Nectar Trails: The Garden Path To More Pollinators

Sasha Kodet

Hummingbirds and monarch butterflies rely on a sequence of blooms as they migrate across the continent. Plant early, middle and late season bloomers in your garden to help them stay on course.

Every fall there’s excitement in the air as ardent admirers await the wave headed their way. As temperatures cool farther north, migratory pollinators — including hummingbirds and monarch butterflies — follow a nectar trail of fall-blooming plants as they ripple south.

These migratory animals rely on a sequence of blooms as they move across the continent each spring and fall. While they fuel up on their journey, they spread pollen along the way, providing an essential service to plants.

Sadly, these nectar corridors have become fragmented over time as land has been developed or converted to agriculture, and invasive plant species have out-competed the native plants on which they depend.

Creating a nature-rich city filled with pollinator gardens can help connect the dots along their migratory routes. Since fall is the best time of the year for gardening in San Antonio, you can help pollinators stay on the nectar trail by including early, middle and late season bloomers in your garden.

You’ll also help out resident pollinators and other wildlife.

Spring bloomers: Englemann’s daisycrossvinesalvia (you can often find a Salvia species for every season)

Summer stars: flame acanthusfirebushPride of Barbadospentas

Fall favorites: fall astermistflowerTurk’s capcopper canyon daisy

Take advantage of our WaterSaver Landscape Coupon and apply by Oct. 15 to create a pollinator-friendly garden at your home. And always remember to avoid pesticides in your yard when you are trying to attract butterflies and other insect pollinators such as bees.

Hummingbirds usually travel through South Texas beginning in July, continuing through September. I always watch for monarchs arriving in mid-October. You can track their progress here.

Catch the wave of enthusiasm for pollinators and plant your own garden this fall!

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