Explore Plants

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
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
2 ratings

Wednesday - November 30, 2011

From: Melbourne, AR
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildlife Gardens, Wildflowers
Title: Bee-pasture recommendations for AR
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Hello, I live in Melbourne, Ar, up in the NE corner of the state. I keep bees and would like to put in a couple acres of something for them. I'm leaning towards Viper's Bugloss. Do you know where I can find these seeds in bulk, or anything else about how to plant this? I have other property that doesn't get full sun that I'd like to fill with something the bees can benefit the most from. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

Greetings,

 That sounds a great idea, to plant a few acres in bee-friendly plants to support them and keep the bees happy.  Unfortunately, we can’t help you much with Vipers Bugloss.  Although it is naturalised in many parts of the continent, it is an import from Europe/Asia. It is even considered an invasive species in Washington.  The Wildflower Center mission is to promote the use and conservation of native plants, so we simply don’t have that information.

Let me instead encourage you to buy some native plant seeds and make a native bee pasture.  This is discussed in an article by the University of Georgia Extension – Establishing a Bee Pasture. What I have used for my plant recommendations is to start with a generic list of bee-friendly plants from About.com which I have matched with the recommended plants list for Arkansas that is here on the Wildflower Centers website.  The Honeybee Conservancy recommended that you should  “Plan for blooms season-round. Plant at least three different types of flowers to ensure blooms through as many seasons as possible, thus providing bees with a constant source of food.”
Assuming that you are looking for a year-around bee-food area rather than a mono-culture honey, I am listing a variety of matching species.  These are:

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (Common elderberry)

Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus (Trumpetweed)

Penstemon cobaea (Wild foxglove)

Penstemon digitalis (Mississippi penstemon)

Penstemon grandiflorus (Large beardtongue)

Penstemon murrayanus (Scarlet beardtongue)

Echinacea angustifolia (Black sampson)

Echinacea pallida (Pale purple coneflower)

Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

 OK, that’s a pretty long list; and you also asked about where to buy seeds.  Our Suppliers list has the capability to search for suppliers that are close to a location.  I tried that for your city and had this result.

However, another route you may want to consider is that bulk seed suppliers may already have a mix, ready to go!  So, it's worthwhile to contact them and discuss this.  For instance, Native American Seed has a Butterfly mix that looks like it would do very nicely for your purpose.

 

From the Image Gallery


Wild foxglove
Penstemon cobaea

Mississippi penstemon
Penstemon digitalis

Yellow coneflower
Echinacea paradoxa

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

More Wildflowers Questions

Need help with a Coreopsis eating beetle in Shiro, TX
April 20, 2011 - Mr.Smarty Plants,(Sorry, I kept messing up with my emails) Anyway, here goes: I usually have a beautiful meadow full of lanceleaf coreopsis blooming by now. Not this year. I found to my horror every s...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Septic Field in NC
August 14, 2013 - What kinds of low water plants can I plant over a new septic field in North Carolina? The area is part sun so I am concerned about having trouble getting grass started.
view the full question and answer

Lupinus perennis Poisonous to Dogs?
April 14, 2013 - I have heard that some lupine varieties are quite poisonous to dogs, others are not. Do you know if it's safe for my dogs if I plant and encourage Lupinus perennis in my NH meadow?
view the full question and answer

Care of native black-eyed susans after blooming
September 30, 2004 - What is the best way to take care of black-eyed susans once they have lost their blooms? Am I supposed to cut them down to the base, or just let them die out naturally. Also, they all have a white re...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly Garden, non-poisonous to Dogs, in Taylor MI
March 27, 2014 - I have a small fenced yard with a patio that my dogs have free access to. I would like to create a butterfly garden and add other plants that are non toxic to my dachshunds. Any suggestions. I am f...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.