Specialist Pollinator Garden Kit
There are more than 450 different kinds of bees in Michigan, from friendly, fuzzy bumble bees and shiny emerald green bees, to tiny early Mason bees single-mindedly searching for spring flowers. Some are generalists, like honey bees, which collect pollen and nectar from many different plant families, but many are plant specialists visiting just one species, genus, or type of plant for pollen and/or nectar.
Feeding specialization in bees is largely driven by pollen. Nectar provides quick fuel for bees, but pollen is the major source of protein required by bee larva. Specialist bees will seek the specific pollen that their young are evolved to use, and are often not able to use pollen from other plants. They have physical features that are highly adapted to harvesting and transporting the pollen of their plant. They may also be adapted to be immune to whatever toxins a particular plant uses to defend itself from herbavores, making it the only bee able to pollinate that plant.
Specialist bees are more likely to be impacted by human-induced changes to the landscape, such as fragmentation and habitat loss. Plant some of their favorites and give them a helping hand, while enjoying the beauty of Michigan native plants. (For supporting honeybees, please see our Honeybee Garden Kit.)
Plants are selected for all-season bloom time and a diversity of flower shapes to appeal to different bees and pollinators. This garden kit is designed for full to part sun, with medium soil. Comes with an instruction sheet to guide garden layout, with room for a nesting feature or water source (instructions included). Standard assortment includes:
- Blue-eyed Grass
- Hairy beardtounge,
- Great Blue Lobelia,
- Wild Strawberry,
- Spotted Bee Balm,
- White Turtlehead,
- Bottle Gentian,
- Early Sunflower,
- Grey Goldenrod,
- Smooth Blue Aster.
There are too many specialist bees to include all their favorites. Substitutions are possible depending on availabity, and may include Tall Bellflower, Grey Headed Cone Flower, Black-eyed Susan, Common Yarrow, Blue Vervain, Swamp Milkweed, Evening Primrose, Northern Heartleaf Aster, Tall Sunflower, Nodding Wild Onion, Foxglove Beardtounge, Violets, Early Goldenrod, Grassleaf Goldenrod, Prairie Dock, Indian Tobacco, Lanceleaf Coreopsis, Praire Phlox, Wild Blue Phlox, or others. These plants are also recommended if you want to expand your garden.
Many specialist bees need native trees, shrubs, blueberries, cranberries, and other native plants, so if you have these on your property, make sure to protect them, and if replacing non-native landscaping, choose natives that will support your environment.
This economical kit includes 38 plugs that fill 38 square feet at 1 foot spacing - a 4'x9.5' bed; or up to 86 square feet at 1.5 sq. ft. spacing - a 6'x14' bed. Each plant is individually tagged for identification and all tags include height so you can alter the layout to suit your space. Note that the picture is an example of our plants in a plug tray. We don't have pictures of this actual mix in a plug tray yet and it will differ from the main picture.