Create a Buzz-worthy Landscape

Create a Buzz-worthy Landscape

Bees begin to emerge from their winter slumber as early as February when temperatures hit the 50s and low 60s. Make them hum with delight by planting some of our favorite pollen lovers' plants!

Just because it’s chilly outside doesn’t mean our flying friends aren’t returning! Throughout the winter, different bees do different things. Honey bees cluster in their hives, shivering to keep each other warm. Solitary bees take cover in quiet spaces after building nests for their young in tube-like structures. Bumblebees burrow underground.

All bees come out as early as February when the temperatures start hitting the 50s and low 60s. Make sure when they start waking up you have something to feed them! Here are some of our favorite plants for bees.

Texas mountain laurel is a classic. It’s an early-blooming small tree that’s even included on our coupon plant list! If you see a blooming tree in spring, walk up to it and sit in silence. You can hear the steady hum of various bee species floating around the tree to collect pollen for food.

Elbow bush is not your typical landscape plant but an extremely early bloomer with a lot of character. It’s aptly named for the 90-degree bends in the branches. It can grow quite large at six to 12 feet, but it’s a good supplementation to make your yard bloom for 12 solid months. Look for it in our parks and natural areas.

Agarita is another evergreen native plant that’s a great option for lining see-through chain fences. It sports clumps of very fragrant yellow flowers starting in February, followed by the famous red berries wildlife so dearly love. The more determined homesteader may be driven to make jelly out of the berries that aren’t eaten by birds. It will normally reach about 4-5 feet tall.

Tenpetal anemone isn’t exactly a plant you can find in nurseries, but there’s a good chance you already have it in your yard. Many people think it’s a weed, but it’s actually really beneficial for bees. If you see one popping up in your yard, mow around it until it stops flowering.

A Texas SuperStar you may be familiar with is the old-fashioned sweet alyssum. It’s a bee magnet in early spring and is now available in winter and summer selections.

Finally, blackfoot and four nerve daisies always pair nicely and are easy, small plants to put in for bees. If you don’t have enough space for a tree, you probably have a tiny patch that would fit some little daisies. Bonus: blackfoot daisies are also among our great landscape coupon plants.

If you want to go beyond plants to help out these buzzy boys (and girls), consider building them a solitary bee house or make a butterfly puddler to offer a safe place to drink water. You can use the seven-point Watersaver Rewards coupon towards purchasing these items if you gather enough points.

Ask the Garden Geek

Need Tips for your garden or have questions about conservation? Ask an Expert!

Send a question
Sarah Gorton

About our expert

Sarah Gorton

Sarah Gorton is an intern with SAWS Conservation department. She is passionate about bats, having worked in wildlife rehabilitation, volunteering at Bracken Bat Cave and researching bats with acoustic monitors. Sarah has the greenest porch at her apartment complex and is slowly expanding her potted native plant jungle to the nearby sidewalks. Sarah is on a mission to enhance her native plant knowledge through Master Naturalist and Texas Native Plant Society certification courses. She can often be found hiking with her small dogs in large national parks to increase her collection of Junior Park Ranger badges.