|Dandelions with Mt. Adams in the background|
If you want to help pollinators, it is best to have diverse flower sources that bloom throughout the year. Here are some ideas of things to plant that make a difference for bees all year long:
Trees for Bees
|Honey bee on tree blossoms|
|Honey bee on lavender|
Flowers (of course)
While they don’t provide the quantity of forage found with trees and shrubs, flowers remain an important source of food for pollinators. The best part is that virtually everyone can plant flowers for pollinators, even if you only have a small pot on a balcony. Honey bees tend to prefer daisy-like flowers with flat, open surfaces, but plant a variety of flowers with different shapes to attract and support a wider range of pollinators. Clover is one type of flower that honey bees particularly like. Allowing clover to remain in your lawn provides not only forage for pollinators but it does double-duty and fixes nitrogen for your lawn as well!
Variety is the spice of pollinators’ lives
|Bumblebee on berry flower|
Like humans, some pollinators like honey bees need a varied diet for optimum nutrition and health. Some pollinators are specialists and rely on one type of plant as their sole food source. If you want to support a wide variety of different pollinators, including honey bees, aim to grow a variety of different plants that bloom at all different times of the year. Dandelions may bring a bee to your yard, but year-round blooms will keep them there.
For more information on helping pollinators in Washington State, visit agr.wa.gov/pollinators to learn more about WSDA’s Pollinator Health Task Force.