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

Plants for butterflies and hummingbirds in Louisville, KY
March 31, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Louisville KY. I have a waterfall and ponds connected by a small stream. I want to plant several plants around my waterfall- approx. 20 sq ft on both sides of waterfall....
view the full question and answer

Hybrid of Campsis radicans to attract hummingbirds
February 06, 2008 - Hello :) I am not new to gardening...just new with new varieties of plants/flowers. I tried to do my "homework" first before contacting you...so I do appreciate your time. Anyhoo, I'm developin...
view the full question and answer

Forage plants for deer in Central Texas
December 06, 2014 - Looking for best forage plants and seed for deer forage, Canyon Lake-New Braunfels, Tx. Have searched listings, but areas are NE or other and not relevant to my location. Your time much appreciated. ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a mixed hedgerow for privacy and for the birds
May 07, 2010 - What are the best native plants for a mixed hedgerow in a small backyard? I want privacy (heights 5'-10') and bird friendly. Thank you for your information.
view the full question and answer

Schedule for pollen and nectar for bees in Austin
May 27, 2010 - For beekeeping in western Travis County (Cuernavaca at Bee Caves) I need to know what nectar and pollen is flowing when. I have asked my local beekeeping club, but they are in Blackland Prairie and d...
view the full question and answer

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