Scientists at the University of Sussex found that pollinator-friendly plants are just as pretty, cheap and easy to grow as less hospitable varieties.
The researchers claim there is “great scope for making gardens and parks more insect friendly” by making the right selections and planting the right sort of seeds.
While the small-scale study did not produce an exhaustive list of the best plants for pollinating insects, the data has put a number on just how many more pollinators the right plants can attract in a garden.
“Some of the best plants attracted approximately 100 times as many insects as the worst,” said PhD student Mihail Garbuzov.
“And the plants that are attractive to insects are not more expensive, and they’re just as pretty.”
A total of 32 different varieties of popular garden plants were used, with the results published in the Journal of Functional Ecology.
Although tips for insect-friendly gardening are already available from a variety of sources, the researchers claim they are largely based on “opinion and general experience”.
The aim of this study, said Prof Francis Ratnieks, was to “put that advice on a firmer scientific footing, by gathering information about the actual number of insects visiting the flowers to collect nectar or pollen”.
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