Tips for the Florida Winter Pollinator Garden
Hello to 2023 and all our Pollinator Power friends! It’s been a busy year for us to meet and
greet folks all around Orange County. We now have over 400 enthusiasts who are supporting
pollinators at their homes, businesses, and schools, and we are planning to see more at local
events in 2023. Look for our seminars in the spring – more late
But what about the garden now? In Florida we don’t have “winter,” but we do have a slow
down in our pollinator activity. Butterflies are unable to control their body heat and are much
less active in temperatures lower than 80 degrees. However, in the sun they do warm up, so
we still see a few wandering about. Bees are also much less active, but a few (bumblebees, for example) can forage in temperatures down to 50.
Because Florida plants also have “seasons,” even though don’t go dorment, the bloom activity of our perennial and annual natives is much less, or non-existent from approximately December through February. As examples, I’ve included a couple winter pictures of the West Orange Trail Pollinator Garden. As you can see, it is cooler and quieter, with just a few blooms.
With fewer pollinators, these months are perfect to cut back your milkweed and perennials for regrowth of clean foliage. I’m sure most of your host plants are almost bare. If possible, buy a few new milkweed for those wandering Monarchs. However, DO NOT dig into your beds at this time – LOTS of pollinators are nesting/sleeping in the ground, in the mulch, in the grasses. Leave the habitat undisturbed as much as possible.
Finally, February is a perfect time to broadcast annual/native wildflower seeds into beds.
Throw them into beds amongst your other plants. They will be ready to bloom in
April/May/June when those hungry new bees/butterflies begin to hatch/eclose in your spring
garden. That’s it for now – but we’ll be in touch in April!! Look for our Pollinator Power booth at Spring Fever in the Garden on April 1st and 2nd
Any questions? Want to get more involved? Contact either: Becki Lynch or Jeanne Yazinski
through the Bloom & Grow Garden Society website. https://www.bloomandgrow.clu