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Pollinator Gardening

Frequently Asked Questions

How does pollination occur?

Pollination occurs when pollen is moved within flowers or carried from flower to flower by pollinating animals. Wind pollination also occurs but only with some species of plants. The act of pollination fertilizes an egg which then produces a fruiting body which usually surrounds some type of seed which is used for producing the next generation of the food we and other organisms eat.

What are examples of pollinating animals?

Birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies and other animals

Why are pollinators important?

Worldwide, roughly 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend. Foods and beverages produced with the help of pollinators include: apples, blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, vanilla, almonds, and tequila. In the United States, pollination by honey bees, native bees, and other insects produces $40 billion worth of products annually.

What is a host plant?

A plant upon which an organism (such as an insect) lodges and subsists, i.e. The plant that the butterfly will lay its egg on and the caterpillar will later eat. Examples:

  • Monarch and The Queen - milkweed
  • Pipevine Swallowtail - pipevine, snakeroot, and knot vine
  • Black Swallowtail - golden alexanders


Potential Species Lists for Gardens

Try to include native plant species that will provide flowering blooms throughout the entire season. As a general rule of thumb, plant a minimum of three species that will flower in the spring, three in the early summer and three in the late summer/early fall. If you're ready to get started, consider these:

  • Butterfly Weed (there are nine species of milkweed that can be used, butterfly weed is just one of them)
  • Blazing star (there are approximately seven species of blazing star)
  • Goldenrod (there are a multiple species of goldenrod - avoid Canada or tall goldenrod)
  • Golden Alexander

Sources for plants

Resources for pollinators

When to plant

  • The best time to plant largely depends on what form of material you are using.
  • Seed tends to be less expensive, but takes longer to establish. If you are not in a rush and don't mind a more natural mixed look, consider using a native seed mix. Seeding is best done: October through April depending on seed mix.
  • Plugs can cost a bit more and are usually available in flats. However, plugs typically have a higher success rate and provide more immediate beautification elements. You also have control over where the plants are placed, so the area can have a more manicured look if desired. Appropriate times to install plugs are: May and September- October.

Mayor's Monarch Pledge Commitments

The Mayor of Palos Heights is committed to encouraging and supporting efforts to improve and restore habitat for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators. The Mayor encourages all citizens to do the same. Schools, homes and businesses can all provide essential habitat that will benefit all pollinators and help them to survive.

With the help of staff at Lake Katherine, Palos Heights will install a demonstration pollinator garden at city hall with education signage and flyers available. Actions to be taken also include milkweed seed collection, expand invasive species removal to make room for milkweed and nectar species establishment, and working with city property managers to do more native plantings on city property.

Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens' annual monarch festival also contributes to the Mayor's Monarch Pledge. More extensive information will be included in the education area as well as plant and milkweed sales and giveaways.



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