The Importance of Phenological Diversity in Seed Mixes for Pollinator Restoration
Restoration projects that support pollinators are becoming increasingly popular. Pollinating insects require resources, including nectar and pollen, throughout the growing season. However, commercially available seed mixes vary considerably in their phenological diversity, as well as in the diversity of species and plant families included, and in their forb:grass ratio (by seed count). Each of these is important for the support of a diverse pollinator community. We examined several commercial mixes to determine if they met our criteria for optimal pollinator support. Most mixes did not contain many, if any, species that bloom in the spring. Suggestions on additional plant species to include in upper Midwest pollinator restorations seed mixes to extend the season of bloom are provided. Although our recommendations are regionally focused, these principles could be extended to any plant community.