Not everyone can keep bees, but everyone can help the bees.
Did you know that a bee can visit up to 5,000 flowers in a single day? In a single trip, a honey bee will visit up to 50-100 flowers. Often she will stick to one 'type' of flower during a foraging trip to enhance efficiency and productivity. That is why it's helpful to plant double of the same species in your garden to lower competition and provide enough resources for the bee's visit. It takes about 556 worker bees to gather 1 pound of honey from 2 million flowers. And get this, one average bee will only make 1/12 a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
While you may not be ready to foster a hive, you can help become a bee guardian by helping to supply safe environments and habitats for bees to forage healthy food. Not only do flowers enhance beauty and happiness in your life, planting a range of fauna increases biodiversity for a web of species around you. You create a micro biosphere to support living species that benefits from this symbiotic exchange towards land regeneration. Whether you want to plant a medicinal garden, culinary, drought tolerant, or CA native there is always bee/pollinator foods that you can plant in your garden which can support bee diversity. Just how we need a well-balanced diet, so do the bees! Below are a few suggestions you can include in your garden to either help your bees or attract fellow pollinators to you!
The plant index that I am going to share is my personal favorite or what I have observed over the years. Is it the only plant you can put in your garden that will be nourishing to bees? No way! It also will depend on what zone you are in! I hope that you'll find what you will and identify what plant allies resonate best with you and what you envision for your space!
"The Foolproof Five"
Borage (Borago Officinalis) also known as "starflower." It is an annual herb that blooms over three seasons. It's known for being a great pollinator because it replenishes its nectar production every 15 minutes!
Lavender (Lavendula) is a perennial shrub and has many varieties that bloom at different times of the year, often in June/July when foraging can become more limited. The fragrant plant attracts bees to it because of the pollen and nectar which feeds the bee. Many culinary and medicinal benefits.
Salvia: A large plant genus that is available in countless sizes and colors which all provide consistent food for bees. You can find a variety of salvias for each season! We will cover more species below.
Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus) one of my personal favorites! They bloom early and late into the season, giving bees a good 'head start' at the beginning of the season and a 'final treat' at the end of the season before winter comes. It is an evergreen, bushy herb! One great for culinary and medicinal properties as well!
Thyme (Thymus) a low-growing herb that blooms spring through summer. A sweet culinary herb that is often a kitchen (and bee favorite!) It is 95% effective for treating some of the biggest killers of honeybee hives (varroa mites, tracheal mites, and chalkbrood). Thyme blooms are an excellent nectar source, providing enough food to produce 150 pounds of honey per acre.
Perennial: A plant that lives more than two years. Grows and blooms over the spring and summer then die back every autumn and winter. It will return in the spring from its rootstock. (Also can be known as herbaceous perennials.) Often interchangeably with deciduous.
Annual: A plant that completes its life cycle, from germination to the production of seeds, within one growing season, and then dies.
Evergreen: A plant that has leaves throughout the year that are always green.
Subshrub: Or dwarf shrub, is a short woody plant, also known as a brush.
Biennial: A flowering plant that takes two years to complete its biological life cycle. In the first year, the plant grows leaves, stems, and roots then it enters a period of dormancy over the colder months. Usually, the stem remains very short and the leaves are low to the ground, forming a rosette. During the next spring or summer, the stem of the biennial plant bolts. The plant then flowers, producing fruits and seeds before it finally dies.
Choose primarily plants that feed pollinators (native bees too!) As agriculture and land development outcompete and eliminate wild forage, opt to create a rich range of planting to create a much-needed food source.
Maintain a variety of plants that will bloom in every season.
Plant in groupings, remember that bees harvest from one type of plant at a time! It helps to reduce the distance they have to fly if you plant a series of multiple plant groupings.
Plant a diverse section of flowers, shrubs, trees, and vines. Not only is going to beautify your space but it will also enhance the habitat the bees come to forage. All the different heights, shapes, and colors attract a variety of bees, butterflies, and birds!
KEEP SOIL HEALTHY. Healthy soil --> healthy plants --> healthy bees! Nutrient soil is rich in living microorganisms that feed plant roots with moisture and minerals. SOIL IS ALIVE! It needs to be nurtured and loved!
Avoid using pesticides. Please. Do NOT use chemical pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, bactericides, or fungicides. It can kill beneficial insects and organisms that come to feed on the plant. Please seek out alternatives and nontoxic garden solutions.
If you have to spray do it at night
Let neighbors or beekeepers in the area know.
Spray and prevent drift and only spray when there is no wind.
Seek alternatives such as praying mantis, ladybugs, or vinegar solutions.
Cool- Season Bloomers (late winter- early spring)
Borage (Borago Officinalis)
Borage is an easy, fast-growing annual herb with vivid blue flowers and the flavor and scent of cucumbers. While it is considered an herb. Put it in water to get a natural cooling effect. Great for pollinators because the nectar replenishes itself every 15 mins!
California Lilac (Ceanothus)
Ceanothus is a genus of about 50–60 species of nitrogen-fixing shrubs and small trees in the buckthorn family. Fast-growing and drought tolerant! Evergreen and are a CA native. From frosty light blue to breathtaking cobalt and indigo, blooming from (March-May or longer.)
Beautiful 6 - 20 ft tall x10 ft wide tree/shrub with delicate white blooms. Supports wildlife from birds, hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. The small white flowers, only a quarter-inch long, are cup-shaped and hang upside down. It is native to California, where it can be found primarily in the North Coast Range, and in the northern and central Sierra Nevada foothills.
A shrub with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean. Clusters of pale blue to white flowers appear in winter and spring, sporadically appearing in summer or fall; providing great food for bees! Can often grow between 2-6ft x 2-5ft but can be contained in pots. It has been used as a medicinal, aromatic, and culinary herb. Drought tolerant and literally grows in any type of soil or condition.
Pink rock-rose (Cistus creticus)
One of my favorites!! These bushy evergreen shrubs have flamboyant, deep pink flowers with pollen centers. Although each flower lasts only for a day, this vigorous shrub provides a succession of flowers for weeks in late spring with reblooms throughout the summer. Plus, how can you measure beauty? It makes you treasure each bloom more.
Variegated Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium 'Brise d'Anjou')
An herbaceous perennial with a sweet bunch of blue flowers that mound together against its bright variegated green and white foliage. It makes excellent use as contrast or an accent in beds and borders. Growing on average12-18 in x 24 in wide. It provides both pollen and nectar to bees early in spring and even provides resources for other pollinators such as butterflies and moths! Because the stigma extends beyond the stamens, preventing self-pollination, requiring pollinators aid.
Chocolate Chip Ajuga (Ajuga reptans 'Chocolate Chip')
A dwarf, spreading ground cover, creates a tight mat of rich, chocolate brown foliage with dark green undertones. When ready to bloom spikes of lacy blue flowers rise above the foliage in the spring. Bees don't like to forage in weather too cold, so when it's windy they don't have to fly too high in the air and pollinate close to the ground.
California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)t
The state's flower is native to the Pacific slope of North America from Western Oregon to Baja California. Ranges from a variety of colors white, purple, orange, and red! They Bloom spring and early summer, and then the tops will die back and the plants become dormant during the heat of the summer.
Sticky monkeyflower (Diplacus aurantiacus)
My favorite CA native! They smell amazing and are indeed sticky! Colors range from white to red, the most common color being a light orange. They are pollinated by bees and hummingbirds. The stigmas are notably sensitive and will close after being touched. They need that sweet bee touch!
This evergreen shrub has a tropical look with a sweet aromatic scent which is irresistible to pollinators because of its nectar and pollen-rich blooms. You can get some variety that can be dense and compact, making a great hedge. Other times they can be pruned into small trees. They also can be grown in containers and this controls their size. If you want to attract more pollinators to your garden this will be a magnet! My favorite thing to grow! Long bloom period March- September!
Echium fastuosum “Pride of Madeira”
A biennial mounding shrub that grows up to 5-6 feet and spreads 6-10 feet. It displays eye-catching cone-shaped blue clusters that bloom from spring through summer. Deer and drought resistant. It is great for coastal zones because it is salt wind resistant as well. Attracts many pollinators.
