Before I started keeping bees, I only partially paid attention to flowers and the needs of pollinators. Well ever since I started keeping bees, that has all changed. I make sure that no matter the season I have pollen-rich plants for the pollinators.
Many people think about spring and summer as a busy time for bees. This is true, but in our mild fall climates, they are also buzzing around collecting pollen during this time. Bees use this fall time to make sure they have enough honey to survive through the winter. Not planting fall flowers hurts the bee population and we know they need all the assistance they can get right now.
One of the problems is people seem to forget to plant pollinator-friendly plants during this time. I know it is easy to associate flowers with warmer temperatures, but don’t be mistaken; there are still pollinator-friendly plants for the fall. If you're looking to add some color or just help the pollinators out during this time, try planting the following:
· Agapanthus- Blooms late summer and early fall.
· Anise Hyssop
· Asters- One of my personal favorites. Not to mention, these get the most attention in my garden during the fall.
· Basil- Allow basil to flower and go to seed. The flowers are a favorite of bees and other pollinators
· Black-eyed Susan- Bright yellow flowers with pollen-rich dark centers are sure to catch the eye or nose of the pollinators.
· Borage- Who can resist those blue flowers. Did I mention that the flowers are edible?
· Calendula- Make sure to plant extra. Some for the bees and keep some for yourself to make salves.
· Coneflower/Echinacea- Plant extra. The flowers and roots have been known to have medicinal benefits
· Cosmos- Plant in masses to help pollinators locate the flowers.
· Golden Rod
· Lantana- blooms from summer until the first freeze.
· Marigolds- Plant in early spring and again in late summer.
· Maximillian Sunflowers- When people come to my garden and see that I have sunflowers during the fall. They start to realize why this may be my favorite sunflower variety to plant.
· Pineapple Sage
· Sedum- An excellent addition for color in the fall. Did I mention that these are almost as low maintenance as plants come?
· Zinnias- A member of the aster family that produces dense, colorful flower heads that are full of pollen.