Bees are nature's hardworking little workers, and we adore them. They're up and ready to pollinate as soon as spring arrives, keeping our ecosystem moving. Bees, on the other hand, cannot do their job, which is vital to our survival, without the right flowers and plants. Unfortunately, the bee population isn't what it once was, and our fuzzy little friends are in for some tough times. So, what can we do to assist? Of course, by learning about the flowers that bees enjoy!
We're here to show you some bee-friendly plants to brighten up your garden, whether you're a gardening expert or simply a nature lover (and help save our ecosystem).
WHAT'S THE BUZZ ABOUT BEES?
First and foremost, we must comprehend what attracts bees. You may believe that any flower will suffice, but this is not the case.
In short, scientists have discovered that flower colors can aid pollinators in finding nectar, so attractive petals are essential. A fun fact is that bees have a wider range of color vision than we do. It means that bees are drawn to certain colors, particularly darker hues like purple, violet, and blue.
That isn't all, though. Because bees come in a variety of sizes and shapes, some flower shapes are more appealing to them than others. Long-tongued bees, such as the garden bumblebee, love flowers with a funnel or tube shape, such as foxgloves and snapdragons. Bowl-shaped flowers, such as Poppies and Buttercups, are easy for bees to access and provide a plentiful supply of pollen.
So, keep these things in mind when looking for bee-friendly plants for your garden. Let's get started on the list!
WHAT FLOWERS DO BEES LIKE?
Flowers that produce nectar and pollen give bees a real buzz. Unfortunately, many of the shrubs and flowers sold in garden centers, no matter how lovely they appear, do not produce enough to assist our furry friends.
Instead, decorate your garden with these top ten bee-friendly plants:
We're all familiar with this bright purple flower with a sweet scent. Lavender is a beautiful addition to any garden, and it also happens to be one of bees' favorite plants due to its high nectar content. When was the last time you saw a lavender plant without bees? You can also dry the leaves to make lavender bags or potpourri for your home as an added bonus.
The Crocus is a stunning flower that comes in a variety of colors including cream, violet, and orange. Its cup opens up to reveal a large yellow center, attracting all the bees, including the prestigious Queen bumblebee, to its nectar bar! It's a royal bloom, to be sure.
Bluebells are an excellent pollinator plant for bees and other pollinating insects like butterflies. Their bright, eye-catching color draws them in, and the sweet nectar on offer serves as a tempting prize. When they bloom in the spring, they create a vibrant display in any garden.
Plant a Comfrey if you want to attract a variety of bees. This pollen powerhouse is a subtle flowering shrub with long thin leaves. As a result, both honeybees and bumblebees love it. This one is more suitable for a larger garden.
Catmint, a herb-like plant with micro purple petals that attracts our favorite buzzy friends, adds a splash of color with its micro purple petals. They're not only good for bees and other pollinators, but they're also great for cat owners.
Although rosemary is a herb rather than a flower, it is so popular with bees that it deserves to be mentioned. Rosemary is a herb that will not only liven up your dishes, but it will also liven up your garden with its appealing light fragrance and is easy to grow, even if you don't have a lot of space. Even better, the bees adore it!
When in bloom, the 'bee bush,' as it is affectionately known, is adorned with gentle white flowers that open up to welcome bumblebees and honeybees.
Snowdrops arrive with the first signs of spring, alongside the bees. It's no surprise that these humble little flowers are so popular, given their lovely white petals. They're also brimming with yellow pollen, which attracts hungry bees.
Honeysuckle is a delightful garden plant with its unmistakable sweet scent. Long-tongued bees, such as the Carder bumblebee, love its tube-like flowers. What could be more appropriate than a name that includes the word "honey"?
SINGLE FLOWER DAHLIAS
We're all familiar with Dahlia's lovely double-bloomed varieties, but they're not great for pollinators. Dahlias with single flowers, on the other hand, are popular with bees and butterflies and are equally beautiful in the garden. Bishop of York, Annika, Twynings Candy, and Magenta Star are some lovely options to consider.
BEE FRIENDLY PLANTS BY SEASON
It's also important to consider seasonality when thinking about what flowers bees like. There are plenty of plants and flowers for bees throughout the year, whether it's spring, summer, or winter.
Because bees prefer variety, it's not a bad idea to include a variety of plants in your garden to attract our fuzzy little friends and others.
SPRING PLANTS FOR BEES
As the chill of winter dissipates, Spring ushers in a plethora of blooming flowers and plants. The ever popular Rhododendron, with its colorful and vibrant petals, is one of the more bee friendly plants. Another is the Forget-me-not, a perennial wildflower with lovely tiny blue petals that are ideal for luring bees in.
The Wood Aemon and Primrose plants, both fragrant, bloom at this time of year, providing a tasty source of nectar for bees everywhere.
Bluebell season runs from May to September, and these open flowers have a sweet, appealing scent that wildlife - and us - enjoy.
SUMMER BLOOMS FOR BEES
Mother nature is busy in the months of June and August, with many flowers in bloom, including stunning lavender fields. The sprouting white flower of the Hawthorn is another shrub that sees spring turn to summer. Solitary bees such as the Red Mason and Ashy mining bees, as well as birds, flock to this wildlife haven.
The distinctive foxglove and honeysuckle, which attract a variety of bees, are two other divine summer flowers.
Last but not least, there's the Phacelia flower. It is regarded as one of the most beneficial plants for bees. Although it blooms in the spring, this summer plant is exceptionally rich in nectar, making it a favorite of bees.
AUTUMN PLANTS FOR BEES
Autumn is a time when bees are more in search of food and shelter after the summertime boom of colony expansion. Unfortunately, as the seasons change, fewer flowers bloom, making it more difficult for them to find the pollen and nectar they require.
So, what are some autumn plants for bees that will benefit our fliers?
The lovely Abelia is also known as the ‘bee bush,' which gives you an idea of its popularity! Honeybees and bumblebees love it because of its sweet scent and abundance of small flowers.
The Cosmos is out of this world, just like its name suggests. This flying-saucer flower has a large open cup that attracts bees, making it a hive of activity. It blooms in June and continues to bloom well into late autumn, especially if you continue to deadhead it.
WINTER BLOOMS FOR BEES
Although both bees and flowers usually hibernate in the winter, there are a few plants that can keep the bees going until spring. Between December and February, the cheerful Ivy drops yellow flower droplets - yes, really! This provides a valuable nectar drink for queens and honeybees preparing to hibernate at a time when few other plants are in season.
The Winter Aconite, as its name suggests, is another winter flower that attracts honeybees, mining bees, and bumblebees with plenty of pollen.
Finally, the delightful Snowdrop is one of the best plants for bees in the winter. Although it blooms late into the spring, it's one of the few flowers that bumblebees and honeybees can eat during the winter.