What flowers do you guys use to attract pollenators to your tomato plants? I want to know your oppinions on both looks and functionality. And, the big question, how do you arrange them in your garden setup?
Hi stonewallwill - tomatoes are self-fertile, the blooms pollinate themselves, so bees aren't need for tomatoes. Other self-pollinating vegetables include beans, peas and peanuts, lettuce, eggplant, and peppers.
But flowers of any kind are still very helpful for attracting pollinators to squash, melons, and other garden vegetables. I use lots of marigolds and flowering herbs in my garden.
Most of the old standards and favorites attract bees well -- marigolds, calendual, cosmos, celosia, sunflowers, four o'clock, blue salvia, etc. Also, Nicotiana and Verbena bonariensis are very popular with bees. Bees also love to gather pollen off of the tassles of sweet corn. Many herbs attract bees, such as basil, mint, anise hyssop, lavender, etc. Most of these things also attract other pollinators, like wasps, solitary bees, butterflies and moths.
As has been said, tomatoes self pollenize most of the time. But there are some of us who don't want to encourage bees around our tomato plants since we save seeds from the fruits. One can do something about that by bagging blossoms but some of us also try to ensure lack of X pollination by using just geographic isolation.
I have plenty of flowers around and take my chances, and the bees that normally do the tomato X pollinating are the Halictid, or sweat bees that are so tiny you can barely see them.
So unless you plan to save seeds I wouldn't worry about it. And if you click on the FAQ link at the top of the page there's a good FAQ on how to prevent X pollination if you do plan to save seeds.
Plant a big Ole patch of these...
Carolyn, I'm actually planning on growing heirlooms this season but I'm not really worried about x pollinization either. It almost seems easier to just order some seeds than to try and save some from the year before.
Bees LooooOOooove sage. There are many beautiful perennial types of sage you can grow. Very low maintenance, unless you live in the north, and I suspect there are many that grow well there, too. (Anybody know?)
I have one in particular that I grow called White Sage, also called Bee Sage, that is a beautiful minty white-green color. Salvia apiana. I have it sculpted like a 6 or 7 foot tree in my front yard. Smells very nice, not as skunky as some sages.
Thanks for the info, doof. I will plant lots of sage.
I'll paste in a link to OARDCs list of bee plants. Though the list is Ohio based, many of the plants and their variants will grow around the country and succesfully attract bees to your garden.
Here is a link that might be useful: OARDC Major and Minor sources of nectar producing plants.
As mentioned, tomatoes don't need bees to pollinate, but my squash do..so what I did was place several Jasmine plants through out the garden..they smell wonderful and the bees love em. It's not uncommon to see 15-20 bees around the Jasmines and see 4+ inside the blooms of the squash..wonderful creatures they are...and docile too..I can pick without the risk of being stung.
I notice a lot of pollinators when I let other veggies bolt, such as celery, lettuce or arugula. Not only bees but a lot of the other little ones, everywhere. Plus next spring I get lots of little volunteers!
Carla in Sac
I am really stuc on Cerinthe - I love it!!! beautiful beyone cpmpare - grows very easily from seed and teh bees flock to it!!!
The bees love my esperanza
We use marigolds. The bees like them, and they look nice too!
I grow my own every season.
Think the Three B's for T's (tomatoes):
All 3 are considered beneficial to tomatoes or gardens. They also keep the bees busy instead of cross pollinating your tomatoes.
Hope this helps.