8 Best Flowers for a Bee-Friendly Garden
Discover the best flowers to build a bee-friendly garden that increases pollination and helps to save the bees in your own backyard.
A bee-friendly garden is more than just a beautiful, colorful space for you to enjoy, or a place for pollinators to jump from plant to plant. It can provide nectar, pollen, and building materials that the at-risk honey bee needs to survive.
Bees play a vital role in a healthy ecosystem and economy as a result of their unmatched pollinating ability and contribution to our agriculture industry. Did you know that bees are directly responsible for one-third of our food supply? So why not add a few bee-friendly flowers to your garden to make the world a little more hospitable to these indispensable little insects?
Whether you’re an avid gardener with a green thumb or just do your best to keep the weeds out of your flower beds, we’ve put together a list of the 8 best flowers for a bee-friendly garden.
8 Beautiful Flowers for your Bee-Friendly Gard
This pretty blue flower is known for its star shape and is loved by pollinators for its sweet nectar. It is a medicinal herb that can also be eaten by humans – you can even add it to salads for a cucumber-like flavor. Just leave some for the insects, as this plant acts as a bee hotspot – both honey bees and bumblebees love it.
2. Butterfly Bush
Unsurprisingly, this plant does an excellent job of attracting butterflies. A pollinator’s dream, honey bees and hummingbirds also love the Butterfly Bush. These plants grow best in direct sun and bloom from spring to summer, giving off a wonderful scent. Just be sure you have lots of space to grow them – they can grow 8-10 feet in circumference.
Also known as Echinacea, this tall flower is excellent for your bee-friendly garden. This is because bees can access as much nectar from the coneflower in the hot midday and afternoon as in the morning. Even in the hot summer months, the coneflower is useful to bees and other pollinators, which is not the case for all plants.
Even the least knowledgeable plant-lover can recognize the daisy. A favorite for decorations and long-lasting stems, these flowers are easy to grow and can fit in any type of garden. The classic Shasta daisy, with the white petals and yellow center, is particularly great for attracting bees, but daisies also come in a variety of other colors.
We know these flowers are much more well-loved by pollinators than by gardeners, but please don’t kill your dandelions with herbicides! Allowing dandelions to grow is one of the easiest ways to make your garden bee-friendly. They start blooming in early spring and continue in smaller numbers through summer, providing much-needed food for honey bees.
This flower is a great addition to your bee-friendly garden because it blooms in late summer or early autumn as opposed to earlier in the year. Having a wide variety of blooming times in your garden is an excellent way to ensure there is ample nectar and pollen available for bees. These vibrant yellow flowers also bring some beautiful color to your garden as the temperatures start to cool. (Note: Goldenrod is considered invasive in some areas so you’ll want to confine this one to a flower box or area where it can’t easily spread.)
Bees love lavender, and there are some other pretty great benefits of having the flower in your garden. It grows best in direct sun, particularly a spot that gets strong afternoon sun, and of course, it gives off a beautiful scent. The fragrant plant also helps ward off mosquitos and is excellent for drying to have in the home.
This bright and towering flower is excellent for attracting bees and it relies on bees to survive. Sunflowers are particularly good for a bee-friendly garden because each flower’s large central disc contains many smaller tubular disc flowers, each with its own supply of nectar and pollen. The attractive outer petals attract the bees, who go from flower to flower within the disc, becoming covered with pollen.
More than just a pretty addition to your backyard or community, a bee-friendly garden that’s pesticide-free is a great way to ensure bees are able to pollinate and thrive throughout the warmer months.
Why honeybees are disappearing
Honeybee populations have been collapsing over the last few years. In 2019 alone, the US lost about 40% of its honeybee colonies. This is largely due to climate change and industrialization.
Rising temperatures and more extreme weather conditions gave rise to parasite populations. More specifically, the Varroa destructor is becoming more prominent and poses threats to honeybee hives. True to its name, this parasite impairs flight, reduces lifespan, and causes malformation. This ultimately leads to colony collapse and reduction in bee populations.
Industrialization and the boom of industrial farms also pose threats to bee populations. Monoculture farms (or farms that grow one or two crops on the same land each year) severely threaten honey bees in their feeding journey. Like us, honey bees need a wide variety of nutrients to flourish– and bees need biodiverse lands to get all the nutrients they need. After all, would humans thrive if we only ate French fries every day – or even apples for that matter?
How you can help save the bees in your own backyard
Choosing the right flowers–and planting a biodiverse garden– can help bees pollinate throughout the warmer months. Plants and flowers offer different nutritive components in their pollen, and bees need all these nutrients to thrive. By planting several bee-friendly flowers, you can have a beautiful, colorful space and help bees thrive.
Once you’ve attracted pollinators to your garden, there’s even more you can do to help save the bees. The honey bee’s most significant threat is a vicious external parasite called the Varroa mite. You can use Perpetual Pollen’s Everbee solution to fight this threat to the honey bees.
Use the Everbee solution alongside your bee-friendly garden to help save honey bees from the Varroa mite in your own backyard.
Guest Post Author Bio:
Perpetual Pollen is building the first science-backed consumer product proven to help save the bees right from your backyard. Learn more by signing up to the waitlist (coming soon) and they will plant a tree in partnership with OneTreePlanted.
Thanks for your comment, Wilson! Indeed, native flowers are some of the best attractors for bees and other local pollinators! If you notice, several of the flowers listed ARE native to most of the United States – particularly daisies, dandelions, and goldenrod. Some species of coneflowers may also grow wild in some areas. These and other native flowers are great additions to your garden – and easy to grow! Many of them may simply establish themselves if you allow them to grow instead of treating them as “weeds” and pulling them out.
It would be great if some emphasis was placed on native flowers.