Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Saturday - March 19, 2011

From: College Station, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Bee-friendly perennials for Texas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

What plants native to east-central TX (College Station, 77840) will attract honeybees? I have a small "yard" behind my condo. I'd like to plant flowering perennials that will support local bee populations. I'm not an avid gardener, so I'm interested in something that will support the bees w/out a lot of work from me.

ANSWER:

You are doing a real service to support our bees at a time when mysterious factors are causing their decline. But beware, watching bees can become addictive. There are many very interesting native bees in addition to the common honeybee. A useful website to describe this is sponsored by the Texas Bee Watchers. There you can find several lists of flowering plants favored by bees. The best strategy is to have some plants blooming at all possible times so that it is not a feast or famine situation for the bees. Even in winter bees are attracted to blooms of the non-native Rosemary(Rosemarinus officinalis). Native plants blooming in the early spring include Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita) and Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud). A bit later come Tradescantia gigantea (Giant spiderwort) and Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana (Hinckley's golden columbine). Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet)(not a perennial) and Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose) follow in April. Species holding their blossoms for some time in the summer include Wedelia texana (Zexmenia), Lantana urticoides (Texas lantana) and Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood). Texas kidneywood is a bee magnet in central Texas, and may also thrive in College Station. In the autumn Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed), Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (Aromatic aster) and Solidago nemoralis (Gray goldenrod) will kick in. These are but a few of the many bee-friendly plants native to Texas. Check out the growing conditions on these examples by clicking on the species names. None of them should require a great deal of work once they start growing.

 

From the Image Gallery


Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Giant spiderwort
Tradescantia gigantea

Hinckley's golden columbine
Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Zexmenia
Wedelia acapulcensis var. hispida

Texas lantana
Lantana urticoides

Aromatic aster
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

Gray goldenrod
Solidago nemoralis

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Texas kidneywood
Eysenhardtia texana

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Bird attracting plants in Northeast U.S.
March 22, 2004 - What plants will attract birds in zone 6 (Northeast) in the spring and early summer?
view the full question and answer

Wildlife Habitat Restoration in Quebec, Canada
December 30, 2009 - Hi there. What are the best trees and shrubs for wildlife restoration in Quebec? thanks!
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent erosion in IL
August 02, 2012 - We just got done building a house and have leveled all of the dirt piles. We do have a row of straw bales to help prevent the dirt from washing onto the neighbors property. It is the wrong time of ye...
view the full question and answer

Latin name for botany mist in McAllen TX
November 10, 2009 - What is the latin name or formal name of botany mist which is a Queen butterfly nectar source in the Rio Grande Valley?
view the full question and answer

Wildlife garden for PA
October 12, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty plants, I am a student at Allegheny College, Meadville, PA. I am working on my senior thesis, and I hope to submit a successful proposal to plant a native species and wildlife garden ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.