29 January 2012

Planting for Bees - So many choices

Each year we try a few more plants that will feed the bees. Some work pretty well in our climate one year or another and others are less successful. Here's a composite list of possibilities with a few links at the end. What works for you?

Alfalfa - Medicago sativa 
Asters - any and all
Basil - when the plants flower the leaves lose some quality but the bees are happy
Black Eyed Susan - easy to grow and self-seeds
Borage - Borago officinalis - the bright blue flowers look great in any bed
Catmint - Nepeta
Clover - sweet white, yellow or red
Coltsfoot - Tussilago farfara
Coriander - Coriandrum sativum
Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus
Cucumber - the bees cover cucumber vines like crazy
Elderberry - Sambucus - when they flower you can hear the bees buzzing
Evening Primrose - Oenothera
Fennel - Foeniculum vulgare - good for butterfly caterpillars, too
Fireweed - Chamerion angustifolium
Gentian - Gentiana
Geranium incanum 
Goldenrod, perennial - the native varieties provide the most pollen but the hybrids are appreciated
Hawthorn tree - Crataegus
Hyssop - Anise hyssop - Agastache foeniculum
Joe Pye Weed - Eupatorium
Lambs Ears - Stachys byzantina 
Lavender - Lavandula
Leadplant - Amorpha Canescens
Mallow - Malva alcea
Marigold
Mexican Sunflower - Tithonia rotundifolia - this easy to grow plant towers in the back of the beds
Milkweed - Asclepias - plant lots of it!
Mint - Mentha
Melissa - Lemon balm - this is a wonderful plant for tea
Monarda - Bee Balm - perennial and easy to grow from seed
Mustard - Brassica arvenisi 
Oregano - Oregano vulgare
Phacelia, Tansy - Phacelia tanacetifolia - this was not very successful for me but I love it
Phlox - adult butterflies can't resist phlox
Poppy - Papaver - reseeds beautifully
Pot Marigold - Calendula - so pretty and edible
Rosemary
Sedum Autumn Joy - Sedum spectabile - fall flowers for migrating insects
Sunflower - Helianthus
Thyme - When the thyme is flowering you can actually hear the buzzing
Valerian - Valeriana - comes back for years
Veronica
Willow

Internet resources - more suggestions than you can possibly grow!
Melissa Garden - A Honeybee Sanctuary
Ohio State University fact sheet 
Pollinator.org where you can put in your zip code and get a planting list. The link for our area.
Plant list for the Northeast U.S.
Urban Bee Gardens - California resource


Bees, Wasps and other Beneficials just posted this to their Facebook page

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