With pollinator conservation in mind, it’s a good idea to plant flower seeds for bees. But which ones can be categorized as the best pollinator plants? Which bee flowers are the simplest to sow and grow? What flowers can be grown in schoolyards and containers to care for the pollinators?
Certain plants yield flowers that are substantial in nectar and pollen to ensure proper pollination. The plants and the bees (and all the insects) that pollinate them have progressed in harmony to cultivate essential relationships — one can’t survive without the other, and together they will thrive! So, the first deliberation is which plants are, by their nature, specifically attractive to bees. A few of the best flowers to plant for bees consist of:
This is an easy-to-grow perennial plant that returns every year in partial shade or full sun. The flowers are edible, but allocate some for the masses of wild bees and butterflies they will be sure to attract—height to 120cm.
This recurrent flower is listed ubiquitously for attracting butterflies, including the Monarch butterfly, when planted in its range. The flowers are incredibly plentiful when it comes to nectar so that it is also a magnet for wild and domestic bees, hummingbirds, and several other pollinators. It is somewhat challenging to grow from seed, needing an early start indoors. Asclepias tubers are also obtainable, and slightly easier to plant in spring. Height to 70cm.
Bergamot and Wild Bergamot
Both of these bloom in late summer after many bee-friendly garden flowers have vanished from the scene. But they are both outrageously appealing to all kinds of bees, as well as hummingbirds and butterflies. These tender perennials may or may not endure winter in seaside gardens, but they can certainly self-sow from flowers that yield a large number of seeds. Wild Bergamot is the taller of the two, growing to 90cm. Both work well in elevated beds and flower borders.
This perennial herb possesses intense blue, edible flowers that have a tempting and mild cucumber taste. The flowers are appealing to various bumblebee species — the bees use their buzzing muscles at a specific resonance for the flower to emit a blast of pollen. Borage only grows to about 60cm tall, but it may steadily spread in the right soil and light conditions. Or it can be grown in elevated beds and containers as well.
This outstanding annual plant is very easy to grow and has many uses. Buckwheat’s nectar-rich flowers are attractive to honeybees. Buckwheat honey is famously dark in color and richly flavored. This readily-growing plant makes an outstanding cover crop, stifling weeds, and generating tonnes of organic matter. Cut the stems following flowering and till them under to augment soil fertility and texture. Buckwheat can grow up to 75cm in just six weeks!
This variety is super easy to grow in containers, and it even harvests edible flowers. Tear off some of the yellow and golden orange flowers to scatter over summer salads. Calendula is also appealing to wild bees, butterflies, and other advantageous insects. Height to 60cm.
You won’t believe how many honeybees herd to the flowers of this tall perennial. Cardoon was the original artichoke and produced edible stalks. It will grow 1,2-2 m tall, so allot it a place near the back of the garden, and relish its stunning purple flowers almost as much as the bees do.
Ideal for containers or elevated beds, this striking annual produces an astonishingly red inflorescence. The plants stay compact at only 35cm or so, but they attract bumblebees and other wild bees from far and wide. The seeds require an early start indoors in peat pots for the best results.
So simple to grow, and with so many uses, Cornflower harvests intensely blue flowers on individual stems that grow to up to 90 cm tall. The flowers are edible, so they serve as great garnishes for summer salads. They dry particularly well for fall arrangements. In addition, they are extremely attractive to bees and other pollinators. Grow this yearly plant in clumps or pots around the garden for a great display of summer flowers.
Every garden, whatsoever the size, deserves at least one bunch of multi-purpose chives. After yielding its delicious and mildly onion-flavored leaves, it sends up a globe-shaped bunch of edible pink flowers that appeal to all kinds of bees. Chives can be cultivated as companion plants to deter aphids and, at the same time, entice predatory insects and pollinators. They work well in containers and elevated beds, so they are exceedingly multipurpose.
This is another simple to grow annual that is available in a range of heights and flower colors. Plant a Cosmos, and the bees will surely come. Most varieties are rather tall, growing up to 2 m, so they are well-suited for the border or raised bed than for containers. But they are easy to preserve and normally fool-proof. Merely confiscate spent flowers, and the plants will continue to bloom all summer.
Cucumber et all
Cucumbers are just one sort of garden crop that produces flowers attractive to bees. Cucumbers have relatively small, bright yellow flowers that grow along with vines at each leaf interval. The Squash, their larger cousins, have much bigger flowers. It’s not infrequent to find five or more honeybees in each flower.
Interestingly, one of the prevalent issues with cucumbers and squash is a shortage of good pollination. This is because the flowers can be concealed beneath the broad leaves, out of view from scavenging bees. The greatest method to improve squash pollination is to go ahead and plant some sunflowers in their midst to welcome pollinators from far-reaching territories.
A crown of large leaves breeds in the first year for these two-yearly plants. In the second year, the plant shoots up a tall spire, shielded in tube-shaped flowers from deep purple to white. The flower spike can be as tall as 2 m or more! Digitalis is highly striking for bumblebees and other wild bees, but the flowers are positively not comestible for humans. The entirety of the plant is toxic and not fit for consumption.
Keeping up with the purple theme is this familiar garden perennial. The long-lasting blooms make outstanding cut flowers but are also striking for bees, hoverflies, and other beneficial pollinators and predators. Echinacea achieves to put on its best show during and after its third year of growth, but it is a pleasant flower for cottage gardens and allotments alike. Height to about 90 cm.
Any gardener who has rooted Phacelia will know just how appealing this annual is to bees of all kinds. The nectar-rich flower heads unfold like fern leaves, revealing flower after flower over the course of weeks in the garden. Honeybees, bumblebees, and notches of other wild bees keep buzzing around the flowers from the commencement of summer to late summer. Phacelia can be developed in containers, but works best in elevated beds or set in the garden in partial shade to full sun. This easy to grow plant may stretch up to 25 cm tall.
The face of a sunflower consists of tiny, individual flowers packed tightly together. The myriad of nectar-rich flowers open over weeks, first in the outer perimeter of the bloom, proceeding towards its center. Because of the gradual release of lots of nectar and pollen, bees will make reappearances to the same plant over the course of weeks. The unusual height sunflowers possess make them act as beacons in the garden, attracting bees from great distances. This makes them valuable for increasing pollination in harvests like squash, in which the flowers might be obscured by foliage. Sunflowers are easy annuals that possess an assortment of heights, from tiny (for containers) to massive (for open fields). Many of the larger selections have the supplementary appeal of generating loads of edible seeds to be relished by the gardener or left out for wild birds.
This is another simple to grow annual that blossoms in warm soil in full sun. Zinnia flowers are similar to dahlias in several ways, starting as a nearly round ball of petals, and slowly opening to disclose a pollen-rich banquet for bees. The giant blooms emerge atop erect stems and make outstanding cut flowers. There is a limitless range of colors — they are all brightly colored and pleasing to the eye. Nearly all Zinnias grow 75-90 cm tall so that they will work in larger containers, in elevated beds, and the garden border as well.
This is only a collection of the thousands of flowers that entice and feed bees. By introducing multiple varieties, the garden is made more creative as an ecosystem. Still, the bees are also proposed a much more extended period in which to feed as spring flowers disappear, summer flowers blossom for the first time, and so on. Biodiversity is one of the indispensable tenets of organic gardening and forms healthier plant and insect communities.
If you only have a minute area to plant, deliberate planting a packet of low maintenance wildflower blend. It will add a splash of vivid color to a junction of your garden. And the bees will be grateful too!