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Sunday - February 03, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Native, deer-resistant flowering plants attractive to bees
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I am adding several beehives to our property this spring. I would also like to add more native, flowering, deer-resistant plants that bees love as well. Any recommendations? I live in SW Austin, quite close to the Wildflower Center.


Congratulations on your project! As you may know, there has been a disturbing trend of the bee population declining and, in some areas, almost disappearing. Giving them a new habitat will be one small step in reversing that trend, we hope. First of all, just for an overview, here is an excellent article, "What's the Buzz on Planting a Bee Garden?" by Stephen Buchman. Next, since there are many similarities and interchangeable information on planting for bees, wildflower meadows and butterfly gardening, go to the "How To Articles" and, in particular, read the articles on Wildflower Meadow Gardening and Butterfly Gardening Resources.

You are also very wise to elect to plant only native plants. Sticking to plants native to your area is important in establishing and maintaining some sort of natural balance for the bees and other pollinators that will be patrons of your garden. You surely already know to avoid spraying herbicides or pesticides, which can certainly disturb the bee population, and natives are far less likely to fall prey to the pests that might need to be artificially treated. On the subject of deer resistance, all we can say is there is no such plant as deer proof-the deer will eat your mailbox if they get hungry enough. What we can do is point out that there is some information on deer resistance on some of the plant information pages, and we'll give you what we know about each. The plants we have listed as suggested are all native to Texas and should do well in the Austin area.

Liatris elegans (pinkscale blazing star) No information on deer resistance

Gaillardia pinnatifida (red dome blanketflower) Low deer resistance

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm) High deer resistance

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower) No deer resistance

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan) High deer resistance

Clematis drummondii (Drummond's clematis) Minimal deer resistance

Coreopsis grandiflora (largeflower tickseed) No information on deer resistance

Solidago nemoralis (gray goldenrod) Moderate deer resistance

Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena) High deer resistance

Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower) Low deer resistance

Plumbago scandens (doctorbush) Low deer resistance

Salvia coccinea (blood sage) High deer resistance

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita) High deer resistance

And, finally, you will probably wonder where to get these plants. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center holds two Plant Sales a year. Since you live in the Austin area, you might want to attend the Spring Sale on Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13. Also, refer to our list of Native Plant Suppliers to find nurseries or seed companies in your area that sell native plants.

Liatris elegans

Gaillardia pinnatifida

Monarda citriodora

Echinacea purpurea

Rudbeckia hirta

Clematis drummondii

Coreopsis grandiflora

Solidago nemoralis

Lantana urticoides

Ratibida columnifera

Plumbago scandens

Salvia coccinea

Chrysactinia mexicana



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