Pollinator Plants


Pollinator PlantsYour choice to buy organic pollinator plants from a local farmer and your willingness to grow bee friendly plants helps to maintain a healthy environment, vibrant community, and a strong local economy.

Beekeepers need everyone to help increase the honeybee population. Bees pollinate one third of the world’s food supply yet colonies are disappearing at alarming rates in many parts of the world due to the cumulative effects of parasitic mites, viral and bacterial diseases, and exposure to pesticides and herbicides. Large scale chemical application is toxic to soil and water, and weakens our honeybees.

If you have a yard, the choices you make in your landscape and garden can support honeybee health.  Attracting honeybees to a garden will help the productivity of plants through pollination. Plan a garden to provide pollen and nectar sources over an entire growing year. Even on a warm late winter day, honeybees need pollen sources to feed young brood in the hive. Plant for year-round blooming and in relative proximity to a beehive.

Honeybees commit themselves to one plant type

If dandalions are blooming at the same time as the apple trees, the honeybee will select the nectar that the colony prefers and will fully exhaust that nectar source before moving on. It is advantageous then, to cultivate one crop and plant it en mass.  Workers will  favor the plants that are closest to the colony.    Single blossoms with anther and stamen easily accessed within the petal are better than double or trumpeted blossoms since the honeybee’s proboscis is not very long.

What plants do bees see?

Bees can see ultra-violet light and favor purple and blue flowers. Bees do not see red flowers but will be attracted to a red flower where ultra-violet light is present or there is high contrast between a flower and its background.

What plants are most nutritious?

Heirloom and wild flowers provide the most nectar and pollen while hybrids lack sufficient nutrition. A hybrids color may be vivid but its nutritional source leads the honeybee on an unproductive journey. The honeybee is driven to the sunflowers yet new pollen-less sunflowers are marketed for longer living floral arrangements.

Native versus Non-native Plants

Bees will pollinate plants that are not native to an area but are inefficient pollinating non-native plants. It is important to select plants that are local. Listed below are plants that honey bees will pollinate effectively. Not all of these plants grow in every location. According to the USDA, Washington Island is in zone 5A. When selecting plants the farm uses zone 4. Find your own zone at the National Gardening Association. If you see a plant not listed in our database below, and it is a bee friendly plant, send us the plant name so that we can build a comprehensive database. (add a plant here).  


Acer Maple Basil Cabbage Dandalions
Acerola Basket-of-Gold (Aurinia saxatilis) Cantaloupe Digitalis
Ageratum Basswood – Linden Carambola Dogroses
Ajugas Bean Adzuki Caraway Echinacea
Alfalfa Bean Broad Cardamom Echinops
Allspice Bean Goa Cashew Eggplant
Almond Bean Haricot Catalpa (Indian Bean Tree) Elderberry
Apple Bean Kidney Catnip Fennel
Apricot Bean Lima Cauliflower Flax
Asparagus Bean Mungo Celery Foxglove
Aster Bean Scarlet Runner Cherry Sour Geranium
Avocado Bean String Cherry Sweet Globe Thistle
Beet Chestnut Glory of the Snow
Bergamot Clematis Goldenrod
Blackberry Chinese Cabbage Gourd
Bleeding Heart Chives Grape
Blueberry Clover (not all species) Guava
Bluebells (bulb) Clover Arrowleaf Hazel Alder
Boltonia asteroids Clover Crimson Hazelnut
Borage Clover Red Heather
Boysenberry Clover White Heath
Broccoli Coconut Hebe
Brussels Sprouts Coffee Helleobors
Buckwheat Calendula Hyacinth
Coneflower Inkberry
Coriander Jacob’s Ladder
Cosmos Joe-Pye Weed
Cotton Jujube
Cranberry Karite
Crocus Kiwifruit
Crownvetch Lavender
Cucumber Leopard’s Bane
Currant Black Locust
Currant Red Loosestrife
M-P Q-S T-Z  
Macadamia Quince Tamarind
Mango Rambutan Tangelo
Marrow Rapeseed Tangerine
Milkweed Raspberry Thrift
Mint Rose Hips Thyme
Mignotette Rosemary Tung Tree
Monarda Rowanberry Turnip
Mountain Bluet Rudbekia Verbena Bonariensis
Mustard Safflower Vetch
Nectarine Sage Viburnum
Nut Sainfoin Walnut
Okra Salvia Watermelon
Onion Scabious Willows – Salix
Oregano Sedums Winter Hazel
Papaya Sesame Witchhazel
Pea, Black-eye Snapdragon Zuchini
Pea, Cowpea Soybean
Peach Squash
Pear Starfruit
Pepper Bell Strawberry
Pepper Chili Sumac
Pepper Green Sunflower
Pepper Red Sweet William
Plum Hog
Poplar (Yellow or Tulip)