Plants you can plant In Boston right now to help pollinators!
Rudbeckia hirta, ‘Indian Summer’ black-eyed Susan
Monarda – bee balm
Helianthus – sunflowers
Buddleia – butterfly bush
Cercis canadensis – Eastern redbud
More thorough information on local sustainable actions and native plants can be found at The New England Wild Life Society Page on Native Plants and Pollinators:
Pliant Native Plants!
Don't Use Pesticides!
Don't Disturb Leaf Mulch for sleeping pollinators!
Plant diverse types of flowers, but plant in patches!
Buy From Local Farmers!
MOTHS ARE POLLINATORS!
Massachusetts Pollinator Activity Sheet:
Download the Bee Smart App
The BeeSmart™ Pollinator Gardener is your comprehensive guide to selecting plants for pollinators specific to your area. Never get caught wondering what plants to buy again!
With the BeeSmart™ Pollinator Gardener’s easy user interface, browse through a database of nearly 1,000 native plants. Filter your plants by what pollinators you want to attract, light and soil requirements, bloom color, and plant type.
This is an excellent plant reference to attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, beetles, bats, and other pollinators to the garden, farm, school and every landscape.
Choose the Right Flowers
To help bees and other pollinator insects—like butterflies—you should provide a range of plants that will offer a succession of flowers that provide pollen and nectar through the whole growing season. Patches of foraging habitat can be created in many different locations, from backyards and school grounds to golf courses and city parks. Even a small area planted with the right flowers will be beneficial for each patch will add to the mosaic of habitat available to bees, moths, and other pollinators.
In such a short fact sheet it is not possible to give detailed lists of suitable plants for all areas of the Upper Midwest. Below are two lists of good bee plants, the first of native plants and the second of garden plants. Both are short lists; there are many more bee-friendly plants. However, these lists, combined with the following notes, will get you started on se- lecting good bee plants. Your local chapters of the Wild Ones, the Native Plant Society and native plant nurseries are worthwhile contacts for advice on choosing, obtaining, and caring for local plant species.
• Use local native plants. Research suggests native plants are four times more attractive to native bees than exotic flowers. In gardens, heirloom varieties of herbs and perennials can also provide good foraging.
• Choose several colors of flowers. Flower colors that particularly attract native bees are blue, purple, violet, white, and yellow.
• Plant flowers in clumps. Flowers clustered into clumps of one species will attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered through the habitat patch. Where space allows, make the clumps four feet or more in diameter.
• Include flowers of different shapes. Bees are all different sizes, have different tongue lengths, and will feed on different shaped flowers. Consequently, providing a range of flower shapes means more bees can benefit.
• Have a diversity of plants flowering all season. By having several plant species flowering at once, and a sequence of plants flowering through spring, summer, and fall, you can support a range of bee species that fly at different times of the season.
• Use organic plants or buy flowers that are labelled to be free of pesticide posion.
More Resources on Bees and Bee Gardening
Are Neonicotinoid Pesticides Killing Bees?
Upper Midwest Plants for Bees
South Central Plants for Native Bees and Pollinators
General Plants for Bees
Native Bees for Agriculture
Three Steps to Help Bees and Butterflies
Build your own nests for Native Bees