Most of us grew up avoiding bees and their painful stings. But the sudden recent decline of the bee population in this country, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, has us rethinking these vital insects that are responsible for as much as a third of our food supply. Bees, along with other pollinators like butterflies, are beautiful and imperative to the health of the planet and its inhabitants.

One direct way you can help the plight of the bees is to offer them flowers and plants. If you don’t have a yard, even a few well-chosen flowers for the patio will encourage bees to visit. Bonus: The more pollinators in your yard, the more plants that will grow.

Some plants that attract pollinators are:

  • Forget-me-nots
  • Poppies
  • Buttercups
  • Roses
  • Mints
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Calliopsis
  • Honeysuckle
  • Passion flower
  • Sunflower
  • Thyme
  • Sweet pea
  • Zinnia

The nonprofit Pollinator Partnership offers a website tool and app that allows you to find plants and flowers specifically for your region by simply entering your zip code. The Bee Smart app filters plants by what pollinators you want to attract, as well as soil requirements, bloom color and light.

Flower choice and planting considerations

Make sure that you buy organic flowers, as pesticides are linked to the disappearance of bees. Also, try and get flowers that are native to your area; not only will they grow better and with less water, but pollinating insects are more attracted to them. Bees like sun, so try and find a sunny spot to plant.