Bee-Friendly Flower Styles: Does Your Garden Include These Favorites?
Honeybees, bumblebees and wild bees need access to nectar and pollen every day they are active — from early spring through late fall. As flower gardeners, we can do a lot to ensure that the bees in our yards are able to find the nourishment they need to survive.
Since few of us have unlimited growing space, it helps to know which types of flowers bees find most appealing. Preferences differ by species, but there are some flower styles and plant families that consistently attract large numbers of bees. Growing some of the following types of bee-friendly flowers will ensure word gets out that your garden is a good place to be a bee.
These flowers are particularly attractive to honeybees and bumblebees. They are typically rich in pollen, provide easy access, and the cupped petals offer some shelter while feeding. Good examples of this flower style include crocuses, tulips, poppies, peonies, anemones, cosmos, hollyhocks and shrub roses.
These blossoms have flat centers that make good landing pads for eating, sunning and resting. Examples include golden marguerites, Shasta daisies, echinaceas, asters, sunflowers, zinnias, heleniums, rudbeckias and single or peony-style dahlias.
Plants with Fluffy Flowers
Wild bees are particularly attracted to plants with fluffy-looking flower clusters, such as Joe Pye weed, veronicastrum, goldenrod, buddleia, astilbe and most members of the mint family, including agastache (shown above).
Plants with Globe-Like Blossoms
These flowers are irresistible to many types of bees. The flower heads produce a plentiful supply of nectar and may have either flat florets (as shown above) or tubular ones (like chives). Examples include alliums, globe thistle, astrantias and scabiosas.
Flowers With Flat Umbels
Flowers in the carrot family have wide, flat umbels that attract many species of bees and especially the tiny solitary bees. Options include Queen Anne’s lace, ammi majus and angelica.
Flowers in the Mint Family
Plants in the mint family lure bees with their aromatic foliage and nectar-rich flowers. Garden worthy-plants include bee-friendly flowers such as monarda (bee balm), nepeta (catmint), lavender, sage and salvia.
Plants in the Legume Family
Bees are also crazy about plants in the legume family. This is because they produce extra nutritious pollen. Legumes with attractive, garden-worthy flowers include sweet peas, lupines and baptisia.
Plants in the Borage Family
Plants in the borage family are another magnet for bees. When their flowers are in bloom, you’ll find them covered with bees from dawn to dusk. At the top of this family of bee-friendly flowers is borage, followed by lungwort, forget-me-nots, heliotrope, Virginia bluebells and comfrey.
To learn more about growing a bee-friendly garden, we recommend the following article, available on our website: