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Garden Plan to Attract Bees

This guide features regional native plants for the Great Lakes that are highly attractive to pollinators and are well-suited to small-scale plantings in gardens, on business and school campuses, in urban greenspaces and farm field borders. These plants are particularly attractive to native bees and honey bees.

In planning your garden, be sure to have something blooming all season so there is always a food source for bees. Dandelions and clover provide early sources for bees if you don’t mind having them in your greenspace.

Bloom Period Common Name Scientific Name Color Height Light Soil Moisture
EARLY Black Cherry Tree Elymus virginicus White 50-80' L M
Downy Serviceberry Tree Amelanchier arborea White 15-25' L M
Lanceleaf Coreopsis Coreopsis Lancelata Yellow 3' L, S D, M
Lupine Lupinis perennis Blue 3' S D
Pussy Willow Tree Salix discolor White 10-20' L, S, C O, W
Smooth Penstemon Penstemon digitalis White 3' L, C, S M, O
Shooting Star Dodecatheon meadia Pink, Violet 2' L, C, S D
MID Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca Purple 2-4' L, S, C D, M
False Indigo Baptisia australis Blue 3-5' L, S, C D, M
Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica Blue 1-3' L, S, C M, O
Leadplant Amorpha canescens Purple 2-3' L, S D, M
Pale Purple Coneflower Echinacea pallida Purple 3-5' D, M L, C, S
Swamp Milkweed Asclepias incarnata Red Pink 3-5' L, S, C M, O
Wild Blue Phlox Phlox divaricata Blue 1-2' L, C, S M, O
Wild Geranium Geranium maculatum Lavender 1-2' L, S D, M
MID-LATE Bergamot Mondarda fistulosa Purple 4' L, S, C D, M, O
Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta Yellow 3' L, S, C D, M, O
Butterflyweed Ascelepias tuberosa Orange 2-3' L, S D, M
Cupplant Silphium perfoliatum Yellow 5-10' L, C, S M, O, W
Dogtooth Daisy Helenium autumnale Yellow 4-5' L, C, S O, W
Dotted Beebalm Monarda punctata Purple 1-2' S, R D
Lavender Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Purple 1-3' L, S D, M
Prairie Blazing Star Liatris pycnostachya Purple 3-5' L, S, C M, O
Purple Prairie Clover Dalea purpurea Purple 1-2' L, C, S D, M
Rattlesnake Master Eryngium yucciforium White 4' L, S D, M
Sweet Joe Pye Weed Eupatorium purpureum Pink 7' L, C, S D, M
Wingstem Verbesina alternifolia Yellow 6' L M
LATE Closed Bottle Gentian Gentiana andrewsii Blue 2' L, C, S O, W
Calico Aster Symphyotrichum lateriflorium White 2-3' L, C, S M, O
Field thistle Cirsium discolor Purple 6' L D, M
New England Aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae Purple 6' L, C, S M, O
Showy Goldenrod Solidago speciosa Yellow 5' L, S D, M

SOIL: L = Loam   C = Clay   S = Sandy   R = Rocky 
MOISTURE:     D = Dry   M = Medium   O = Moist   W = Wet