bee forage

Native bee forage: five spot

Five spot, Nemophilia maculata, is an annual spring flower that is great for attracting a wide variety of native bees as well as honey bees. This California native plant grows 6-12 inches high, will thrive in sun or partial shade, and blooms in late spring or early summer. It is easy to grow from seed and requires little maintenance.

One cheerful spot occurs on each petal and sports a deep purple color that is especially attractive to bees. The flowers are a source of both pollen and nectar. I plant five spot in a whiskey barrel and, by mid-spring, fluffy mounds of purple and white cascade over the rim. It is one of my favorite “bait” flowers—I check it daily for pollinators I can photograph.

Five spot is available by the packet or by the pound. Once planted it reseeds easily but is not invasive. It works in rock gardens, planters, borders, or for over-seeding daffodils or tulips.


Small native bee on five spot. Photo by the author.

Barrel of five spot. Photo by the author.


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