Be in the know about pollinators

Chris Waltz with pollinator pots

Create a pollinator garden in a pot!

Chris Waltz, volunteer extraordinaire and wildflower-gardening enthusiast, was inspired by people saying they can’t grow natives because they live in an apartment, condo, or other small space. He started thinking: They grow houseplants and annuals; why can’t they grow natives the same way? The result? A “pollinator garden in a pot.”

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Native plant landscape

Nature’s mismatches — How you can help

Phenology, nature’s calendar for matching plant maturity and animal needs, is ideal when plants are blooming and providing vegetative habitat and food for insects, birds and other animals in the right place and at the right time. Here’s what you can do when nature’s timing is off.

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Phaon crescent on frogfruit

Know your native pollinators: Phaon crescent

The Phaon crescent butterfly is primarily attracted to frogfruit plants, utilizing them for nectar and as a larval host. Frogfruit is a small flowering groundcover that can be a great alternative to turf grass. Since frogfruits cannot withstand freezing temperatures, you will likely only find this butterfly in the southern regions of the United States. Phaon crescents can live in peninsular Florida throughout the year. These butterflies like moist open areas such as dunes, pastures, roadsides and clearings in dense forest thickets.

 

 

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Delaware skipper on thistle

Know your native pollinators: Delaware skipper

Originally named for the Delaware tribes of Native Americans near where this butterfly was discovered, the Delaware skipper is now found throughout the eastern United States. This small, bright orange butterfly is attracted to grassy meadows and wet areas. As part of the Grass skipper subfamily of skippers, its larval hosts are grasses and sedges.

 

 

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Cloudless sulphur on thistle

Know your native pollinators: Cloudless sulphur

Keep your eyes open for Cloudless sulphur butterflies! Monarchs aren’t the only ones migrating this time of year. Fall is a wonderful time to see the Cloudless sulphurs in flight on their southern migration. The Cloudless sulphur can be found year-round in the southern United States, Caribbean and much of South America, but migrating populations extend all the way to Colorado, New Jersey or even Canada during the summer months. Cloudless sulphurs practice a large fall migration to southern regions, much like the Monarch butterfly.

 

 

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Silver-spotted skipper

Know your native pollinators: Silver-spotted skipper

You might find one of these creatures hanging upside-down, but it’s not a bat (or a vampire). It’s a Silver-spotted skipper!

The Silver-spotted skipper is one of the largest, most widespread and recognizable skippers. It has a quick jerky flight that is typical of skippers. This type of butterfly is common and can be found from northern Mexico to southern Canada, as well as most of the continental United States.You can find Silver-spotted skippers throughout Florida. These butterflies enjoy a disturbed habitat, open woods, foothills, stream sides, prairie waterways, edges of forests, swamps, brushy areas and other open areas with nectar plants.

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More buzz about pollinators

bee boxes

Making a home for native bees

It is more important than ever to make a home for native bees in Florida’s landscapes. Bee expert Dr. Rachel Mallinger of the University of Florida gives tips on the best ways to welcome them to urban landscapes.

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Bumblebee on Partridge pea

Celebrate native bees and other pollinators

Do you enjoy juicy watermelons, local blueberries and strawberries and fresh Florida orange juice? How about carrots, broccoli, almonds and apples? If you do, please thank an insect, especially during National Pollinator Week, June 17-23. Learn more about our pollinators – especially…

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Xerces milkweeds conservation guide cover

Review of Xerces Society’s Milkweed Guide

Many of us are aware of the monarch’s population decline that has been well documented by researchers. Weather, habitat destruction of overwintering grounds in California and Mexico, and loss of food source on migration routes have caused great concern in the last…

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Bee tower

Bringing the buzz back to your garden

In the last decade or so, honey bee populations worldwide have significantly diminished due to unknown causes. Less known is the fact that native bee populations in North America are also in decline. As more rural and wild landscape becomes suburban and…

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Monarch on Swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata

Are non-native milkweeds killing monarch butterflies?

Tropical milkweed can enable monarchs to continue breeding well into fall and winter, causing populations to persist longer in certain areas than they naturally would. Unfortunately, this can foster higher than normal infection rates by a lethal protozoan parasite, Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE).…

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Resources for protecting pollinators

20 Easy-to-Grow Wildflowers

20 Easy WildflowersThis 24-page publication features 20 readily available Florida native wildflowers and how to use and care for them in landscapes. There is information on the bees and butterflies that they attract, too. Download a PDF or order an individual copy.

Monarchs and Milkweed

Learn about Monarch butterflies and the Florida native milkweed they require as host plants for their caterpillars. The publication features cautions about the use of non-native Tropical milkweed. Visit the web page or download the PDF.

Guide for Choosing Native Wildflowers and Plants

Wildflowers, naturally! plant selection guideThe guide features 70 Florida native wildflowers, shrubs, vines and grasses for landscape use. Its helpful key gives quick and easy information on each species’ hardiness zone and soil and light requirements. Bloom color and season, and information on pollinators is also included. Download the PDF.

Florida Wildflowers and Butterflies

This beautiful color brochure features Florida’s common butterflies on one side and their native wildflower host and nectar plants on the other. Download the PDF.

Need publications for a group or event? Order them now.

“Butterflies are self-propelled flowers.”
— Robert A. Heinlen