5 Essential Native Plants For Your Bee Garden

Support Local Pollinators With These Flowers!

Andrew R. French
7 min readJun 12, 2022


Image: NPS Photo

The following plants are local to the Midwest Region of the United States, but if your bee garden is somewhere else in North America, chances are high that there is a similar local species. By asking a green-thumbed friend or using a bit of Google-fu, you should be able to find and plant it!

I have more than 15 years of experience working professionally with native plants in the Midwest, and I am one of about 75 people certified by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to provide technical services in Wisconsin. One of my areas of expertise is creating pollinator plans and designs for landowners in the Midwest. I help landowners connect to national cost-share programs in order to fund pollinator supportive practices on their properties.

Private lands such as farms and homesteads account for the majority of potential pollinator plantings in the USA, and each private landowner has the opportunity to provide essential habitat for our important pollinator species, such as the Monarch Butterfly and various species of Bumblebee.

Even if you only have a small backyard or balcony bee garden, with these five plants you can provide area of habitat and food for bees and butterflies. The five native plants for your bee garden are in no particular order — they are just a handful of the beautiful and multi-functional native plant species that provide nectar, pollen, and shelter to our little winged friends.

1. Bloodroot — Sanguinaria canadensis

Image: Author

I love Bloodroot. One of the first spring ephemerals that I can find on my landscape, the large leaves are like hands clasped in prayer or meditation, and when the white flower opens in the spring it dazzles in the drabness of the leftover fall leaf litter, almost reminiscent of a lotus flower, with an abundance of yellow stamens.

Sometimes these flowers can occur in small patches and other times large colonies, but the plants do best as a group, and spread very slowly due to their rhizomatous…



Andrew R. French

Writer at the Intersection of Ecosystem and Culture