Bees are the best pollinators that nature has to offer, and it’s in our best interest to plant a few bee-friendly plants in our garden. Certain plants will help keep them fed, happy and pro-creating so there will always be a strong bee population to pollinate all of our food plants. Plan your garden so there will be something in bloom most of the year to provide a constant source of pollen for hungry bees. Plant some of these bee-friendly garden plants to attract these hard-working pollinators to your landscape.
Lavender flowers are very attractive to bees
Spring Blooming Plants
Spring brings a lot of activity in the insect and plant world. Pollinating bees are anxious to get busy building hives, increasing the size of their colonies and making honey. They need pollen to accomplish all of this. Make sure the bees have their food and you have beautiful floral blooms and fresh produce by providing them with pollen-rich spring blooming plants.
Plant some crocus, borage, calendula, hyacinth, forsythia and lilacs for a spring blooming feast that bees won’t be able to resist. Bees also enjoy the pollen-rich blooms on blueberry and blackberry bushes in the spring.
Summer Blooming Plants
There’s no shortage of blooming plants during the summer months, but there are some that bees prefer.
Their preferred list of summertime pollen plants include bee balm, butterfly bush, cosmos, echinacea, foxglove, forget-me-not, hosta and snapdragon. Most garden vegetable plants are in bloom during the summer and provide pollen for pollinators. Bees are especially attracted to okra and squash blooms, and corn silks on developing ears of corn.
Fall Blooming Plants
Incorporate a few of these flowers that will bloom right up until the first frost to keep bee activity going strong in your landscape. Aster, zinnia, sedum and witch hazel. Bee balm and butterfly bushes will continue to bloom into the fall. Golden rod is a bee favorite in the fall that grows naturally in the wild. To promote the growth of golden rod, leave a section of your landscape in its natural state. Several native pollen-rich plants will grow and provide bees with pollen.
Bee-friendly gardens can be pretty, too: Close-up of a borage flower
Editor´s note: This year, I´m growing specifically for pollinators large amounts of the following plants (basically in any corner I could spare, and a couple of extra beds plus along the edges of several borders):
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), see picture above – LOVED by bees and bumblebees, flowers the whole summer and makes a spectacular display
Calendula officinalis – a beautiful orange shade this season, also growing quite high for a change (2ft plus), many medical properties, edible flowers, keeps the colour well when dried
Phacelia tanacetifolia – it´s said to have soil structure improving properties, so I seeded it wherever I could, will report later in the year how well it did in that regard
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) – growing really well and fast even in difficult conditions, ground covering, supposed to have a positive effect on soil structure, too