Planting For Bees and Butterflies


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I've been reading books on beekeeping and planting flowers for butterflies. I found out that lupines don't provide nectar but the plant is food for many caterpillars species. For bees, you have to make sure to plant different kinds of flowers because some bees have short tongues and others have longer tongues. I learned that the orchid bee and bumblebees are better for fruit trees. Mostly though, I've been trying to cram as many flowers into a small space as I can. Has anyone made a butterfly or bee garden? Any advice?
 
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This spring I planted a bunch of new perennials and made sure every one was pollinator-friendly (and mostly native.) Butterfly bushes, coneflowers, milkweed, black-eyed susans. Bees also really really like clover! I have lots in my yard and leave the margins of my side yard un-mowed, so clover and other wild plants go nuts. :) Luckily I live in an area where nobody minds that I don't have a perfectly-groomed yard.
 
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We keep bees, and have found that borage is a favorite flower of honeybees. They also love clover--we planted an acre of hubam clover specifically for our bees. Bees will go to almost any flower for either pollen or nectar. Bees like roses, zinnias, salvias, almost anything that blooms.
 

JBtheExplorer

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Has anyone made a butterfly or bee garden? Any advice?
My entire garden is intended to help native bees, butterflies, and all local wildlife. The best thing you can do is plant native plants. They're the best option to help native bees and butterflies. Obviously (to some more than others), native bee and butterfly species go hand in hand with native plant species, which makes it highly important to use natives if you intend to help native insects. Native plants generally refer to those that are native to your exact area, but I occasionally add plants that are native to other parts of the US if I find that they benefit the same species of insects/animals.

Gaillardia is one that is native to most of the US, but not my area. It greatly attracts bees and butterflies, so I added it.
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Penstemon attracts long-tongued bees as well as hummingbirds.
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Spiderwort is an early season bee-magnet.
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Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is another that attracts bees and butterflies, and they flower for months, so they're a reliable nectar source. Consider Purple Coneflower as well.
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Milkweed is the host plant for Monarch Butterflies. So, not only is it a nectar source for pollinators, it's also the only plant Monarch Butterflies can lay their eggs on. I grow four different species, including the popular Orange Milkweed.
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If you want the ultimate Monarch Butterfly magnet, consider adding Meadow Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylis).



There are other ways to help bees, too. Leave dead stems cut at least 2' tall. Bees will use them to nest in as well as shelter in. You can also drill holes in logs and place them around the garden.

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Gaillardia is also a favorite of my local bees, even more so then Rudebeckia or Coneflower. Some also really like lavender. Bumblebees, which are not honeymakers do love lupine tho. It depends on what bees you want to attract.

White clover is a favorite for bees, but invasive if you have grass...but there are honeys totally dedicated to clover honey! Just dont walk your grass barefooted! Lol!
 
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My gardens and lawns are 100% pollinator friendly, Pesticide and Herbicide free. right down to the white clover lawn that not only the bees love it but the Robins love the worms and other bugs they find, I don't see many honey bees until mid to late May, its still a little to cold for them. In a few weeks my grape vines will be full of honey bees.
 
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