Scabiosa columbaria ‘Flutter Deep Blue’
Scabiosa is a genus in the honeysuckle family of flowering plants. It has non-stop blooms all season with violet-blue flowers above a mounded deep green foliage. There is a wide range of colors that scabiosa comes in! Great for cutting and making arrangements or leaving them in your garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Herbaceous perennial. Drought tolerant once established. 12-14 inches x 10-12 inches.
Slightly Strawberry (Anisodontea)
This compact mallow, native to South Africa, is a terrific addition to a drought-tolerant garden. It will bloom throughout summer with very little care or attention. The flowers are 3 inches in diameter, warm pink with a raspberry eye and veins, and will cover the plant. For large pots, this cape mallow is a great centerpiece. Can do well in containers in both full sun, but prefers part shade from the hottest part of the day. The ideal condition is morning sun and partial shade in the afternoon.
Fremont’s Bush Mallow (Malacothamnus fremontii)
California Native shrub that has a very ethereal look which is a great addition to any dry garden. It requires no summer water once it's established. It can grow taller than 6’, staying upright, & not wider than tall. It also has the audacity to bloom from April all the way through till Autumn! Bees love!
Bluewitch Nightshade (Solanum umbelliferum)
Despite being toxic to humans and animals insects and pollinators love it! This nectar-producing flower has stems that are densely hairy and branched. The leaves are grey-green, elliptical to oval, and typically smooth-edged. The flower is blue to purple in color, consisting of five petals fused, with contrasting yellow anthers. Typically blooms from January to June and attracts butterflies and bees. It is a small shrub that grows to about 3 feet in height.
Glacier Blue (Euphorbia characias)
You can't go wrong with any euphorbia. I am a big fan of this one, Blackbird, and Donkeytail Spurge (which does well in a container.) This specific variegated spurge is an evergreen with cream-edged and blue-gray foliage. Creamy white flowers and bracts bloom in late winter and spring. Great for bees, but know that the plant is poisonous to animals like dogs and cats. You'll also want to make sure you wear gloves because it produces a white sap when cut that can irritate your skin.
Baby sage (Salvia microphylla Kunth)
Saliva microphylla is a perennial evergreen shrub, roughly 5ft or so in height. It is similar to S. greggii. One of the most distinctive cultivars is S. 'Hot Lips.' Especially in CA, flowers will bloom continuously throughout much of the growing season; beginning in early spring. They attract many honeybees, Xylocopa species, and small Halictus bee species to your garden! Drought tolerant and deer resistant. 36-48" tall x 24-36" wide.
Sweet Pea Shrub ‘Petite Butterfly’ (Polygala fruticosa)
Masses of vibrant, purple-magenta, pea-like flowers will adorn the compact mound of gray-green foliage for much of the year. It is a compact shrub, growing only 3 feet tall with a rounded habit. A wonderful patio container plant and useful for mass plantings or mixed into a flowering perennial garden. Evergreen. Its flowers look a bit like sweet peas hence the common name 'Sweet-Pea Shrub'.
English Thyme (Thymus vulgaris 'English')
So many thymes you can choose from. I enjoy the English thyme simply because I make a lot of soups and I like the gentle touch, but german thyme is a close runner-up! Thyme is great to plant near your beehives because they aid in pest management (as well as being a yummy food source for the bees!)
Beautiful, easy to grow, and delicious. There is a variety of colors you can choose all of which are bold that float above lily pad-shaped leaves. All parts of the flower can be used which gives off a spicy, peppery tang which makes for a great pesto! They out over the sprawl out over the ground, so they suppress weeds and shade the soil when grown near tall plants. They also are used to help deter less desirable insects or repel deer and rabbits. However, they do attract butterflies and hummingbirds! Great medicinal ally which is used to help UTIs and respiratory infections.
Pink Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum)
A strong and fast-growing vine that acts as an evergreen of glossy green foliage, but develops a spectacular display of pink buds that open to intensely fragrant white flowers from late winter to spring. The presence of both bloom and bud throughout the flowering season gives it a wonderful bi-color effect. SMELLS AMAZING and attracts a lot of pollinators due to its nectar source.
