The Flowering Plant That Will Have Bees Buzzing Around Your Yard

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The Flowering Plant That Will Have Bees Buzzing Around Your Yard

There are a plethora of incredible plants that can be added to your pollinator garden. While bee balm, aster, and dogwood are well-known for attracting bees to your yard, there are many lesser-known options as well. One such option is the Mexican hat plant, which can effortlessly attract bees and other pollinators to your lawn with its bright and colorful flowers, making it a stunning addition to any garden.

When selecting plants to start a pollinator garden, it’s important to consider factors such as your climate, soil type, and the amount of sunlight your garden receives. You should aim to plant a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the season, so that there is always something in bloom that can attract pollinators. Additionally, it’s helpful to shelter pollinators, such as rocks, logs, or butterfly houses. Finally, avoid using pesticides, as they can be harmful to the pollinators you are trying to attract.

Mexican hat plants, also known as upright prairie coneflowers, are named after their rings of red petals that resemble sombreros. These perennials are very easy to care for, making them ideal for beginner gardeners. They grow best in well-draining soil that stays moist and receives plenty of sunlight. If planted in a good spot and rooted well, they won’t require much fertilizer.

Why pollinators love Mexican hat plants

Mexican hat plants

LEON_PHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock

Mexican hat plants are jam-packed with aromatic flowers, which makes bees, wasps, flies, beetles, and butterflies flock to them. Those bright orange-red blooms aren’t just eye candy either because they’re also overflowing with sweet nectar, which keeps pollinators buzzing around them. As a result, bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects dart from flower to flower, spreading the pollen that will your garden’s next generation of fruits and vegetables thrive. The pollen clinging to the flowers is packed with protein and nutrients, which are vital for plant reproduction. As pollinators travel between Mexican hat plants and other blossoming plants in your garden, they carry pollen dust, leading to plant reproduction.

Another way the Mexican hat plant helps pollinators beyond its pollen-filled flowers is through its dense and abundant leaves. This area below the flowers can become a safe haven for tired pollinators in the form of a place to rest and refuel between pollinating trips. Additionally, this leafy shelter also offers protection from predators and harsh weather.

How to add Mexican hat plants to your pollinator garden

 Butterfly on upright prairie coneflowers

Lori Bonati/Shutterstock

When adding to your garden, plant a few Mexican hat plants in sunny spots. This helps to pair your Mexican hats with other pollinator-friendly plants like lavender, sunflowers, or aromatic herbs like mint and rosemary. The more variety in your pollinating plants, the busier your garden will be.

Though you should ditch the pesticides and herbicides that harm pollinators and disrupt the delicate garden ecosystem, you can go natural in terms of pest control. You can literally let nature take its course by adding ladybugs and other natural pest control insects that will consume the harmful pests that come into your garden.

Providing a birdbath or shallow dish filled with fresh water for pollinators to drink while they work can also help. The water will also help attract more of them to your yard. All of these efforts further invite pollinators. And by planting Mexican hat plants, you’re making your garden healthier and even more vibrant.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.