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GARDEN TIP – What to plant in the fall to feed your mason bees in early spring

It’s mid-autumn and a perfect time of year to get things planted for the upcoming spring! The ground is still soft, and the weather is starting to stabilize, allowing for plants to establish a healthy root system before their winter dormancy. Mason bees start hatching in early spring, making it essential to have pollen ready for them to eat once they fully emerge. Before the winter frost starts settling in, here’s a list of some early spring blooming plants to plant now that will provide food for your mason bees for when they first hatch.

Stop by your local garden center and check out what your nursery might be carrying! You may find a new addition to wrap up your 2021 garden and some tools to prepare you for next year. As we start wrapping up all the pruning, mulching, and adding to the garden, let’s all celebrate the accomplishments we’ve done both in the yard and for your ecosystem with the final push towards winter.

Give your mason bees a nice warm welcome with these early bloomers to encourage them to forage in the garden space!

If you haven’t already pre-ordered your pollinators for 2022 and would like to do so, please visit our website and let us know if you have any questions on planting or about our bees!

Do you have any favorite early spring bloomers that weren’t mentioned in the list? Comment down below and let us know!



•Amazing groundcover plant and can be used as borders
•Attracts lots of pollinator friends from the plentiful bright blooms
•Bloom time depends on variety but mainly April – may



• Slow growing groundcover with lots of colors and bloom shapes to choose from
• Showy blooms for pops of color throughout the garden bed
• Main blooming times are mid spring – late spring






  • Early spring blooming magnolias provide a safe haven for pollinators
  • Most evergreen magnolias bloom towards summer, but the deciduous kinds provide earlier bloom times and a larger variety of shapes and colors
  • High pollen quantities



  • Early spring – mid spring blooms lead to maroon colored foliage
  • Small dainty blooms covering large branches






•Cold hearty blooms for late winter interest
•Pollinated blooms develop into small red fruit; not super taste but can be made into a jam or spread
•Gorgeous fall colors





  • Robust blooms on bare branches during late winter and early spring
  • Cut branches can be used in vases
  • Thornless varieties are becoming more available






•Extremely fragrant cluster of blooms
•Pollinator magnate
•Depending on varieties, main bloom time spans through March – April





•Bright yellow blooms on bare branches though January – March







•Low-growing shade plant with large varieties of blooms
•Great for winter gardens
•Depending on varieties, blooms go through winter – late spring




•Wonderful shade plant that provides texture and contrast in the garden
•Small yellow blooms through January – May and mature to blue berries
•Berries are very tart and can be harvested to make jams and jellies





•Thrive in mostly shade and have very fragrant blooms
•Depending on the variety, bloom time spans though January – April for winter bloomers





•Bell-like blooms through late winter – early spring
•New growth comes out a bright red/orange and fades to green, giving the plant year-round interest in colors





•Glossy leaves look gorgeous in contrast with their powdery blooms from late winter – early spring
•Depending on variety, flowers will have long bloom times and may bloom twice
•Many color and shape varieties


































Reader Interactions


  1. Laura A Mowrey says

    Thank you for this…..we have spent a fortune these past couple of years and have added over 200 new flowering perennials to our yard for our Masons, leafcutters and native bees. I am always looking for more ideas for the Masons however. We do have several of the plants you mentioned above but now I have even more ideas. 🙂

  2. John Brewer says

    I’m late to the game. I have an order of bees coming this spring. You know the Northwest — what’s the best bet at this late date to jump-start bee-friendly flowers for the spring?

    Lots of plants listed in this blog — but what’s realistic for planting in December? It seems way too late to plant seeds of any kind. Or am I wrong about that?

    We have a reasonably robust garden, but I’d like to do whatever I can to enhance it, to make it as good as possible for my new bees.

    Many thanks!

    • Thyra McKelvie says

      We’re getting some sunny days currently and some of my early spring plants are starting to bloom, but I planted them last spring. You can head to the nursery and ask what they would recommend for your area. It may take a year to come up with a pollination plan for your yard. They’ll have grown plants/shrubs that will be blooming soon and you could get some of those for your yard for this year and then plan out next year.

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