Garden Gems: Flowers to Plant this Spring to Help Pollinators

Spring is in the air! While the icy chill of winter may not have given way to blooming blossoms and bright green leaves just yet, the season of new beginnings is around the corner.

You might be getting ready to tidy up your living space or refresh your organizational system at work in celebration of a favorite habit for many: spring cleaning. Similarly, pollinators are buzzing with excitement for their own fresh start. Bees, butterflies and other insects that pollinate some of our favorite crops are eagerly awaiting new food sources (for them, that’s flowers), whose buds will soon unfurl to full-grown plants this spring.

How can you help pollinators find fresh food? Take up gardening! If you will be planting your own flower patch, why not fill it with colorful plants that will both beautify your landscape and help feed local pollinators? As an added bonus, some are edible for humans, too.

Below are five suggestions for pollinator-attractant plants that would make a great addition to your garden this spring:

Sunflowers

Sunflower


There’s no happier plant than a sunflower! These vibrant yellow flowers are heliotropic, meaning that as they grow, they turn their stalks in the direction of sunlight. In addition to providing a delightful pop of color in your garden, they can also provide sunflower seeds – so both you and the bees have a tasty snack to enjoy.
Lavender

Lavender


This deep purple herb produces such a visually appealing hue that it has its own color named after it. Often used for the extraction of its essential oils, growing your own lavender can provide the basis for a variety of homemade hand creams or other skin and beauty products. It’s also edible and might inspire you to make a batch of lavender honey ice cream on a hot summer day.
Verbena

Verbena


To add a pop of warm color to your garden, consider planting long-blooming verbena plants, which can be blue, white, pink or purple. With their delicately clustered flowers, they are ideal for adding a border to your pollinator patch and are known for attracting butterflies.
Oregano

Oregano


You know this herb from your favorite Italian, Greek or even American-style dishes, and it’s one of pollinators’ favorite foods, too. Whether fresh or dried, this plant can be incorporated into a variety of meals and is particularly credited with enhancing the flavors of tomato-based dishes. Oregano is sure to add a fresh green touch to your garden.
Rosemary

Rosemary


Rosemary is a woody herb that you might smell before you see; it’s recognized for its aromatic needles that produce a strong, mint-like aroma. For this reason, rosemary is also a popular ingredient in aromatherapy and skin care products, and some people like to use it in the kitchen, too. Turns out pollinators also enjoy this stand-out plant! Rosemary will provide visual variation for your garden as the tall, spiky stalks pepper your landscape.

To find a longer list of pollinator-approved plants to add to your garden, along with tips and techniques for establishing your pollinator patch, check out this helpful cheat sheet.

As you celebrate a new season and all the anticipation, excitement and renewal that comes along with it, we hope you also enjoy helping to care for the bees and butterflies that make so much of it possible. As you take in the beauty of spring, don’t forget to share your garden photos using #FeedABee!