Bee-Friendly Gardening in San Diego

san diego bee friendly gardenIt may be January, but here in Rancho Santa Fe (especially with this incredible weather the past few days!) it already feels like spring is in the air!  In fact, many San Diego residents are already thinking of getting their gardens ready for spring.  If you’re one of these intrepid San Diego gardeners, you might think about gardening with bee-friendly plants!


You may have heard that honeybee populations all over the US have been declining over the past several years.  Due to a little-understood problem called Colony Collapse Disorder, fewer and fewer bees survive each year.  Scientists think this may be a combination of factors: pesticides, bee diseases and parasites, and the fact that development decreases the number of flowers available to bees.  Since honeybees are absolutely essential to our agriculture, this is a serious problem!


Rancho Santa Fe (and North County San Diego as a whole), with its year-round sunshine, is a great home for honeybees!  But because of dense population and development, there aren’t enough flowers for bees to visit.  This is where YOU come in!  By planting bee-friendly flowers (those that attract bees), you can help your garden flourish AND help local honeybee populations survive.   Attracting bees to your garden will help pollinate ALL your flowers, fruits, and vegetables, bringing your garden to its best and most productive. Plus, plants that attract honeybees are some of the most beautiful, lovely-smelling plants out there!   Below are some suggestions to get you started.


  1. Go local!  Southern California native sages, manzanita, and other gorgeous native species are some bee-favorites. As an added bonus, they’re gorgeous, they smell wonderful, they don’t need much water, and some of them can even be used for cooking! (See our Foraging for Native Sages article).  Check out our post on  how to get started with San Diego native species gardening for more information!


  1. Think WHITE, YELLOW and BLUE.  Bees are attracted to these colors, and also to flowers with long, tube-shaped petals.  Think hyacinths, lavender and lupine!


  1. Be fruity!  Bees LOVE the flowers of fruit trees, blueberry bushes, berry vines, and strawberries.  Plus, the more they pollinate, the more fruit you get!


  1. Herbs are you friends.  In addition to adding a walloping ton of flavor to food, when herb plants flower, they are incredibly alluring to bees!  Parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme of course – plus mints, cilantro, basil, and anything else you like!


  1. If you love your annuals, consider planting asters, clover, marigolds, poppies, sunflowers and zinnias.  They’re bright, sunny, colorful – and the bees adore them!


If you want to add even more benefit to your garden, consider putting a beehive on your property!  Even if you don’t have acres and acres of space, a flat roof or out-of-the-way corner of your yard can be a great home for bees.  Keeping bees is fun, interesting, and delicious – you haven’t tasted honey until you’ve tasted local honey!  Many people gush about the health properties of local honey as well.  My family keeps bees, so I just know how incredible they are!  For more information about bees, gardening, or life in North County San Diego in general, give me (Katie Hawkes) a call at 858-922-2226, and check out my Rancho Santa Fe Real Estate website!


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