact, a plant can only offer very little amounts of nectar then most pollinators will not be attracted to it.

However, if a plant has way too much nectar it will sate the pollinators quickly and easily which results in the pollinators not wanting to look elsewhere for nutritional needs which could possibly bring a halt to the overall pollination process.

More about topic: Do Cucumbers Need To Be Pollinated? 

How Do You Attract More Pollinators?

There are many different ways to attract more pollinators to your garden. You should keep in mind that some pollinators will respond differently than others when it comes to the different colors of the plants you have. For instance, Bees tend to prefer yellow, white, and purple flowers. Hummingbirds will fly straight to flowers that have a reddish tone.

Plant Flowers Of Many Shades And Tones

If you want to attract all kinds of different pollinators you can achieve this simply by planting flowers that come in a variety of different colors of the rainbow. You should choose flowers and plants that will bloom at different times of the year, that way you will always have some kind of blossoms in your garden all throughout the year.

Bloom Shapes Matter When It Comes To Attracting More Pollinators

You should also choose many different flowers that have a wide variety of bloom shapes, which can include, some that are taller, some shorter flowers, some that are wide, and some that are rather narrow. Choosing more than one kind of bloom-shaped flower can allow you to attract a multitude of different insects, bugs, bees, and animals.

In order to maximize the chances of your flowers and plants attracting more pollinators you should first start out by using premium-quality Miracle-Gro® Brilliant Bloom flowers* and then you should feed your flowers and plants with Miracle-Grow ® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food so many times every week or so.

As a matter of fact, you can expect to have flowers that bloom 3 times more when you combine this duo of Miracle Gro® plant food and soil and use it in your garden to nourish your flowers as long as you use them as directed.

Plants That Attract Specific Pollinators

If you’re trying to attract the right pollinators but don’t know how to go about doing so, you can go through this list of plants and flowers and the specific pollinators they all attract. Which includes the following:

Butterflies: Salvia coccinea, butterfly weed, butterfly bush, yarrow, Mexican sunflower, and Liatris (blazing star).

Hummingbirds: Salvia (every type), Penstemon (beard tongue), torch lily (red hot poker), honeysuckle, trumpet vine, and hummingbird mint.

Bees: Dill, purple coneflower, Joe-Pye weed, sunflower, mint, and Bee balm.

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