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Bee friendly plants and flowers
- Activity time:
- More than 2 hours
- Difficulty level:
- Suitable for:
- Balcony/roof, Small garden, Large garden, Medium garden
- To help:
- Bees, Creepy crawlies, Dragonflies & damselflies, Butterflies & moths
Help bees by growing different flowers and shrubs that are full of nectar and pollen, to give them a rich feeding ground throughout the year.
Many of our bee species (bumblebees and solitary bees) are declining globally. We can really help them by providing nectar-rich plants for them.
Many flowers and shrubs found in garden centres are no good for for bees – they just don't produce any nectar or pollen. So we can help you choose wisely to provide a veritable feast for the bees.
You can, of course, plant borders up in the autumn if you like, ready for next year. But most people like to do their planting in spring and summer to see flowers bloom that year.
On warm, sunny days, you should notice several different species of happy bees visiting your garden. Sit back and listen to their gentle hum as they busily stock up.
Head to our shop, where you can buy wildflower seeds to attract pollinating bees.
- Choose your location. Take a walk around your garden or green space. Are there gaps in sheltered, sunny positions where you could fit in a bee-friendly plant? Do you have plants which never seem to have any insects visit them and which you'd be happy to replace with something better?
We've selected some of the very best plants for you to choose from that will ensure you have something flower from early spring through to late autumn and even in winter.
- Choose the best bee-friendly winter plants. Crocus, hellebore and winter heather (Erica carnea) will provide food for late-flying and early-emerging in bumblebees during colder months.
- Choose the best bee-friendly best spring plants: Aubretia (Aubreta), bugle (Ajuga), spotted deadnettle (Lamium maculatum), lungwort (Pulmonaria) or snake's-head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) all provide food for early bumblebees and solitary bees.
- Choose the best bee-friendly summer plants Allium (especially Allium sphaerocephalon), borage, catmint (Nepeta) Cirsium rivulare, foxglove (Digitalis) and most herbs will throng with all manner of different wild bees.
- Choose the best bee-friendly autumn plants. Bugbane (Actaea simplex), Caryopteris, Dahlias (single-flowered) and ivy give bees a source of nectar well into autumn.
- Sow or buy. You can either sow flower or plant seeds, or you can buy established shrubs from a local plant nursery or online.
- Plant your bee-friendly flowers in sunny, sheltered places, as this is what bees prefer. Plant in clumps – bees like a banquet, not a snack. Give your plants lots of water in hot, dry weather as this will help them produce nectar. You can use water collected in a water butt.
- Now take a stroll on any warm day and enjoy what looks like very happy bees.