Pollinator Gardens

Here are a few common question we get about pollinator gardens. Be sure to check out the Plants for MN Bees and Flowering Bee Lawn sections under the Learn More tab for more details and resources.

I am creating a pollinator garden. What flowers do you recommend I plant?  

We suggest consulting with local plant experts to select the best bee friendly plants for your area and for your soil type. Local nurseries and master gardeners are great sources for this type of information! We encourage you to check that the plants/ seeds you buy are not treated with insecticides, as this can negatively affect bee health. Again, nurseries and master gardeners will be able to help you determine that the plants you choose are healthy for bees. 


Bees benefit most if you plan your garden so there is something blooming for pollinators from early spring through the fall.


I have a native plant garden. Should I plant non-native species for honey bees?

Your native plants will support many kinds of native bees, and honey bees too! If you are establishing a native garden or native landscape, it makes sense to keep on adding more native plants to help bees. We’d suggest focusing on plantings that provide food all season long, from early spring through fall. We also always recommend consulting a plant expert, like your local Master Gardeners..


I have a lot of acres, and I’d like to convert them to bee habitat. What should I plant? 

Planting honey bee forage crops makes sense if you have farmland or acreage where you are not trying to establish perennial plants. People have reported success planting large areas with Sainfoin, clovers, sunflowers, rapeseed, cornflowers, buckwheat, and vetch.

If you are interested in restoring acreage to a native prairie, wetland or woodland that supports many pollinators, we recommend consulting Prairie Restoration. Site preparation is an important and challenging step in restoring native landscapes, but will save you lots of work in the future. To maintain these habitats, be aware that weed control is essential.


How can I be sure my pollinator plants do not have harmful pesticides?

Even if you ask someone working where you buy plants if a particular plant has been treated with pesticides that could harm pollinators, they may not know.  Often, treatments can be applied before plants reach the retail market. It is best to buy pollinators plants from producers who have committed to making sure that their plants are not treated with these pesticides. You can also start many pollinator plants yourself from seed. Seeds can sometimes come with pesticide treatments already applied to the seed coating, so be sure that you also trust your seed source.