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Bumblebee Plants

    Trees

    • Trees provide both habitat and a nectar source for bees. Bee-attracting species include the redbuds (Cercis spp.). These deciduous trees produce pink, red and maroon flowers in spring. Ornamental species include the Eastern redbud (C. Canadensis) which grows to 30 feet tall with a wider spread. This native tree has heart-shaped foliage and prefers sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. The Chinese redbud (C. chinensis) grows to 12 feet tall with an 8-foot spread. It blooms in early spring and grows well in full sun and a range of soils.

    Shrubs

    • Flowering shrubs attract bees with their nectar. The glossy abelia (Abelia x grandiflora) has lustrous, evergreen foliage and blooms with fragrant, funnel-shaped white flowers from summer through fall. This shrub grows to 6 feet tall with a similar spread and prefers sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Holly (Ilex spp.) shrubs also attract bees. The Buford holly (I. cornuta "Burfordii") grows to 20 feet tall with a 10-foot spread and thrives in sun to light shade and a range of soils. It blooms with bee-attracting, small white flowers in spring.

    Perennials

    • Choose perennials with different flowering times to create season-long, bee-attracting color. Lanceleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) blooms with yellow flowers in spring. It grows to 2 feet tall and flowers most abundantly when deadheaded. Lanceleaf coreopsis thrives in full sun to partial shade and well-drained to dry soil. Choose varieties with simple petals to attract the most bees. Beebalm (Monarda didyma) blooms in summer with red, purple, pink and white, bee-attracting flowers. It grows from 2 to 4 feet tall. Beebalm prefers moist soil and full sun to partial shade.

    Annuals

    • Unlike perennials, which live for at least three years, annuals grow for only a single season. They tend to bloom longer than perennials, through. Bee-attracting annuals include the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), a 1- to 2-foot-tall flower that blooms with red, orange, yellow, white and pink blossoms in spring. These drought-tolerant annuals prefer full sun but tolerate partial shade. Plant in mass groupings to attract the most bees. The calliopsis or golden coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) draws bees with its dual-colored, yellow, red, maroon and coppery flowers. This annual grows to 3 feet tall and blooms from summer through late fall. It grows well in full sun and well-drained, light to sandy soil.

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