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Saturday - March 09, 2013

From: Victoria, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pollinators, Wildlife Gardens
Title: Bee Plants for Victoria Texas
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I live in Victoria south Texas and want to plant bee beneficial native wildflowers, could you provide advice or contact

ANSWER:

You bet Mr. Smarty Plants can provide advice [perhaps too much!].  I even learned quite a bit researching this question.    

My normal way to start into a question such as this is to go have a look at the Recommended Species  for your area.  This web link is to the recommended species list for South Texas

Looking just a bit deeper on that page though- I found a whole section of the Recommended Species page dealt with Plants of Special Value to Bees; I have copied it completely below:

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees - Attracts large numbers of native bees.
Special Value to Bumble Bees - Attracts large numbers of bumble bees.
Special Value to Honey Bees - Important pollen or nectar sources (honey plant) for honey bees.
Provides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees - Plants that native bees nest beneath, within, or harvest parts from to construct their nests.
Supports Conservation Biological Control - Plants that attracts predatory or parasitoid insects that prey upon pest insects.

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

 OK – We’re definitely in the area of “too much Information”. I have three ways to be a bit more selective,

1)     Cross-referencing the two lists (S. Texas, Honeybees) gives Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower) and Monarda punctata (Spotted beebalm) as plants that are recommended for both the value to bees and as good in your area.

2)    Or - - On the South Texas list – for each flower – you can look in the comments for “BENEFIT” for entries such as “Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects.”.  This recommendation supports Abutilon hypoleucum (Rio grande abutilon), Amblyolepis setigera (Huisache daisy) and Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood) as good choices.

3)    Or - - In the “Special Value to Bumble Bees” list [or any of the others] – You can review the USDA listing for likely flowers to see if they are native to your area.  Sometimes this map only shows Texas, but often, by clicking on the “Texas”, you can get detail right to the county level.  Trying this, Asclepias asperula (Spider milkweed), Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) and Baptisia sphaerocarpa (Bush pea) would be good and are native to Texas near Victoria.

I hope these suggestions help! - - If not, I’ve given you good lists and the tools to make your own selections.

 

From the Image Gallery


Maximilian sunflower
Helianthus maximiliani

Spotted beebalm
Monarda punctata

Huisache daisy
Amblyolepis setigera

Texas kidneywood
Eysenhardtia texana

Bush pea
Baptisia sphaerocarpa

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

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