I found your Pollinator Garden page very helpful for plant suggestions and info. I live in downtown Toronto and now have an open balcony terrace (no roof above) and want to plan to plant for next spring. How high up is common for pollinators to visit? I’m on the 9th floor. I am south facing with lots of sun all day and there is some shielding from wind within the balcony but would be windy with taller plants.
So far, without plants, the only visitors we get are wasps.
Is it worth planting pollinator plants up here? Will bees and butterflies come up this high? I hope my details above are helpful!
Appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners about pollinators’ access to your container garden.
Insects are crucial as a food source for birds and fish and play a vital role in the natural compost cycle in forests and fields. They ensure the propagation of plants and crops. The David Suzuki Foundation says that over three-quarters of wild flowering plants and one-third of the food we eat depend on insect pollination.
With greater appreciation for pollinator insects, more urban gardeners are providing food, water, and habitat to support these visitors. There are more than three hundred species of native bees in the Toronto area. To compete with the non-native European honey bee, they need our help to find ample food resources.
Even though wasps are not a welcome insect, they are pollinators, too, just not the kind that we tend to read about.
The answer to your question is yes, you can attract bees and butterflies to your 9th-floor terrace. Two container gardeners told me that they receive pollinators to their balconies on the 16th and 12th floors. That’s not unique. Pollinator insects learn the location of reliable food sources, so more of them should arrive every year. If your neighbours have some pollinating plants, that will further encourage bees and butterflies.
This site selects pollinator plants for you based on your postal code: https://www.pollinator.org/guides
This is a link to Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Pollinator Garden Guide. It is geared to community gardens, but it also includes plant lists and tips of general interest.
You will find a good community in the FaceBook group, Toronto Container Gardening. https://www.facebook.com/groups/797786260288610