Photo: Xerces Society / Krystal Eldridge
Native pollinators coevolved with plants over millions of years, forming mutualisms in which plants and pollinators rely on each other for survival. In the United States, non-native (“exotic”) plants dominate ornamental landscapes, largely because they tend to attract fewer unwanted insects. The horticulture industry has become adept at “improving on” the species that were native to the United States to make their flowers larger, brighter, more suitable for cutting, etc. This process often leads to a reduction in the quality of pollen and nectar, or loss of pollen and nectar altogether. While some exotic or hybridized species supply adequate nectar, native pollinators primarily rely on native plant species. Plant wholesalers and retailers tend to grow mostly exotics, hybrids, and named cultivars that may or may not provide the food and nesting sources native pollinators rely on. These plants are often treated with pesticides, many of which harm pollinators.
Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA affiliates commit to create and enhance pollinator habitat by planting native species. To support this commitment, affiliates create a native plant list and native plant supplier list.
By creating a native plant supplier list you help your community locate businesses where they can purchase native plants, promote and support local plant suppliers, and ensure future supplies of locally native plants.