Companion Planting to Attract Pollinators

Insects, birds, and small mammals are a large part of the world’s food supply. Many of our crops are pollinated by insects, including moths, butterflies, and wasps. These insects are attracted to large groups of plants and species, especially flowers that require pollen to grow and bloom. When plants are combined, they protect one another, increase plant productivity, repel pests and improve overall plant health.

Combinations to Try

  • If basil is allowed to bloom, it will attract pollinators and improve the taste of nearby plants such as tomatoes and lettuce.
  • Combine calendula with summer squash, sweet peas with runner beans, and cosmos with cucumbers to attract pollinators and create better-tasting crops.
  • Alyssum, bachelor’s button, bee balm, nasturtiums, and rosemary are all great flowering companions for vegetable gardens.
  • Thyme, oregano, and sage can help flowers bloom.
  • Some plants, such as tomatoes, can be self-pollinating, but combining them with marigolds can also help repel insects.
  • The repelling properties needed for harmful insects are also found in mint, lavender, and geraniums.

Creating a Healthy Environment

For a healthy number of pollinators, plant as many flowers and vegetables as possible. You can weave clusters of old-fashioned open-pollinated flowers around your fruits or vegetables or create a border for your garden. Use insecticides and other pesticides sparingly and only spray during times of the day when insect activity is minimal. Organic products are best but know if misused, organic pesticides can cause damage. 

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