Skip to content
Mix 'n Match Discount - Save Over 20% When You Buy 20+ Packets
Save Over 20% on 20+ Packets

Save the Bees by planting these 8 Flowers in Your Pollinator Garden

It’s 2022 and the bees are dying. Not only bees, but all kinds of native pollinators–butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds, and bats–oh my! 

Native pollinators are losing habitat and food sources as more and more land is being developed for commercial use. Luckily, you can take action in your own backyard by designating a portion of your lawn, garden, or container garden as a pollinator habitat.

Choose a location that gets full or partial sun in a well-draining area of your yard or garden since most of the wildflowers on this list prefer sun and drier soil–and insects and birds like to sunbathe, too. You can also create a pollinator garden in container pots, but consider separating out these pots from the rest of your garden so that pollinators can go about their business without too much human interference.

If you want to go the extra mile, put a birdbath or two in your space–not only for birds but for bees, too–they need the water just as much. If you’re a crafty person, you might consider installing a few bee houses as well for native solitary bees like leafcutter and mason bees. 

Finally, plant your favorite combination of the following flowers and herbs to create a safe haven for pollinators in your neighborhood. Try to leave the majority of the flowers for the bees, but you can pick a few stems for yourself, too.  

  1. Echinacea

    Also known by its common name, coneflower, echinacea flowers are pollinator paradise. A member of the daisy family native to North America, echinacea have cone-shaped, spiky seed heads framed by single petals. Echinacea are bold and brazen in their coloring, ranging in hue from warm yellows and reds to cool purple. Coneflower certainly adds a pop of color to the garden. These drought-tolerant perennial plants come back season after season and are well-known for their antibiotic medicinal properties. 

  2. Lavender

    Who doesn’t love the scent of fresh lavender? Bees are no different. These bushy plants with their light purple spires attract a host of beneficial insects and native pollinators to the garden, while simultaneously repelling pests like mites and mosquitoes. Do yourself a favor and plan to have a lavender corner in your garden this year–these drought-tolerant perennials will return season after season for continual fragrance. Harvest a few sprigs of lavender and dry in bundles for some aromatherapy. Lavender is known for its calming fragrance, and the herb’s soothing properties help promote healthy sleep. 

  3. Asclepias

    Asclepias isn’t called “Butterfly Weed” for nothing. You might know this North American wildflower by its common name, milkweed. Native to the eastern United States and Canada, Asclepias is another drought-tolerant plant that can naturalize nearly anywhere. With tall stalks and clusters of brightly colored florets that attract monarchs and other butterflies, plant Asclepias in groups to liven up your garden with the constant buzzing and fluttering of happy insects. 

    Asclepias isn’t called “Butterfly Weed” for nothing. You might know this North American wildflower by its common name, milkweed. Native to the eastern United States and Canada, Asclepias is another drought-tolerant plant that can naturalize nearly anywhere. With tall stalks and clusters of brightly colored florets that attract monarchs and other butterflies, plant Asclepias in groups to liven up your garden with the constant buzzing and fluttering of happy insects. 

  4. Salvia

    A classic medicinal herb and a staple in the pollinator garden, salvia is a fragrant herb that flowers in bold and beautiful shades of red or blue. Salvia and sage are essentially the same plants–although the term salvia is more synonymous with ornamental varieties, and sage is used to describe cultivars used for culinary and medicinal purposes. A perennial bush that is sometimes grown as an annual, salvias are long-blooming, enticing bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to the garden from late spring to last frost. 

  5. Calendula

    One of the easiest plants to grow and among the first to flower in late spring, calendula deserves to hold space in anyone’s garden. Ranging in color from cream to bright orange, calendula flowers are a favorite among pollinators. Better yet, calendula is an edible flower–its flowers and leaves can be dried and made into a tea, or top your farm-fresh salad with a few calendula blossoms for a slightly sweet splash of color. 

  6. Mint

    Yet another herb that holds beneficial properties for pollinators and people alike, mint comes in several different varieties–and the bees love them all! Peppermint seems to be a favorite, and for good reason, but apple mint, chocolate mint, spearmint, and even lemon balm, another member of the mint family, are an excellent food source for pollinators, as well as a fun garnish for drinks! Harvest young mint and let it dry to make your own tea leaves. 

  7. Cosmos

    Any flower fanatic will likely already have cosmos in their garden, but did you know that pollinators love cosmos too? These sun-loving daisy-type blooms sit atop wispy foliage, dancing in the garden from midsummer to the first frost. Cosmos are one of the easiest annual flowers to grow, and with colors ranging from pure white to rich magenta, there’s sure to be a hue perfect for every flower bed. 

  8. Borage

    Blue is the rarest color in nature, so why not introduce some natural blue into your pollinator garden? Bees are just as enticed by the color as we are. These cobalt-colored, star-shaped blooms are a favorite food of pollinators and are edible for humans too! A self-seeding annual that enriches the soil, volunteer borages will happily reseed year after year, making it an easy and productive plant for the pollinator patch. 

Conclusion

Planting a pollinator garden isn’t the only way to save the bees, but it's certainly the most rewarding! Be sure a put a lawn chair out by your butterfly garden so you can watch the busybodies go about their day, flitting or buzzing from flower to flower. Native pollinators will pay you back tenfold for your kindness with the most productive vegetable garden you’ve had yet.

Previous article 2022 Planting Guide
Next article The Beginners Guide to Spring Gardening