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 You are here    Flowers by the Sea / Categories / Bee Plants
Bee Plants
Bee Plants

Honeybees and their many relatives make life sweet for us. Without bees many of our favorite foods and flowers would not be available. From apples to ornamentals to zuchinni, we rely on bees for pollination. According to the USDA, one-third of our diet is made possible by insect pollinators, and approximately 80 percent of that pollination is due to bees. By planting long blooming, drought-resistant Salvias and other flowering plants favored by honeybees and other species of the family Apidae, home gardeners can provide the nectar and pollen that these tiny pollinators need to survive.

Drought is causing shortages of many flowering plants on which bees survive. Food loss, both through drought and climate change, is one of many factors that bee researchers say is likely contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious malady that weakens honeybees and causes their destruction. The Natural Resources Defense Council notes that bee researchers began documenting this problem in America around 2006.

The Häagen-Daz Honey Bee Haven of the University of California, Davis, in July 2014 reported that "few plants show their value as bee plants for hot, dry gardens better than the salvias." UC Davis even includes red-flowering species among its bee favorites, although some bee researchers say that bees mostly can't see reds.

Many factors affect the predilections of honeybees, including markings on flowers -- sometimes called "beelines" -- that guide bees to the pollen and nectar they need. Unlike humans who can't see colors in the ultra-violet range, bees see UV colors including markings invisible to people but acting like lit-up runways for insects. Perhaps this characteristic enables them to access red flowers.

This list offers honeybee favorites in many colors grown at Flowers by the Sea.

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(Starlight Sage) Add sparkle to your dry garden with the pale pastel flowers of this hybrid of two Southern California native plants often seen growing together in the wild — Black Sage (Salvia mellifera) and White Sage (Salvia apiana). Salvia x 'Starlight' is a shrub that blooms early and long, attracting honeybees but not deer.

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(Auriculate Sage) Both Culinary Sage (Salvia officinalis) and Greek Sage (Salvia fruticosa) are grown in the spice trade as the Sage of commerce. As they are closely related and share much of the same range in the wild, hybrids between the two have been known to exist for a long while. These hybrids go by many names: Newe Ya'ar Sage & Silver Sage being two of the most common. The natural hybrid of these species is found on an island in Croatia, and the accepted name for it is Salvia x auriculata.
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(Jean's Purple Sage) If you are looking for a deep purple perennial for accenting an entryway or back of border in flower beds, Jean's Purple Passion may be the right choice. 

We highly recommend the much improved Salvia guaranitica 'Purple Haze' as an alternative to this older variety.

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(California Sunset Hybrid Jame Sage) Entranced is the only word to describe how we felt when we first saw the sunset pastels of this Jame Sage. After growing it for multiple seasons, we are just as impressed by its compact, well-branched form.
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(Caviar Hybrid Jame Sage) Rosy green calyxes support the long-blooming, creamy salmon-pink flowers of this Jame Sage. It creates lots of buzz among honeybees and hummingbirds seeking its rich nectar and pollen. Caviar is a hybrid of Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (Salvia microphylla).
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(Dyson's Orangy Pink Hybrid Jame Sage) Many Salvia x jamensis hybrids remind gardeners of sunrise, such as Dyson's Orangy Pink. Light green calyxes faintly striped with red cup its luminous pale salmon pink blossoms with creamy throats.

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(Full Moon Hybrid Jame Sage) The luminescent, bicolor pastels of many Salvia x jamensis are difficult to capture in photos, but easy to appreciate when viewed up close. Full Moon is a compact, long-flowering Jame Sage that has pale, creamy yellow blossoms with a touch of rose that are cupped by dark green calyxes.
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(Shell Dancer Sage) So many sages combine resilience and loveliness. This includes Salvia 'Shell Dancer', which withstands heat and drought yet has delicate looking blossoms and lush green foliage.

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(Tangerine Ballet Hybrid Jame Sage) Soft pinkish-orange flowers with contrasting yellow eyes make this Jame Sage look as tasty as sorbet. Hardy to at least 10 degrees F, Tangerine Ballet is also heat tolerant, drought resistant and long blooming-- all marks of Salvias in the closely related Autumn and Mountain Sage group.

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(Yellow Pink Hybrid Jame Sage) Dusty pink with pale yellow throats, the bicolor pastels of this Salvia x jamensis are especially charming up close. 'Yellow Pink' is a compact sage with tiny, smooth foliage.

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