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Plant These To Help Save Bees: 21 Bee-Friendly Plants. Learn more here!

Hannah Rosengren 2013

you could really plant these in any vacant lot if you didn’t get caught, the ones on this list I’m familiar with grow with little or no tending! Free the Bee!

I had a few of these in my garden this summer! Yay!

This is lovely and important! Yay bees! Yay flowers! But the thought of planting “sweet asylum” cracked me up.

One of the news articles I read about beekeeping this summer indicated that the popularity of urban beekeeping was actually causing some problems for bee populations in general. Lots of people with hives in a relatively small area means that bees are competing with one another for a limited supply of flowers- planting bee-attracting flowers, preferably from companies that don’t dope their plants with insecticides on the way to market, is a better way to encourage bee populations.

I plant scarlet sage on my balcony because it’s good for bees, but also because it’s native to my region—meaning that native species of bees will recognize it and be able to use it, not just domesticated bees. Many native species of bees are facing extremely fragmented habitat and resources, in part because native plants are often replaced with invasive varieties in gardens that they can’t use or recognize. If you can, plant native bee-friendly flowers and help all the bees, not just honeybees! My sage draws bees to my balcony all the time, and they never bother me—although the dog unfortunately thinks they’re an interesting snack. As a bonus, by planting natives you can help your local butterflies and moths too, not just bees! 

I really love the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s resources for identifying good native plants for a particular part of a garden or a balcony. As a bonus to letting you search for natives that fit differing conditions of shade or heat or water usage, the site also notes which wildlife use particular plants, so you can select bee-friendly or bird-friendly species quite easily. They also specify whether plants are edible—like the bird pepper I planted this spring, which was covered in tiny peppers all summer—and whether plants are naturally deer resistant. 

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