Bee Friendly Gardening

List of Bee Friendly Plants

Native perennials
• Common and Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca and incarnata)
• Beardtongue (Penstemon)
• Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricatus)
• Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
• Beebalm (Monarda spp)
• Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
• Evening Primrose (Oenothera spp)
• False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides)
• Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium)
• New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae angliae)
• Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana)
• Sunflowers (Helianthus)
• Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

• Alyssum
• California Poppy
• China Aster
• Cornflower
• Cleome
• Cosmos
• Heliotrope
• Love in a Mist
• Pot marigold (Calendula)
• Marigold
• Sunflower
• Sweet Pea
• Zinnia
• Herbs
• Borage, Chives, Lavender, Oregano and Marjoram

• Catmint (Nepeta spp.)
• Coneflower
• Clover
• Flax
• Primrose
• Sedum /Stonecrop
• Tickseed
• Yarrow

Trees and Shrubs
• Crab Apples
• Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
• Hawthorn (Crataegus)
• Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
• Yellow wood (Cladastris lutea)
• Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
• Sugar, Red, Silver and Striped maples (Acer saccharum, A. rubrum, A. saccarhinum and A. pennsylvanicum)
• Amur maple (Acer ginnala)
• Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)
• Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)
• Basswood (Tilia Americana)
• Linden (Tilia cordata)
• Catalpa (Catalpa bignonoides)
• Pussy Willow (Salix spp)
• Serviceberries (Amelanchier spp)
• Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
• Mockorange (Philadelphus coronarius)
• Deutzia
• Golden Currant (Ribes aureum)
• False Spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia)
• Raspberries
• Blueberries
• Snowberry (Sympharicarpos alba)
• Caragana or peashrub (Caragana arborescens)
• Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
• Japanese Lilac (Syringa reticulata)
• Privet
• Bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)
• Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)
• Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)

List of Bird Friendly Plants

Early Mid-season Late
Blueberry Blackberry Aster (perennial)
Cotoneaster Cat mint Beggar’s tricks
Crabapple Catnip Borage
Cranberry Chives Coneflower
Crocus Dahlia Cornflower
Foxglove Hyssop Cosmos
Heliotrope Lavender Goldenrod
Hazelnut Raspberry Pumpkin
Heather Sunflower Sedum
Primrose Yarrow Squash


This list includes only a few of the many available plants. Check out the resources listed below, talk to your local nursery or visit the Fletcher Wildlife Garden and its web site. Notes for each plant are a guide only. Some plants will grow in less than ideal conditions, but fruit and seeds may be limited. Information after each plant indicates average height (not given for herbaceous plants), light, and soil requirements.

Light: Sh = shade, Su = su
Soil: W = wet, M = moist, D = dry

Fruit-bearing shrubs and trees
Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) to 22 m [Su-Sh, D,M]
Chokecherry (P. virginiana) 2-3 m [Su-part Sh, M,D]
Common or Canadian Elder (Sambucus canadensis) to 3 m [Su, M,D]
Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) to 12 m [Su-Sh, D,M]
Flowering raspberry (Rubus odoratus) 1-2 m [Su-Sh, M]
Hawthorns (Crataegus spp.) to 12 m [Su, D,M]
Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) to 12 m [Sh, M,D]
Red-berried Elder (Sambucus pubens) to 4 m [Sh, D]
Red Osier Dogwood (C. stolonifera) 1-3 m [Sh, M]
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) to 6 m [Su-Sh, M,D] (spreads quickly, keep in check by pruning)
Pin Cherry (P. pensylvanica) to 12 m [Su, D,M]

Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) [Su-part Sh]. Need both male and female plants for fruit.
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus vitacea and P. quinquefolia) [Sh-Su, 5 m +]
Wild Grape (Vitis riparia) [prefers sun, 5 m +]

Seed and nut-bearing shrubs and trees
Birch, Paper (Betula papyrifera) to 25 m [Su, M,D]
Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) to 15 m [Sh-Su, M,D]
Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) 3-4 m [Sh-su, M,D]
Red Maple (Acer rubrum) to 25 m [Su-part Sh, M]
Sugar Maple (A. saccharum) to 35 m [Sh-Su, M]
Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana) to 20 m [Su, D,M]
White Pine (P. strobus) to 30 m [Su, D]

Herbaceous plants (unless noted, the following provide seeds for birds)
Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) [Su,Sh, D] Nectar
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) [Su, D] Nectar
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) [Su, D,M]
Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) [Su, D]
Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) [Su, D,M] Nectar
Gray-headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) [Su, D]
Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) [Su-Sh, M] Nectar
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) [Su, D,M]
Panic Grass (Panicum sp.) [Su, D]
Phlox (Phlox spp.) [Su, M] Nectar
Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.) [Su, D]
Wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) [Su, D]

Attracting birds to your garden

  • Trees – Mountain Ash, Shubert Chokecherry, Birch, Crab Apple and Hawthorn
  • Smaller Shrubs– Serviceberry, Highbush Cranberry, Quince, female Winterberry, Pagoda and Gray Dogwood, Russian Olive, Honeysuckle, Elder and Sumac
  • Vines– Boston Ivy, Virginia Creeper, Wild Grape and American Bittersweet
  • Annuals– Sunflowers, Cosmos, Zinnias, Marigolds and Celosia
  • Perennials – Globe Thistle, Black-eyed Susan, Asters and Ornamental Grasses in the winter garden are valuable seed sources during a long, cold winter.
  • Berriesfrom – Fairview, Iowa, and Spartan Juniper, female Holly, Oregon Grape, and Wintergreen.
  • Some birds love Sweet Cherries and Blueberries so be prepared to cover your fruit with black netting if you hope to harvest any for yourself!

