Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
2 ratings

Sunday - August 12, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Native plants to attract bees for vegetable garden
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm looking for native plants that can help attract bees around my vegetable garden to help with pollination. What recommendations do you have?

ANSWER:

Bees, honey bees and native solitary bees, are especially attracted to plants in the aster family (Family Asteraceae), buckwheat family (Family Polygonaceae), and mint family (Family Lamiaceae). Here are some suggestions for plants native to Travis County, Texas that are good bee attractors:

Asteraceae

Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed)

Helianthus annuus (common sunflower)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Echinacea angustifolia (blacksamson echinacea)

Solidago nemoralis (gray goldenrod)

Polygonaceae

Eriogonum longifolium (longleaf buckwheat)

Eriogonum multiflorum (heartsepal buckwheat)

Lamiaceae

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

Salvia farinacea (mealycup sage)

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has a list of bee attracting plants where you can find more suggestions for plants for your garden. Please realize that all those plants on the list are not native to your area and, indeed, some are not even native to North America. For a list of plants native Travis County, visit the web page of the Austin chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas.

For a discussion of the mysterious disappearance of honeybees (Apis mellifera), there is an excellent article, Stung, by Elizabeth Kolbert, in the August 6, 2007 issue of the New Yorker.


Coreopsis tinctoria

Helianthus annuus

Rudbeckia hirta

Echinacea angustifolia

Solidago nemoralis

Eriogonum multiflorum

Monarda citriodora

Salvia coccinea

Salvia farinacea

 

 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Dead woody plants in wildlife garden in Austin
March 02, 2011 - I am an enthusiastic and pretty successful wildlife gardener, have studied my Wasowski "Bible", but I can't get any evergreens established in my yard! We live on blackland clay, which I amend with ...
view the full question and answer

hummingbird attractants
May 03, 2012 - I live in Baytown, Texas and am looking for a variety of plants that attract Hummingbirds, but are also pet friendly. I have two dogs, so this is a major concern. I am putting the plants in my backyar...
view the full question and answer

Interested in a mini food forest
February 04, 2013 - I am interested in starting a mini "food forest" in a twelve foot by twelve foot patch of earth next to my house. I'd like to put a focus on making sure that the bulk of the plants I introduce are ...
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping and wildlife gardening in Clifton, TX
November 29, 2004 - I am moving to Clifton, TX, and I will have an empty lot in the town along with my own home/lot. What kind of soil can I expect? I want to grow a wildflower site to just sit and enjoy and feed the a...
view the full question and answer

Planting for parrots
March 23, 2005 - I have 2 parrots, a sun conure and a nanday conure, and I would like to find some plants to put in their aviary room that are safe for parrots. Can you help me with this question?
view the full question and answer

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