Coyote Bush (Baccharis pilularis)
Blooming from May till December, this shrub will provide a rich nectar and pollen source for all visiting pollinators. Two varieties are most common, Ssp. pilularis, which is more common along the central coast and Ssp. consanguinea which is found all along the coast and inland to the Coast Ranges and the foothills of the Sierras. It has yellow and creamy white flowers that are bountiful and a magnet for pollinators!
Warm-season bloomers (late spring to summer)
Buckwheat, all species (Eriogonum)
I am a big fan of CA Natives Coast Buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium) and California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum.) Both are beautiful and attract many pollinators to them. They are a perennial mounding herb that can range from colors pink to white. Often they only get to be about 1.7 - 2.3 ft tall and 3 ft wide. Great for rock gardens/sandy soil.
Agastache Blue Boa (Hyssop, Hummingbird Mint)
A stunning hybrid variety that blooms for many months from mid-to-late summer with showy spikes of deep violet-blue flowers. You can choose from a variety of Agastache, this is just one of my favorite colors. Heavy nectar-producing! You can even pick off the petals and eat them or put them in your water to give it a touch of sweetness!
Nepeta Catmint "Junior Walker Low"
This herbaceous perennial is a member of the mint family. It is long-blooming, heat tolerant, resistant to pests and diseases, and easy to grow! It often is confused with catnip, which is great for bees too! I like this nepeta because it is less invasive than other culinary mints that you want to make sure you place in a pot to take over your garden. The walker low and other catmint series are less invasive and just as welcoming to pollinators.
Lamb's ear 'Helen von Stein'
Dense, mat-forming woolly gray-green perennial. The leaves are hairy and soft and resemble the ears of a lamb. Soft lavender flowers bloom, providing a sweet scent to your garden. Makes lovely dry arrangements and holds the scent well too. 12in x 18in wide. Can handle full sun and spread fairly easy, acts as a great ground cover is both deer and rabbit resistant! If stung by a bee you can create a yarrow/plantain rub and wrap it with Lamb's ear to substitute as your bandaid!
Red Valerian 'Jupiter's Beard" (Centranthus)
An everblooming wildflower with clusters of tiny dark red flowers held over deep green foliage. It is a tough, durable plant, that multiples fast! Once established it needs minimal care! A great burst of color and attracts a plethora of pollinators to it. Grows around 24-36"x 30" in your garden and can handle full sun. Blooming late spring and early summer. Comes in yellow too!
Digitalis purpurea 'Camelot Rose' "Foxglove"
A variety of perennial or biennial plant that produces 3- to 4-foot-tall spikes with trumpet-shaped pink flowers and green foliage. You’ll get hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, cut flowers, and no deer! Blooms late spring through midsummer, better the second year. They make great cut flowers and do really great after a good pruning and do a second batch that comes back more full, encouraging new growth!
Black Sage, honey sage (Salvia mellifera Greene)
Black sage is an evergreen shrub both 6 ft high and wide. When crusted, leaves have a strong but pleasant aroma. It is native to SF Bay Area and into Baja Ca. It is a primary nectar source for bees. If planted near your beehive is will give your honey a strong peppery taste which is unique and rare to come by!
Sea- Holly (Eryngium species)
Attractive iridescent blue-grey foliage with tiny flower clusters that bunch together in tight floral heads which resembles thistle heads. They mostly produce nectar. It brings in a high number of diverse bee species ranging from; Megachile, Halictus, Bombus, and honey bees. Once established they need little care and can tolerate drought conditions.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium 'Proa')
While you can plant a wide range of various yarrows in your garden, I recommend the medicinal yarrow, Proa. It blooms from June to September and you can use various portions of the plant for different healing modalities. It is umbellate shaped with flowering tops has numerous white 5-petaled flowers with yellow stamens. They are clustered on a long straight stalk. The whole plant is wonderfully aromatic and reminiscent of chamomile and pinon pine. It is higher yielding because it self-sows. If you are wanting a more 'clumped' or 'well- behaved' yarrow you may want to go with another variety like Paprika or Red Velvet!
