Plants For Attracting Bees
Bees play a crucial role in our ecosystem. Not only do they help pollinate the food we need, but they also pollinate the trees and flowers that provide a habitat for many different wildlife species, that is why we prepared a list of the plants for attracting bees.
Nearly three-quarters of the plants used to produce 90% of the world’s food are pollinated by bees. Unfortunately, with the increased use of insecticides and the destruction of habitats, our essential pollinators, including bees, are on the decline.
There are ways you can help out in your own garden though. Bees love plants rich in nectar and pollen, so here are some plants you should consider for attracting bees.
Consider building a bee box to also help attract and support bees.
Tips For Choosing Bee Attracting Plants
Before we get into the plants you should consider for your garden, here are a few tips:
- Choose single, open flowers.
- Grow flowers from late winter right through to autumn.
- Include purple flowers as these stand out more clearly to bees.
- Plant in groups to make the colour and scent stronger.
- Don’t use pesticides.
- Retain lawn weeds (these are excellent pollen sources).
- Avoid double or multi-petalled flowers.
If you want to add Vegetables along with your flowers, here is a list of vegetables that grow in the fall.
Here is an article on how to make your own organic fertilizer plants.
The Best Plants For Attracting Bees
These purple summer plants are not only attractive for their scent, but they are also excellent for a few different bee species, including bumblebees, flower bees, and leafcutter bees.
The bright purple colour and the strong scent make it ideal for attracting pollinators for both the pollen and nectar.
Another purple flower, Alliums, is another great plant for attracting bees. You may be more familiar with the fact that Alliums are actually bulb plants, including onions and shallots.
Bees like them just the same as we do. Any Allium plant will be ideal for bees, as they love them all, providing a rich source of pollen. These decorative plants can be ideal for bordering your flower beds too.
You may be thinking, but that’s a weed. And that may be true, but bees will thank you for them. Dandelions are rich in pollen and nectar, making them a valuable source of nutrients for bees.
Even if you don’t like them on your lawn, you should consider planting a few somewhere to provide a valuable food source for bees, including honeybees and wild bees.
These hardy perennial plants are another treat for attracting bees. Another purple flower, these plants may need little care in the garden but can bring lots of goodness to bees.
The long flowering period of Comfrey flowers means you can keep them flowering right up until October to continue providing pollen and nectar to bees in the autumn.
Poppies are an interesting plant for bees. They lack inflorescences, meaning they don’t produce nectar.
They are, however, very rich in pollen. For that reason, Poppies can be another great plant for bees. Bumblebees, honeybees, and solitary bees will visit the different shades of red, yellow, orange, pink, and even blue Poppy flowers.
Monardas (also referred to as Beebalm) is another plant ideal for attracting bees.
While these plants are generally more considered for wildlife gardens, the late summer to autumn flowering gives bees a source of pollen after most of the summer flowers have finished. They are purple, too, helping them to stand out more to bees.
These tall plants with bell-liked shaped flowers are another plant you should consider for attracting bees.
Bees with longer tongues, such as the common carder bee, are best suited for Foxgloves, as they get the nectar and pollen out from deep inside the flower head. These plants come in a range of colours, including pink, white, and purple.
Not your lucky four-leaf type of clover, these white and red summer flowers are another great plant for attracting bees.
Both common and rare species of bees can feast on this thriving source of pollen. Ideally suited for wilder areas of a garden, the white clover flower has a flowering life right up until October. You may find Clovers can thrive on your lawn too.
These plants are another attraction for bees that have not hibernated during the autumn.
The sweet scent of the nectar can attract long-tongue bees, such as the bumblebee or the carder bee. They can also attract another pollinator, moths, at night too.
Geraniums, and more specifically Cranesbill, is another plant that attracts bees. A long-time favourite of gardeners, these plants are ideally suited for bedding.
Flowering in spring and summer, Geraniums is a plant you should start planting now, ready for summer flowering. Most Geraniums are perennials that will flower with fresh growth every year. They are relatively easy to grow too. The blue and purple colours help them to stand out to pollinators.
Ivy plants flower in the autumn and so help to provide a source of pollen and nectar right up until the last bees enter hibernation before the winter.
Unfortunately, Ivy plants take a very long time to establish (sometimes up to 10 years). Unless you already have Ivy planted in your garden, you could be waiting a long time for bees to start reaping the benefits. They can provide an excellent source for pollinators, and the dense foliage can even provide a nesting place.
Considered a cottage garden classic, Catmint is another plant ideally suited for attracting bees. Catmint is ideal for a wide range of bee species.
Very easy to grow, Catmint can be grown almost anywhere, making it ideal for designing the perfect garden and attracting bees. The blue colour helps Catmint to stand out to bees as well.
You may be thinking, but that’s a herb. It is, but herbs can be a great plant for attracting bees, too, including coriander.
Extremely easy to grow, you can add a pot or two of this herb to your windowsill outside. Not only ideal for cooking, but it provides a rich source of pollen and nectar for bees. Basil and Chive flowers are other herbs ideal for attracting bees.
These climbing plants are not only great for helping to brighten up a wall, but they are also ideal for attracting bees.
Clematis plants can provide both pollen and nectar, helping to make them an ideal source of nutrients for bees and other pollinators.
Another plant ideally suited for attracting bees is Hollyhocks. Coming in colors of pink, white and purple, these flowers are an excellent source of pollen, particularly for bumblebees.
The tall flower and bright colour help them to stand out to bees. These perennials also flower each year, growing stronger as they produce more flower stems.
Plants For Attracting Bees Summary
With plenty of time left to still see some of these plant’s flowers, consider adding some to your garden displays this year. At a time when the bees are in danger, every little help can make sure we keep these essential pollinators thriving.
There are plenty more plants too that attract bees and other pollinators than just the ones covered here. But planting any of the plants we’ve mentioned will keep the bees coming back time and time again for the sweet nectar and pollen.
I wish you success!
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You may also like to check out the ASPCA WEBSITE for a complete list of plants that are toxic and non-toxic to pets.
This guest post was written by Aaron Middleton for Hilltop Garden Centre. Check out their website for more information on gardening and everything you need to know about garden furniture.