May 31, 2019 (MINNEAPOLIS) For planting season, the City urges all Minneapolis gardeners, landscapers and farmers to protect pollinators. That means avoiding pesticides that poison bees, butterflies and other pollinators both by avoiding applying pesticides and avoiding buying plants that were already treated. Protecting pollinators also means landscaping or gardening with the kinds of plants that nourish pollinators.
Pollinator populations are in sharp decline because of an ongoing loss of plants that feed and shelter them combined with a large-scale expansion of pesticide use by homeowners, landscapers, property managers and farmers. Neonicotinoids and other systemic pesticides have been shown to kill and weaken bees and other pollinators.
One-third of the food and drink produced in the U.S. depends on bees, butterflies and other pollinators. We need healthy pollinators for healthy communities in Minneapolis, a healthy ecosystem and a healthy food supply.
A 2015 resolution commits the City to not using pesticides and encourages property owners to do the same. Alternatives to pesticides can cost less while dramatically boosting habitat for pollinators.
Best annuals for pollinators.
Homegrown Minneapolis is partnering with the University of Minnesota Extension’s Flowers for Pollinators study to support pollinator health and habitat at four gardens leasing land through the Minneapolis Garden Lease Program. While there’s a lot of research on how native plants help pollinators, there’s not much on the interaction of pollinators and annual flowers. During the pilot, annual flower beds and signs installed at each garden will encourage community members to help observe which annual flowers best attract pollinators.
The top five annuals most attractive to pollinators in 2018 were:
Melampodium “Showstar” – gold flowers, up to 18” high
Helenium “Dakota Gold” – yellow flowers, up to 12” high
Salvia “Purple Fairy Tale” – purple flowers, up to 12” high
Salvia “Summer Jewel Pink” – pink and white flowers, up to 24” high
Zinnia “Envy” – pale green flowers, up to 20” high
Watch and share this video about helping protect our food supply by helping pollinators.
Find more resources and information about how to protect pollinators here: www.minneapolismn.gov/environment/bees.