Bees need plants and flowers for pollen in turn they help spread the plant in other areas. The relationship with pollinators and plants is a highly evolved and is often more complicated than it seems. For example, bee’s UV vision and extensive color vision (see this article on their eyes) allows them to see the slight changes in the flowers’ surface and can appear to the bees as a target marking the sweet nectar “bulls eye”. Some plants are more visually pleasing to bees, and others take advantage of the bees extensive sense of smell and are extremely fragrant. This is also why bees may check you out if you’re wearing a floral perfume. In Texas, there are plants and flowers that have adapted to the environment that are especially friendly to bees. There’s an assortment of flowers, shrubs, vines and trees that are friendly to bees.
- Giant spiderwort
In scientific terms, it is known as the tradescantia gigantean rose. The shrub belongs to the spiderwort family. It is a good nectar source for bees. It has a nice strong fragrance that attracts bees miles away. The plant can form hybrids with any combination. A fun fact about this plant is that it was named after John Tradescant, a gardener who served Charles 1 of England. It is a perennial plant. Their leaves have a simple complexity. It blooms between March and April. The best thing about the Giant Spiderwort is that it can grow on all soils.
- Aromatic aster( symphyotrichum oblongifollium)
Characterized by narrow leaves and stem, the aromatic aster has pink or lavender blue flowers.it is a perennial plant which blooms between September and November. It grows on well drained soil such as sandy soil and on rocky grounds. Aromatic aster is also a nectar source.
- Texas kidney (Eysenhardtia texana)
It is a many- branched shrub that was once used for kidney and bladder ailments. Its name came from its ability to heal these ailments. It is also a perennial tree that blooms from May to October. The plant hosts the Dogface butterfly at its early stages.
- Lantana (lantana urticoides)
Texas lantana is a spreading shrub with much branched branches. It blooms between April and October. The shrub does well in both poorly and well-drained soils. In addition to attracting bees, it also attracts birds and butterflies.
- Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis)
It has larger, more sharply pointed leaves. It produces numerous flowers. These types of flowers are mainly planted by highway departments and garden clubs. Generally, it is among the state flowers of Texas. It grows annually with blooming time between March and May. The down side of the Texas bluebonnet is that it is toxic. The sensitivity of its toxin varies with age, weight season and physical condition.
Other bee friendly flowers in Texas include Argarita, Texas redbud, Zexmenia, Goldenrod and Butterflyweed. All this plants are a good nectar source to bees. A variety of wildflowers allows the bees to gather all of the essential amino acids that they need to complete a well-balanced diet.