Monarda didyma 'Jacob Cline'
A sturdy perennial wildflower that expands to form upright clumps with big rose-red flowers. It is one of the most mildew-resistant bee balms and tends to attract many pollinators to it. Bumblebees, swallowtail butterflies, and hummingbirds sip nectar from the flowers. This deep red is a rare shade and adds a great dimension to the garden with its height and flora color.
Cuphea ‘Starfire Pink’ (cigar plant)
A very tough, versatile, easy, fast, and evergreen plant. It produces countless 1” bunny-faced blooms year-round and a dense shrubby habit to 3’ high and wide. It’s heat and shade tolerant, too! Given part to full sun and rich soil with average water, the plant can bloom so much the foliage becomes almost entirely obscured. Does great in pots! Another two that I love are Cuphea ignea 'Dynamite' and Cuphea llevera 'Bat Face'!
Basil 'African Blue' (Ocimum kilimandscharicum x basilicum)
This is a must that I feel many beekeepers should include in their garden. It grows about 4 feet tall and almost as wide. The dark violet-red blooms are gorgeous and fragrant and are excellent for cut bouquets. It is a bit more chill tolerant and often still flowers up till Thanksgiving. The leaves make a very mild pesto with a hint of camphor.
Pink Lemonade Thyme (Thymus 'Pink Lemonade')
Unique thyme for your garden because of its unique non-variegated lemon-scented aroma that blooms profuse pink flowers. It is also nice because it blooms later in summer after many other thymes have finished. Definitely wins the "blooms the longest" award!
Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)
Bright green ruffled leaves with a great lemon scent and flavor. Lemon balm was originally grown as a honey bee plant (Melissa means honey bee in Greek.) Lemon balm contains many of the same chemicals that are found in bee pheromones. When establishing a new hive leaves can be crushed and placed in the hive to draw worker bees. It is also very anti-viral, and research has shown that it has value in fighting herpes and cold sores.
Oregano, Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
Marjoram is a short-growing tender perennial with a very sweet fragrance and flavor. It is native to the Mediterranean and prefers very hot dry conditions. It grows to 8 inches with small grey-green leaves and small greenish flowers. It is often used to help with anxiety, promote hormonal health, and even utilized for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.
Gloriosa Daisy, Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta L.)
A sweet herbaceous annual, or biennial. It grows 20inches to 4 feet. The leaves and stems are erect, rough, and hairy. It produces a dense, showy display of large daisy-like floral healds. Produces in the late spring and through summer providing pollen and nectar for a wide, diverse range of bees.
Germander Sage (Salvia chamaedryoides Cav.)
This salvia is a low-growing, woody-based perennial. Small mounds of narrow silvery-green leaves appear with true blue flowers that last till fall. The blue blooms attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees! It can handle the sun and is drought tolerant. Growing 12-18in tall x 3-4ft wide. Will keep blooming till mid fall,, you can prune off the spent flowers to encourage new and continuous growth.
Georgia Blue Veronica (Veronica umbrosa 'Georgia Blue Speedwell')
This variety is a low-growing, durable, and vigorous semi-evergreen. It is a perennial that forms a brightly colored cushion of small, rich-blue flowers adorned with pearly-white eyes. It has a long bloom period from late spring and sporadically all summer. Deer tolerant and attracts lots of butterflies!
'Cran-Razz' Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii 'Cran-Razz')
A wonderful shrub with large, fragrant, colorful flowers that attract a flutter of butterflies and other pollinators like hummingbirds and a wide variety of bees. Often also called summer lilac, it is known for its scent that smells like honey! You can choose from a variety of different colors and sizes of this species, all will attract the pollinators you want for your garden.
There are a variety of different colors that may choose from or dwarf species if you do not want the typical shrub that can grow up to 6ft tall! Growing up as a little girl we had one on our front lawn and I loved walking home from school and counting how many butterflies I saw greeting me when I got home!
Italian Oregano (Origanum vulgare cv.)
Italian oregano is a beautiful low growing evergreen, with a strong sweet flavor. It is one of my favorite oreganos to cook with because I'm Italian and it acts as a staple for my dishes. The flowers are more robust and sweeter which attracts many different pollinators to them. They do well in both garden beds or pot containers. The flavor is most intense just before plants flower.
