Plant Forage

Bees–and all pollinators–need nectar and pollen to survive and thrive. In this state, honey production is down dramatically from 20 years ago due to an increase in “edge to edge” planting on farm acreage and an increase in urban and suburban development. In urban areas, flowering plants and trees are replaced with manmade materials and in suburbia–lawns replace gardens.

As we enter into another drought year, consider planting pots of pollinator friendly plants on your patio or deck. Consider replacing some–or better yet, ALL–of your lawn with plantings for pollinators.

Here are some suggestions for plants that will attract these necessary species to your garden and simultaneously reduce your overall water usage.

Why Plant for Pollinators?

The folks at Safer Pest Control Project are at it again! They have just released a really nice publication called “A Guide to Growing a Climate Friendly Lawn and Garden”. They are based in Chicago–which is obviously a far different climate than Colorado–but the principles remain the same.
How to build a pollinator garden
Your Urban Garden is better with bees
Establishing Pollinator Meadows from seed
Lawn for Pollinators–grass companions


Applewood Seed Company

BBB Seed Company

Botanical Interests

Granite Seed Company

The How To’s of Colorado Pollinator Friendly Seed Mixes

Using Farm Bill Programs for Pollinator Conservation

Plants for Pollinators:

Lauren Ogden's Creating A Habitat Garden

CSBA’s “Save the Pollinators” brochure–A 3 season plant guide for pollen and nectar in CO
Plant Select’s Plants for Pollinators
Goddard Space Center’s HoneyBee Net–List of Honey Bee Forage Species in Region 2 CO
Gardening and Farming for Pollinators by OSU Bee Lab (List of Publications)
Top 10 Herbaceous Plants for Pollinators by Ecosystem Gardening
Top 10 Woody Plants for Pollinators by Ecosystem Gardening
Harlequin’s Gardens Plant for the bees!
Gardening for Native Bees in Utah and Beyond
JeffCo Plant List
CSU’s Whitney Cranshaw’s “Gardening for Insects–or Not!” Flowering Plants and Bees
List of Plants Bees Like
Colorado Native Plants Society

CO Native Plant Society Front Range Plant List

CO Native Plant Society’s “Low Water Plants for Pollinators”


NRCS CO Plant List
Colorado Women Who Bee’s Plant List from Mo Nevergold of Dandelion Design
Beyond Pesticide’s “Bee Protective Habitat
Bee Friendly Plants for your Garden and Farm
Top honeybee Plants
Growing Bee-friendly Garden Plants Planting Guides:

For the Colorado Plateau Semi-Desert Province
For Intermountain Semi-Desert and Desert Province
For Southern Rocky Mountain Steppe Open Woodland, Coniferous Forest, Alpine Meadow Province

Reduce Turf:

Do More with Less Lawn
Lawn Gone!–A book by landscape designer Pam Penick


Steve Colbert Interviewing Mark Moffett from National Geographic on Comedy Central
National Geographic’s “Buzz on Pollination”
TED Talks on Pollination

Attracting pollinators involves understanding how they feed and what their needs are.