The following are my favorite plants for bees and other pollinators.
Bachelor Buttons/ Cornflower
Bergamot / Monarda
Blackberries, raspberries, etc.
Clovers: red, white, crimson
Coriander / Cilantro
Cranesbill / Geranium
Currants, gooseberries, jostaberries
Deadnettle / Henbit
Eleagnus spp. (Autumn Olive)
Flowering Red Currant
Fruit Trees (apple, cherry, plum)
Globe Thistle / Echinops
Joe Pye Weed
Milkweed / Asclepias
Pinks / Dianthus
Stonecrop / Sedum
Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo)
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.