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Smart Garden 2020: How to plan a Bee Lawn

A bee lawn in flower. Photo: UMN Bee Lab
Thinking of planting a more "pollinator friendly" lawn this spring? Minnesota’s Lawns to Legumes program has received national attention this past year. The first round of grant applications were awarded in March 2020 to 13 community, government, or non profit organizations and many individual homeowners

The second round of applications for fall planting are due June 2, 2020. (Here's the link with more information: Apply for Lawns to Legumes Assistance.)

But you certainly do not have to be awarded a grant to plant a more pollinator friendly lawn. We have covered this topic in previous posts, but several people have asked me for sources, especially LOCAL sources for the seed or plants for Bee Lawns. 

What kind of grass should I plant?

The lawn grass recommended for bee lawns is fine fescue, the grass seed in most shady lawn mixes. Many stores now sell white clover seed, the easier to grow pollinator plant in bee lawns.  However, the creeping thyme and self-heal are harder to find. 

Here is what I have been able to locate so far: 

Twin Cities Seed Company is offering a Bee Lawn seed mix with 4 fine fescues, white clover, creeping thyme and self-heal from their Edina, Minnesota location. 

Minnesota Native Landscapes sells Bee Lawn seed mix that you can order online from the Otsego, MN location.    

Heidi’s GrowHaus & Lifestyle Gardens will again sell seed for all four bee lawn plants (fescue, white clover, thyme and self-heal) and plants of thyme and self-heal at their garden center in Corcoran, MN. 

Bee Lawn flower sources

Creeping Thyme (Thymus Serpyllum).
The creeping thyme is Thymus serpyllum, a low growing and hardy thyme that is slow to grow from seed, but fully winter hardy in USDA Zone 4 although not native to Minnesota. 

Here's an online seed source: Outside Pride.

The small, slow growing self-heal, Prunella vulgaris is native to Minnesota and can be purchased online from this company:  

All sources above are seed, not plants. Plants should be grown if there is a demand, so please contact your favorite garden center and ask for these plants.

Lunseth provides a number of lawn care services and can install bee lawns. Organic Bob also installs bee lawns in the Twin Cities.

'How To Create a Bee Lawn' Resources

Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris)

 Complete information on establishing bee lawns can be found at the 

 Here's information about the work at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum  including where you can see bee lawn demonstration plots up close.
 Help pollinators by planting a Bee-Friendly Lawn

 It’s impossible for me to capture ALL sources, so please if you are a   retailer selling bee lawn seed or plants, specifically creeping thyme, self-heal list your business in the comments below this post. 

  The more the merrier! Thank you! 

 Author: Mary H. Meyer, Extension Horticulturist and Professor 


References and More Resources

Learn about the State grant program: 

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