Garden Tips

Purple Flowers

Do you have a green thumb? Gardeners define themselves in many ways. Whether you like to work in your own backyard, have a few pots on your balcony, or a large plot where you grow fruits and vegetables, you are a gardener. Bayer’s Feed a Bee initiative encourages people to grow pollinator-attractant plants to provide forage areas for bees. Also, gardeners can consider registering their garden in a national effort to help pollinators.

What to Plant

Every gardener can contribute to providing the pollen and nectar sources needed to keep bees healthy. The first step is determining the plants that will be the most popular with bees in your area.

When looking for bee-attractant plants, it’s important to select plants with flower colors that pollinators like (such as yellow, blue or purple). Also consider selecting plants that bloom across different seasons for year-round bee forage, so bees have year round access to nectar and pollen.

Home gardeners are encouraged to practice good stewardship when using pesticides. Most important is to read and follow the pesticide label. This means using the recommended dose and making applications in a way that does not impact pollinators. For example, do not apply products in windy conditions or when there is a danger of drift onto areas where there shouldn’t be pesticide. Also, avoid directly spraying flowers when bees may be foraging on them.

Choose plants native to the region where you live. Check out the Pollinator Partnership Bee Smart mobile app that helps gardeners select the best native plants in their area to attract bees.

And planting is not just limited to the spring. Many trees, including crabapples and redbuds, are also good options for planting in the fall, as trees often bloom early in the spring, offering foraging opportunities earlier in the season for bees. Planting trees and shrubs that attract bees provides food sources for years into the future.

Bee on a Purple Flower

Pollinator-attractant plants that can be grown in most areas of the United States include: Aster, Pentstemon, Bluebeard (Caryopteris), Catmints, Coneflower, Gaillardia, Lamb's Ear, Lavender, Oregano, Redbud (tree), Rosemary, Rudbeckia, Salvias, Sunflower, Thyme, Tickseed (Coreopsis) and Yarrow.

How to Plant

Good soil preparation is an important part of fall wildflower seed planting.

The first step is to get rid of the weeds that are in the garden. They can be hoed, tilled or sprayed with a properly labeled herbicide, but turning the soil to kill weeds will also help establishment of the wildflowers. Try watering the planting area and pre-germinate weed seeds, then take measures to get rid of the weed seedlings before sowing wildflowers. Wildflower seed can then be spread over the area much like grass seed, lightly raked in, or covered with a thin layer of mulch. Also, make sure to read the seed packets or consult the wildflower seed company for good information on pre-planting preparation.

With those tips you should be well on your way to a beautiful, pollinator friendly garden! We would love to see your photos! Please share photos of your flowers and gardens on social media with the hashtag #FeedABee.