Pollinator Tea

A pollinator tea garden attracts diverse pollinators by providing nectar, pollen, and nesting habitat. It also provides seeds for birds, filters water, builds soils, and
reduces global warming by sequestering carbon. Your pollinator garden will provide you with delicious ingredients for herbal tea.

PDF iconpollinator_tea_garden.pdf

Pollinator Tea Brochure

Your pollinator tea garden can be any size: field, garden, or container. You can add to our suggested plant list with other edible plants that benefit both you and your local pollinators. Keep your pollinator tea garden pesticide-free to avoid negatively impacting bees and other insects. All the plants on our Pollinator Tea list have historically been used by herbalists in various ways. Researching traditional medicinal plants is another way to add your list.

Steep your fresh or dried leaves and flowers in hot (but not boiling) water. We recommend stirring some local honey into your cup for extra sweetness.

Anise hyssop

Agastache foeniculum
Anise hyssop


A member of the mint family native to North America, anise hyssop has a lemony licorice taste. It is a favorite of bumble bees and honey bees. It blooms throughout mid to late summer. The flowers and leaves can be steeped for tea.

Raspberry with mining bee

Rubus idaeus
Raspberry

Raspberry plants can provide nectar and pollen for bees, and nests for stem-nesting bees. The leaves of red raspberry are delicious brewed as tea, with a taste similar to black tea.

Monarda with bumble bee

Monarda fistulosa
Bee Balm or Wild Bergamot

This native plant is wildly popular with bumble bees. One bee species, the bee balm short face bee (Dufourea monardae) relies completely on bee balm. Spicy leaves or flowers taste like orange bergamot. Bee balm will bloom from mid to late summer.

New Jersey tea with mining bee

Ceanothus americanus
New Jersey Tea

New Jersey tea is a nitrogen fixing shrub native to North America. It produces white flowers that provide pollen and nectar for pollinators. The leaves are delicious in tea, with a similar flavor to black tea but without the caffeine.

Tulsi basil with honey bee

Ocimum tenuiflorum
Tulsi Basil

This bushy, fragrant plant is native to India. Honey bees collect bright orange pollen from it. The more you cut the blossoms, the more it blooms. The leaves and flowers make a delicious tea redolent of cinnamon and basil.

Prairie rose

Rosa arkansana
Prairie Rose

Prairie rose, a native rose flower, provides June food for bees. Stem nesting bees will also use the stems. The fragrant petals as well as the fruits (rose hips) can be gathered to steep in your tea.

Elderberry shrub

Sambucus canadensis
Elderberry

This deciduous shrub is native to North America. The flowers are a great source of pollen and nectar for native bees, and they can be used in tea. The ripe berries can be used in tea fresh or dried.

Calendula flower

Calendula officinalis
Calendula

Calendula is native to southern Europe. Its bright, orange-gold flowers can be continually harvested. The more you pick, the more they bloom for the bees. The petals will add a slightly bitter, spicy taste to your tea.

Red clover

Trifolium pratense
Red Clover

Red clover can be a great border or even garden path. It’s popular with bumble bees and the blossom and young leaves and flowers add a beautiful sweetness to your cup of tea.

To ensure food safety, wash hands and any harvesting tools well before harvest, harvest into clean containers, and wash your harvest in potable water.  

For tips on preserving herbs visit: 
extension.umn.edu/preserving-and-preparing/preserving-herbs-freezing-or-drying

For more tips on safely consuming botanicals:
takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/botanical-medicine/are-botanical-medicines-safe