Plants for Pollinators

bee-dandelion

The following are my favorite plants for bees and other pollinators.

Agrimony
Alfalfa
Angelica
Anise Hyssop
Aster
Bachelor Buttons/ Cornflower
Basil
Berberis
Bergamot / Monarda
Black Locust
Blackberries, raspberries, etc.
Blue Vervain
Bluebells
Blueberries
Borage
Brassicas (overwintered)
Buckwheat
Calendula
Cardoon
Catmint
Catnip
Ceanothus
Chives
Clematis
Clovers: red, white, crimson
Comfrey
Coriander / Cilantro
Cornelian Cherry
Cosmos
Cotoneaster
Cottonwood
Crabapple
Cranesbill / Geranium
Crocus
Currants, gooseberries, jostaberries
Dandelion
Deadnettle / Henbit
Dill
Echinacea
Eleagnus spp. (Autumn Olive)
Elderberries
Fennel
Fireweed
Flowering Red Currant
Fruit Trees (apple, cherry, plum)
Germander
Globe Thistle / Echinops
Goji
Goldenrod
Goumi
Hazelnut Trees
Hebe
Hellebores
Horehound
Huckleberries
Hyssop
Joe Pye Weed
Larkspur
Lavender
Lemon Balm
Lupine
Maples
Marjoram
Mexican Sunflower
Mignonette
Milkweed / Asclepias
Mint
Mock Orange
Monarda
Motherwort

Mountain Mint
Mustards
Nasturtium
Nigella
Oreganos
Oregon Grape
Penstemon
Phacelia
Pinks / Dianthus
Poppies
Primulas/Native Primrose
Rosemary
Rudbekia
Sage
Salvias
Saskatoon
Savory
Scabiosa
Sedum
Snapdragons
Snowberries
Soapwort
Stonecrop / Sedum
Strawberries
Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo)
Sunflowers
Sweet William
Thyme
Verbena
Viper’s Bugloss
Wallflowers
Willows
Yarrow
Zinnias

We grow all of these at Barbolian Fields and I try to save the seeds for as many as I can. Please check out our Seeds page and/or contact me if you would like some. I am also willing to take cuttings or divide and make new plants. Planting for the bees is a simple thing we can all do to help these creatures who do so much for us.

If you are looking for a good book on the subject, I highly recommend Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide, Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies. I have to include here a powerful quote by Dr. Marla Spivak in the Foreword to the book:

This book is much more than a resource on how to improve habitat for native pollinators. It is a step-by-step guide for changing our stewardship of the earth; it is a tangible way for people of all ages to make a difference. Active participation in this vital, grass-roots revolution is easy: Plant flowers. Sure, by creating floral and nesting habitat, bees, butterflies, and countless other wildlife species will prosper. But through this same simple effort, you will be ensuring an abundance of locally grown, nutritious fruits and vegetables. You will beautify our cities, roadways, and countryside. You will be helping to spread the word about the urgent need to reduce pesticide use, while at the same time creating habitat for beneficial insects that prey upon crop pests. You will be increasing natural diversity and ecological resilience through pollinator gardens, bee pastures, and flowering field borders that stabilize the soil, filter water runoff, and pack carbon into the roots of native prairie plants. For many of our earth’s ills, you will be part of the solution.


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