Many insect species have been hibernating since the fall, and when they come out they need food for energy. Hoverflies, butterflies and hibernating bees such as bumblebees and solitary bees will come out at the first sign of warmer weather – this can be any time from February to April.
Sweet nectar and blooms are a lifeline for hungry insects. Both pollen and nectar provide important food sources for pollinators. Blooming times are critical when selecting, as you want to provide a succession of food sources all year long – especially in winter and early spring. The choices available for pollinators then are slim to none, and it is a critical time for many pollinators.
A tip we give hosts is to visit your local garden/nursery store in early March/April to see which plants are already blooming or close to bloom. Nurseries will often have a section where you can find early blooming plants that you can browse to see which ones suit your garden. Often times, the plants are also incorporated in displays to give you ideas of how to style and plan for your own yard. If you can’t find anything to your liking, you can always opt to build an annual container just to provide an extra food source for your little pollinator friends. Whether it’s an evergreen, perennial, or even some annuals, your local pollinators will thank you for the feast awaiting them!
Here are a couple of great resources on what to plant in your area:
Pollinator.org provides garden “recipe” cards that beautifully show you want to plant that pollinators love.
You can also reference our other Garden Tip Blog Post “GARDEN TIP – What to plant in the fall to feed your mason bees in early spring” – Which lists a variety of plants and flowers that are early spring blooms. https://rentmasonbees.com/what-to-plant-in-the-fall/