15 Plants You Can Grow to Help Save Bees

Spring is here! What better time to think about how to save the bees?

We need those fuzzy, buzzy creatures—we have them (and other pollinators) to thank for a third of every bite we take!

And they need us (unless we’re wielding a pesticide, of course).

Bee populations have been plummeting, thanks to a condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder, which means many foods (and wild plants) are at risk.

In the United States alone, more than 25 percent of the managed honey bee population has disappeared since 1990. Bees are one of a myriad of other animals, including birds, bats, beetles, and butterflies, called pollinators. Pollinators transfer pollen and seeds from one flower to another, fertilizing the plant so it can grow and produce food. Cross-pollination helps at least 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of our wild plants to thrive. Without bees to spread seeds, many plants—including food crops—would die off. (Source: NRDC Bee Facts)

Photo: shutterstock

In the last half decade alone 30 percent of the national bee population has disappeared and nearly a third of all bee colonies in the U.S. have perished. A study last year found 35 pesticides and fungicides, some at lethal doses, in the pollen collected from bees that were used to pollinate food crops in five U.S. states. Bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were found to be three times as likely to be infected by a parasite linked to colony collapse.

You can learn more about bees by listening to the latest Green Divas Radio Show featuring Maryam Henein, director of the award-winning documentary Vanishing of the Bees.

15 plants that can help save the bees:

One way to help is to increase the number of bees and other pollinators in your area by including plants that provide essential habitat. Here are 15 that can be grown in most areas of the U.S., although it’s ideal to plant native plants (see “important tips” at the end of the list).

1. Lavandula spp. (Lavender)

2. Rosemarinus officinalis (Rosemary)

3. Salvia spp. (Sage)

4. Echinacea spp. (Coneflower)

5. Helianthus spp. (Sunflower)

6. Cercis spp. (Redbud)

7. Nepeta spp. (Catnip)

8. Penstemon spp. (Penstemon)

9. Stachys spp. (Lamb’s ears)

10. Verbena spp. (Verbena)

11. Phacelia spp. (Bells or Phacelia)

12. Aster spp. (Aster)

13. Rudbeckia spp. (Black-eyed Susan)

14. Origanum spp. (Oregano)

15. Achilliea millefolium (Yarrow)

Important tips: It’s best to plant native plants. Click here to find a native plant nursery in your area. Click here to download the BeeSmart app, which will guide you in selecting plants for pollinators specific to your area. Purchase plants or seeds that haven’t been treated in pesticides, which can kill the bees.

Take action!

Urge the EPA to refuse to approve any insecticides unless scientists confirm they present no threat to bees and other pollinators. Click here to sign the Care2 petition.

Join the Beevolution!

Education is key. For every $50 donated to the Save the Honeybee Foundation, one school will be able to receive a copy of Vanishing of the Bees for free.

Written by Lynn Hasselberger, Green Diva and Founder of myEARTH360.com.

* * *

Watch the Vanishing of the Bees trailer on the next page:


julie c.
julie c2 years ago

My honey bees love my Chinese Tallow trees when they put out their many stands of hanging pollen brackets they cover the trees collecting pollen for weeks, you can hear the buzzing of what sounds like an army of bees! They have been living in between the wall of the playhouse for years, so large of a hive that you can smell the honey when you stand by the playhouse outer wall. I would like to relocate them into bee hives under a group of large shady trees closer to our pond easier for them to collect water

Elizabeth Brawn
Elizabeth Brawn3 years ago

i wiuld like to do this

Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

We are helped actually

Barbara O.
Barbara O.3 years ago

Bumble and honey bees also love my anemone flowers. They can take over the whole bush by fall in m midwest state area.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson4 years ago

I will plant them ASA I am capable.

Mary Beth M.
MaryBeth M4 years ago

Happy to see that I have most of these! The bees also love the raspberry bushes. I love to watch them- so busy. I also think it is important to educate people, especially kids, on the difference between wasps and bees. So many just assume any flying, winged yellow and black insect is a "bee". While there are varieties of bees, they don't have a waist, and unless Africanized, tend to be docile and generally will not sting unless provoked or defending the hive. Wasps, on the other hand, have a waist, come in many varieties and are often aggressive. I've seen too many people randomly try to kill "bees" erroneously assuming that they will attack. Leave them alone and they will leave you alone.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe4 years ago

We had a hard winter, so I lost some of my plants. I will replace them and get some others on the list.
When my son was young, he was so scared of being stung. I told him that if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone!

Briony Coote
Briony C4 years ago

When bees start disappearing, you really know the environment is under threat.

Clare M.
Clare M4 years ago