Gardening to Save the Bees: What to Plant to Help Local Pollinators

A bee on a blue flower

Bees are essential to the environment. Plants need to be pollinated in order to reproduce, and most plants that we grow for food require bees to pollinate them in order to grow. However, in recent years bee populations have been declining and it is important that we do everything we can to help them. Even if all you have is a patio or balcony, you can create a planter garden with bee-friendly plants to lend a helping hand to local pollinators.

Gardening for Bees

These simple tips will help you plant a patio garden that gives bees what they need. To make sure your bee garden stays happy and healthy effortlessly, try using self-watering planters. The following tips will not only attract bees, but other local pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds as well.

Quick Tips

Make a Bee Bath

You’ve heard of a birdbath, but what about a bee bath? Bees need water to keep them cool and aid in digestion, so it’s a good idea to provide an easy source of water for them. For a simple DIY bee bath, put out a shallow dish with water in it and grab a few flat stones. Place the stones in the dish so that the tops of them are just above the water line, giving visiting bees a place to stop and rest.

Don’t Use Pesticides

When growing a bee garden, go all natural. Pesticides and other chemicals can harm pollinators, so skip those.

Don’t Weed too Much

Weeds are part of your local natural ecosystem, and bees use them for pollen too. Don’t be too strict with the weeds that inevitably pop up in your bee garden. Only pull weeds that are choking out your other plants and let a few grow. Bonus: this is good for bees and less work for you!

Staggered Blooming Times

A bee garden doesn’t do that much good if you have plants that only flower for one month in the spring. Choose various plants that bloom at different times of year so that there is always something flowering for bees to pollinate.

What to Plant

Native Wildflowers

The best thing to plant for bees is native flowering plants. Look into what wildflowers are native to your area for the best results. If you’re not sure where to start, try some of these native North American wildflowers:

  • Milkweed

  • Cosmos

  • Lupine

  • Echinacea

  • Black-Eyed Susan

  • Blue Flax

  • Butterfly Weed

  • Cornflower

  • California Poppy

  • Aster


Bees also love herbs. Allow your herb plants to flower so that bees can pollinate them. The following are good choices and easy to grow in planters:

  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Bee balm
  • Cilantro
  • Borage
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Chamomile

Ready to plant your patio bee garden? First things first, you’re going to need a planter or two! All of Algreen’s planters are made using sustainable practices and for each planter you buy, one tree is planted.

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