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More plants to grow to feed the bees and other pollinators this summer!

May 6, 2015

Cranberry cosmos, a member of the cosmos bipinnatus family, note the honeybee feeding on nectar in the center of the flower

 

Cosmos are nonnative annuals, native to Mexico and the Southwestern US. You will want to plant the summer blooming cosmos bipinnatus and not the Sonata series. Bees don't seem to be attracted to Sonata cosmos or other spring blooming cosmos series.

 

But I know that they LOVE the summer blooming bipinnatus series such as the cranberry cosmos pictured above, and the prom dress cosmos. As long as these plants produce blossoms you will see bees constantly visiting them, because they are a great pollen and nectar source, which makes them an ideal plant to observe for the Great Sunflower Project http://www.greatsunflower.org/

 

I grow cosmos plants in container pots in our backyard, but they do well, maybe even better, in the ground. They will need some water, so save that gray water for plants like this.

 

 

 

 

Hot Lips blossom from the baby sage salvia microphylla family

 

Baby sage plants grow to bushes about 5 feet tall and about as wide. It is a nonnative perennial, originating from Mexico and southeastern Arizona. I bought the Hot Lips sage when it was a fairly small plant, about 15 inches high and had it growing in a container pot for about 9 years. It did have some flowers blooming off and on throughout the growing season, but needed water at least once a week or it would start to dry up especially during the summer months.

 

When we transplanted it to the front yard 2 years ago it was still small with a couple of blossoms. Now look how how lush it is, full of those lovely distinctive blossoms!

Although our soil is basically clay, this plant is now growing in partial shade of a coastal redwood tree, so the soil is a little looser. We never need to water it, and it is a great source of pollen and nectar for bees, as well as favorite of other pollinators such as the Anna's hummingbird.

 

 

 

 

And more to come.............

 

 

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