Symbiotic Relationships Between Plants and Animals

Often gardens that contain a variety of plants are seen humming with the presence of birds, bees, insects, and other animals. This abundance of wildlife can be attributed to the benefits animals derive from their symbiotic relationship with plants. 

Encouraging the presence of animals by selecting specific plants is a beneficial way improve the overall health of your garden and environment, some example benefits include: 

  • Bees: Bees are vital when it comes to pollination and food production. Pollinators like bees are estimated to pollinate approximately 75% of the worlds flowering plants, 35% being food crops including fruit and vegetables. Bees therefore help plants reproduce, while they gather pollen to produce their own food source. 
    Birds: Many birds eat a variety of insects, including aphids, mosquitoes, spiders, grubs, slugs, and other bugs that may not be welcome in a yard or garden. Attracting birds encourages them to take advantage of this natural food source, eliminating the need for harsh chemical insecticides. 
  • Bats: Natives bats are relied on for hundreds of plant species for pollination, while the bats feed on the nectar for food. Many Australian bat species are vulnerable or critically endangered, meaning flowering plants support their survival and reproduction.

Want to take advantage of symbiotic relationships and increase wildlife in your garden? Consider adding some of these plants to your home:

  • Bromeliad’s: Frogs live within the foliage of Bromeliad’s, where rainfall is caught and stored. Insects that are attracted to the water source provide food for the frog, while the frog’s faeces provide nitrogen to the plant. 
  • Flowering plants, such as Bird of Paradise and Australian native Giant Spear Lily, provide pollen, nectar and sometimes fruit for a range of animals including birds, bees, and other insects to collect and feed on. The pollen collected by bees to produce its food (honey) allows the plant to become pollinated and produce its seed/fruit. 

Let’s also not forget the mutual relationship between plants and humans. Plants provide us with oxygen, food, aesthetic pleasure, and happiness while humans water, fertilise, nurture plants and exhale carbon dioxide for photosynthesis to occur. 

Sadly, climate change and human activity have damaged a number of these relationships, however you can support and increase symbiotic relationships just by adding a few plants to your garden and creating an environment for animals to thrive.

Frog within Bromeliad foliage
Frog within Bromeliad foliage.

Bee on Bird of Paradise flower
Bee on Bird of Paradise Flower.