Front Yard Edible Gardens article

Research assistance thank you to: Simone Weir

Growing Plants From Seed

Seed Bomb:

  • Throw your seed bombs – ideally, timed to coincide with rain, so the seeds have a good start. (It’s best to use them straight away, as they could start to sprout. But if you do need to save them, keep the seed bombs in a cool, dark, dry place.
  • Watch for seed bomb growth. Seedlings should be visible within two to three weeks and flowers within 12 weeks depending on rainfall.

How to Grow Sumac Trees from Seed:

Sumacs are considered small trees or large shrubs. Sumac trees provide emergency food and nesting cover in the winter for many creatures. Sumac leaves turn many brilliant colors in autumn.

1st Step: You received your Sumac tree seeds in the mail, now what? Options:

  •   You can plant the seeds outdoors in the fall and let them naturally stratify during the winter and they will germinate in the spring.
  •   If the seeds require cold and or warm stratification period – you can stratify the seeds inside in your fridge during the winter months and then plant the seeds outdoors in the spring (after the last frost).
  •   You can stratify the seeds indoors in your fridge and then germinate the seeds indoors during the winter, growing the seeds into tree seedlings and then transplanting the seedlings outdoors in the spring.
  •   If the seeds don’t require a stratification period, you can store the seeds in plastic bags in your fridge and plant the seeds outdoors in the fall or spring. Generally, spring is the best time to plant tree seeds outdoors because they have the spring, summer and fall to mature enough to survive the winter weather conditions.Soil Types: Sumacs grow in many different types of soils but are mainly found in wetlands and uplands.Watering: Sumacs are drought-resistant but plan on watering regularly if planted in the middle of the summer or during times of drought. Be careful not to overwater sumacs because it can cause root rot.Fertilizer: Most Sumacs do not require fertilization. Don’t give a nitrogen fertilizer when planting or during the first year.
  • Pruning: Prune back dead wood in the springtime. Prune back suckers to keep the tree from getting scraggly looking and to maintain a symmetrical shape.

Sumac Tree Seed Stratification Requirements for Germination

  •   Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina): Scarify seed for 50 to 80 minutes in sulfuric acid or use sandpaper to nic the seeds. Zones: 4 to 8
  •   Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra): Scarify seed for 50 to 80 minutes in sulfuric acid or use sandpaper to nic the seeds. Zones: 3 to 9Hot Water Treatment/ScarificationSeed that has a hard seed coat-induced dormancy requires a stratification to break down the seed coat so that the seed may germinate or begin its stratification process. Hard seed coat induced dormancy means the seed coat is too hard to allow water to enter. By stopping the entry of water, the seed coat stops the seed from germinating or being able to start any required moist stratification period.One method to scarify many seeds is the hot water treatment, which is as follows:
  1. Pour (4 times the volume of seed) almost boiling water over the seed and allow the seed to cool for 12-24 hours. Seeds that are properly scarified will sink or swell depending on the type of seed.
  2. Seeds that are not properly scarified may take several years to germinate in an outside seedbed. Non-scarified, hard seed coat seeds planted in a flat may never germinate at all or only at very low percentages.
  3. Another method of scarification is to rub the seed on a nail file or sandpaper. Be careful not to go too deep into the seed itself. Scratch the seeds just enough to nick the seed coat. Scarification via nicking the seed coat allows the seed to easily soak up water and moisture to begin the stratification and or germination process.

In nature, scarification is accomplished when the seeds pass through the digestive tract of some animals, through freezing temperatures or microbial activities that break down the seed coat.

How to start tree seeds indoors:

1. Stratify the tree seeds in the fall or winter. Fill a plastic sandwich bag with a handful of damp peat moss or vermiculite and place the seeds in the bag. Store

the seeds in a refrigerator at 33-41 degrees F for recommended stratification


  1. Fill a seed tray with 3-4 inch layer of rich, but well-draining seed starting mixture.You can also use a mixture of equal parts peat moss, organic compost, vermiculite and coarse sand.
  2. Plantthetreeseedsaquarter-inchto1-inchdeepintheseedstartingmixture, spaced about 1 or 2 inches apart. Plant the stratified seeds indoors in late winteror early spring.
  3. Water the seed starting mix to keep the seeds evenly moistened, but allow thewater to drain thoroughly. Let the seed starting mix dry out completely betweenwatering’s.
  4. Set the seed tray in partial sunlight (about 50%) when the seeds begin togerminate. Keep the seed tray at room temperature while germinating andsprouting the maple tree seeds.
  5. Transplant the strongest tree seedlings outdoors or into individual planter potsafter they’ve developed their second set of leaves, or “true leaves.”