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Aaron G. Anderson, Isabella Messer, and Gail A. Langellotto

Plantings of native flowers are often installed to increase the pollinator habitat in urban and suburban gardens. However, in many regions, it is not known which native plants are best used for pollinator plantings in gardens. Candidate plants must be attractive to pollinators, but they also must have attributes that gardeners find appealing. To identify native plants that are attractive to gardeners, we disseminated two surveys. The first asked gardeners to use a 5-point Likert scale to rate how likely they would be to garden with 23 flowering plants native to the Pacific Northwest United States. The second survey asked gardeners to use a 5-point Likert scale to rate how likely they would be to garden with a subset of 11 of these 23 native plants before and after receiving information about each flower’s attractiveness to bees (Anthophila). Using the first survey, we found a high level of acceptance of native plants by home gardeners (6 of 23 flowers had a mean “likelihood of planting” score of ≥ 4). Additionally, gardeners stated their likelihood of planting these native species increased significantly after receiving information about the bees associated with each plant. Across both surveys, gardeners who identified as “native plant gardeners” stated they would be significantly more likely to garden with all native plant species. Both surveys included an opportunity to share open-ended comments, which revealed that gardeners were most concerned with flower aesthetics and the aggressiveness of growth. Gardeners felt most positively about flower aesthetics and beneficial ecological traits. Many gardeners also commented that they needed more information or were unfamiliar with the plants. This study shows that native plants can have high baseline appeal to home gardeners. Specifically, we identified five native plant species that northwestern U.S. nurseries might consider growing and marketing as pollinator plants because of their high level of attractiveness to bees and home gardeners: globe gilia (Gilia capitata), california poppy (Eschscholzia californica), douglas aster (Symphyotrichum subspicatum), oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum), and common yarrow (Achillea millefolium).