If you want to increase some plant diversity for your small ecosystem and expand from culinary oreagno but stay in the Origanum family, explore orimental options! My favorites are Origanum dictamnus (Dittany Of Crete Oregano) and Origanum rotundifolium 'Kent Beauty', both make grat container patio plants!
Bee's Bliss Creeping Sage ( Salvia x 'Bee's Bliss')
An excellent fast-growing ground cover that expands 1-2 ft. tall and spreads quickly to 6-8 ft. wide. Good for borders. They have gray-green foliage with tops of purple-blue flowers that will bloom in the spring. They are great additions to your garden if you wish to attract pollinators or goldfinches that will visit to feed on the seeds. Bee's bliss needs little to no water once established in most of California. Deer tolerant. A bee and hummingbird favorite, hence the name!
Coreopsis 'Leading Lady Charlize' (Tickseed)
There is a wide range of coreopsis you can choose from and colors. I really like Leading Lady Charlize because it was bred to flower earlier, have first-year blooms, and to be cold and heat AND mildew resistant. It is one of four in its series that features masses of frilly, double, yellow flowers. It's easy to grow and does well in pots and containers! It can handle full sun and is super low maintenance, you'll just want to shear off spent flowers for high-performance blooming.
Phenomenal Lavender (Lavandula x intermedia 'Phenomenal')
There are a plethora of lavenders you may choose from, however, phenomenal is my favorite due to the fact it's phenomenal and superior from a lot of landers in my opinion. It's a French hybrid lavender notable for its outstanding cold hardiness and tolerance to heat and high humidity. Meaning it's going to provide food for bees a bit later in the season and is sweet, which makes it great to harvest for baking! The plants grow into a beautiful mounded shape, with purple flowers on tall stems in mid-summer. You can harvest and dry them to make beautiful arrangements, lavender wands, potpourri, and other crafts! English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) begins to bloom May through early July, and again in mid-fall if properly pruned.
Fall bloomers (late summer to early winter)
California Fuschia (Epilobium 'Carmen's Grey')
A beautiful species of willowherb, native to the California foothills and coastal areas. It is drought tolerant and low growing with fuzzy silvery-gray leaves and known for its profusion of bright scarlet flowers in summer and autumn. Growing to about 18 inches tall and 2-3 feet wide the flowers are great for bees and hummingbirds. Best to prune in the spring, they tend to die back and go dormant in the winter. One of the best hummingbird attracting plants!
Sedum Autumn Joy (Sedum spectabile)
One of the most widely grown perennials, that tends to be easy-to-grow succulent with light green foliage. Clumping foliage displays flowers that cluster and start pink, but then eventually age to a rosy russet-red in the fall. Great butterfly plant and for attracting native bees. Perfect for a drought-tolerant garden or rock garden. Succulent foliage will die back to the ground in the winter but will re-emerge in early spring. It is a very sturdy plant and spreads along the ground, acting as a colorful ground cover that also gives your garden and dimension!
Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha)
It is an evergreen shrubby perennial that's prized for its deep grey-green leaves and long fuzzy spikes of purple and white flowers late in the summer, throughout fall, and even into winter in protected locations. It's fairly compact and comes in a variety of colors. Only after the long, hot summer has winded down does the Mexican bush sage come out to play and showcases its wide swaths of flowing flower stalks. I love to pet flower petals and enjoy the fuzzy addition to my garden!
Mexican Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii)
It is a sprawling evergreen shrub noted for its aromatic foliage and brightly colored flowers. It's common for people to plant it near their trash cans to mask other scents they want hidden. I personally love it near windows as well so when you open them you can get a lovely aroma coming in. It grows 4-6 feet tall and spreads around 6-10 feet wide. The musky sweet smell repels deer bit attracts butterflies and bees to it! I personally love the scent and feel the flowers are little pockets of sunshine!
