Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Bumblebee Plants and Resources for Saskatchewan



(*Denotes a medicinal plant for bees)



Shrubs: Pussy Willow (Salix spp.) Arctic Willow, Clove Currant  (Ribes aureum) Wood’s Rose (Rosa Woodsii), Prickly Rose (R. acicularis), Potentilla spp., hardy bush roses (avoid double flowers), Ninebark, Buck Brush (Symphoricarpos occidentalis), Common Snowberry (S. albus)


Native Trees: Chokecherry, Crabapple, Saskatoon (and many other native fruit trees), Western Mountain Ash (Sorbus scopulina) Pincherry (Prunus pennsylvanica)


Native Vines: Purple Clematis (Clematis occidentalis) Virgin’s Bower Clematis (Clematis ligustifolium) beware of invasive look-alikes

Native and Near Native Perennials:

Native violets

Prairie Crocus (Pulsatilla patens)

Bleeding heart (Dicentra spp.),

Heartleaf Golden Alexanders (Zizea aptera)

Nodding onion (Allium cernuum) and other native alliums,

Canadian Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and other Aquilegia spp.

Prairie Smoke (Geum trifolium),

Few-Flowered Shooting Star (Dodecatheon pulchellum)

Locoweed  (Oxytropis spp.)

Milk Vetch (Astragalus spp.),

Native Silvery Lupin (Lupinus argenteus)

Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium),

Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor)

Common Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia) Don’t plant creeping bellflower!

Native Larkspurs Delphium bicolour, D. glaucum or Nuttall’s Larkspur (D. nuttallianum) HIGH toxicity warning,

Rocky Mountain Bee Plant (Cleome serrulata),

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Penstemon spp.,

Scarlet Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea) (red-listed grassland species),

Plains Prickly Pear (Opuntia polyacantha),

Erigeron spp.

Blue Gentian (Gentiana spp.)

Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium spp.)

Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)

Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium spp.)


Native Annual: Bienenfreunde aka Lacy Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia)


Late-Blooming Native Asteraceae:

Blazing Star (Liatris spp.)

Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum)

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia spp.)

Tickseed (Coreopsis spp.)

Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritaceae)

Asters (Symphyotrichum spp.)

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)

Prairie Coneflowers (Ratibida spp.)

Black-eyed Susan the Alberta native is Rudbeckia serotina

Curly Cup Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa)

Wild Sunflowers

Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)



Exotic Perennials: 

Catmint (Nepeta cultivars)

*Sage (Salvia spp.)

*Meadow Sage (Salvia pratensis),

 *Oregano, *Thyme,

Tall Verbena (Verbena Bonariensis)

Hollyhocks (and other malva spp.),

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia),

Sea Holly (Eringeum spp.),

Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro),

False Sunflower (Heliopsis)


Exotic Annuals:

Borage (Borago officinalis),

*Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)

 *Tobacco (Nicotiana rustica),

Calendula (Calendula officinalis),

Blue Shrimp Plant (Cerinthe major)

Moroccan Toadflax (Linaria maroccana)


Veggies: Scarlet Runner Beans, *Nightshades (Tomato, Pepper, Eggplant, Potato), squash (Cucurbitae)

Let some of your veggies bloom for bees: radishes, kale, leeks, carrots, parsnips Extra bee-friendly herbage: cilantro, fennel and dill


Warning: Don’t plant Sainfoin (Onobrychis spp.)—I have recently found out that it is invasive in Alberta. Creeping bellflower is also invasive.



Sources and Recommended Reading:


Blazing Star Wildflower Seed Company: https://www.growwildflowers.ca/

Local native plants and seed nursery: http://www.wildaboutflowers.ca/


Native Plants for the Short Season Yard by Lyndon Penner. (This is a must-have book for the Albertan bumblebee gardener!!!!)

Victory Gardens for Bees: A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees by Lori Weidenhammer


List of Saskatchewan bumble bee species: http://beespeakersaijiki.blogspot.com/2017/11/saskatchewan-bumblebees-species-list.html


BB’s of Southern Alberta Guide to Queens by Megan Evans 17 true bb’s and 3 cuckoo bbs.


Bumble Bees of Calgary: A key and illustrated guide for identification of the bumble bee species found in Calgary, Alberta

Neame, Tobyn; Ritchie, Sarah; Summers, Mindi


Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide


Bumble bees of the western U.S. (I use this a lot)





Conserving Bumble Bees: Guidelines for Creating and Managing Habitat for America’s Declining Pollinators by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. (This is available online for free.)




Bumble bee nest relocation: A blog post




Videos, Allies and iNaturalist Links:

Bumble bees of Canada Monitoring Program (You can search for  your local bee sightings by typing it into the location setting)


Bees of Canada


Native Bee Society of BC Bee Tracker


Feel free to DM me/tag me if you want me to help ID a bee. (@beespeaker)


Alberta Native Bee Council: https://www.albertanativebeecouncil.ca/

The Native Bee Society of British Columbia: https://www.bcnativebees.org/

The Oregon Bee Project


The David Suzuki Butterfly Rangers



Sarah Johnson: Getting to know the bumble bees of western Canada


Lincoln Best: The Bumble bees of the Oregon Atlas