Little Lemon Goldenrod (Solidago 'Little Lemon')
A compact growing plant with gray-green strappy leaves and full, bright lemon-yellow flower spikes. Loves full sun and this specific variety is one of the smallest and most compact species, only growing to be about 14” tall and to 18” wide. It's a nice showy addition to your garden and gives it a great texture to space while providing a food source for attracting pollinators.
It is hybrid goldenrod, so if you're wanting one with a bit more height know there are others!
Sweet Joe-Pye-weed (Eutrochium purpureum)
An herbaceous perennial plant in the sunflower family that acts as a butterfly magnet. It is easy to grow and its vanilla-scented flowers are irresistible for Monarchs, Swallowtails, and many other butterflies. It has pale pink to pale purple flowers in large clusters and large leaves in whorls around the stem. Enjoys partial shade. Used medicinally to cure fevers. Can cut flowers to make arrangements or hang for a lovely smell in your home!
Nepitella (Calamintha nepeta)
Nepitella is a regional favorite in Tuscany where it is added to mushroom dishes and green vegetables for its distinctive minty/oregano/thyme flavor. Its compact mounds of tiny white flowers blush with a hint of blue with age. You'll want to place it in an area where you can easily brush up against it to trigger the release of its sweet aroma. It is loved by many pollinators and has a very long bloom period, all the way until frost. It isn't preferred by deers so it should be safe in your garden! Self sows prolifically so remove spent flower heads to prevent seedlings.
Wild Golden Glow (Rudbeckia laciniata)
A bee favorite that will visit often due to the prolific and pollen-rich food source. There are not many woodland flowers that will reach the height of this coneflower. It pairs well with Sweet Joe-Pye-weed. It has bright yellow flowers and a relatively late bloom time compared to many other spring-blooming woodland flowers, which makes it great for a fall bloom in addition to feeding the pollinators! Golden petals surround a green cone, creating a beautiful statement that attracts all types of winged wildlife. Can get to be about 36-48" tall.
Tall Bellflower (Campanula americana)
A fun tall addition to your garden adds a splash of bright blue flowers on a tall spike that arises from a base of deep green foliage. It attracts hummingbirds and other nectar-loving pollinators. It grows to be roughly 3-5ft high. It is easy to grow and is a self-sowing biennial. It is one of the only bellflowers with wide-spread petals, a petal tube that elongates with age, and stamens that extend over the petals.
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
This is one of the most common coneflowers, while there are nine different species in this collection only three can be used medicinally: Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea Angustifolia. It is extremely vigorous and easy to grow from seed or division. The larger rugose leaves are deer resistant, and it flowers throughout the summer and into the fall, especially if deadheaded. The flower petals are rosy purple, with an orange-brown central disk. For immune system stimulation, during colds, flu, upper respiratory tract infections, or bladder infections this plant can do it all and help heal you.
Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
These tall deciduous, airy, spike-like clusters create a lavender-blue cloud of color above the finely textured and aromatic foliage. It is extremely vigorous, hardy, heat-loving, and drought-tolerant that resists deer and pests. A superb companion for perennials, succulents, and ornamental grasses. Once it is established it doesn't require watering. You'll want to deadhead to extend flowering and prune aggressively to the ground at the end of the growing season.
Silver Carpet Aster (Lessingia filaginifolia ‘Silver Carpet’)
I have this one growing in my garden pot because I love watching it drape out of its container. It is a very low-growing perennial with silvery grey-green leaves and bright pink daisy-type flowers which are particularly attractive to butterflies. Grows great in a range of conditions including clay, heat, and drought environments. It serves as a fantastic native ground cover. It is also salt spray and deer resistant! Grows quickly spreading to 3' or more, but only getting to about 4 inches tall.
Bluebird (Caryopteris × clandonensis 'Inoveris')
A unique addition to your perennial garden after many others are done for the season. Bluebird is a late bloomer that goes from mid-summer to the first frost. It will catch your attention with its rounded mound of glossy, deep green foliage that is topped by deep intense blue-purple flowers. Grows up to 18-30 inches tall and wide and prefers full sun and is drought tolerant once established. It also is virtually pest-free and is deer and rabbit resistant. Attracts many helpful pollinators to your garden, giving them a healthy supply of food before the winter months!