13 Plants That Attract Bees

13 Plants That Attract Bees

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Tyler C Rich
August 12, 2021
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Flowers are lovely, adding a dash of color to our gardens and vegetable plots.

But they’re so much more than just pretty.

Flowers are essential in our ecology because insects and other small creatures eat them and cause pollination. Plants that attract bees are precious for pollination, for example.

Without pollination, no plants would increase, and people would starve.

So, if you think there is something you can do to assist bees, you should!

Continue reading to learn more about the lovely variety of plants that attract bees, and then think about planting these in your garden to aid pollinators and plants.

Our top thirteen choices are listed below.

1. Borage

Borage

Borage is also known as a starflower because of its beautiful star-shaped blue blossoms. Both people and pollinating insects enjoy borage because it provides plenty of delicious nectar, ideal for bees.

It has gorgeous soft green foliage, and the best part about it is that it self-seeds, making it a very low-maintenance flower to grow. Another excellent feature of this plant is that it is not only attractive but also functional.

You can cook with all parts of the plant and add the seeds, leaves, and flowers to culinary and herbal preparations as they are all edible.

How to care for borage

Water your Borage regularly, at least every few days, while it’s sprouting from seed and establishing itself in your garden. You can reduce watering frequency once the plant reaches maturity, allowing the soil to dry completely between watering.

2. Butterfly Bush

Butterfly Bush

As the name suggests, Butterfly bushes are a great way to attract butterflies (and hummingbirds) to your yard.

In the spring and summer, purple, lavender, pink, or white blossoms release a beautiful aroma, and you can cultivate them in zones 5-9. And, unlike annuals, these are woody shrubs that can grow for decades with proper care and pruning.

You’ll need a lot of space, though, as they may grow to between 8 and 10 feet tall and have a circumference of nearly the same size.

How to care for butterfly bush

Taking care of a Butterfly Bush is simple. First, during prolonged dry spells, water the shrub slowly and deeply so that the soil takes the water deep into the root zone.

Unless cultivated in poor soil, the plants do not require fertilizing. If you need to enrich the ground, spread a layer of compost over the root zone or scrape in some general-purpose fertilizer.

Next, apply a fine layer of mulch to the root zone, as this is especially crucial in cold climates, where the roots require shelter from the elements during the winter.

3. Cornflower

Cornflower

You will more than likely see butterflies fluttering about the 2-foot-tall flower stalks of this plant, also known as Echinacea.

Bees and other tiny insects are attracted to the blooms, which works well for pollinating this plant. These flowers work best in perennial borders next to a vegetable garden because of their size.

How to care for cornflower

You should only water Cornflowers once a week during periods when there isn’t any rain. Between watering, let the soil dry out a little.

Allowing the soil to dry out too much will cause the plants to wilt. However, Cornflowers are drought resistant and will quickly recover from dry spells.

4. Cow Parsnip

Cow Parsnip

Cow Parsnip is one of the most significant sources of pollen and nectar plants that attract bees and wasps due to the large size of its compound umbels (a fancy way of expressing a specific type of flower cluster that is distinctive of the parsley family).

Heracleum lanatum, sometimes known as Cow Parsnip, is a graceful, white-blossomed perennial native to North America. It thrives in numerous environments, including forests, forest clearings, and grasslands.

How to care for cow parsnip

It prefers wet, shady conditions, although it can also survive in open spaces and drier conditions. The plant loves well-drained loam or sandy loam.

Cow Parsnip is a common understory plant also found in subarctic alpine zones. Handle these plants with caution since they can inflict painful burns and are dangerous to people.

5. Dahlia

Dahlia

Dahlias! What a delightful plant! This bushy, herbaceous bloom is an all-time favorite, with colors ranging from deep crimson to delicate pink. 

To help your garden buddies, though, it’s critical to obtain the correct Dahlia variety. Pom-pom and cactus variants develop with petals too close together for pollinators to access, so you won’t have much luck attracting insects with these varieties.

Instead, choose Dahlias with more open blooms, such as single or semi-double flowered varieties, which are durable and low-maintenance plants that pollinators adore.

How to care for dahlia

Make sure your plants have plenty of water. Give your plants a good soak once or twice a week. Giant Dahlias require a support system to prevent the heavy flowers from bending over due to their weight.

6. Daisy

Daisy

The Daisy is a flower that reminds me of my childhood, as I spent many hours in the schoolyard constructing daisy chains.

More than daisy chains, this simple bloom is a magnet for bees and butterflies.

With their characteristic white and yellow hue, Shasta Daisies are exceptionally good at attracting helpful flying buddies. On the other hand, Daisies come in various brilliant shades of yellow, pink, and more.

How to care for the daisy

Only water in the summer if the weekly rainfall is less than 1 inch. Once established, daisies are often tolerant of dry conditions.

7. Dandelion

Dandelion

Why get rid of your dandelions?

Each time you use herbicides to eradicate this lovely and environmentally essential plant, insects like bees suffer. Dandelions are one of the simplest and hardiest plants for attracting beneficial insects to your garden.

Rather than removing these bright yellow treats, you should do everything you can to promote their growth.

Dandelions bloom for a long time, beginning in early spring and lasting well into the summer. These plants that attract bees supply much-needed food for pollinators, particularly bees.

The only issue with these blooms is that they are far more prevalent in the garden than most gardeners wish!

However, it would be beneficial to form a Dandelion fan club and gain more support for this unique plant because of its value for bees.

How to care for dandelions

Dandelion plants prefer constant rainfall, and you should water them regularly to maintain the soil at moist levels rather than saturating the soil.

If you’re unsure whether your plants need water, dig your finger 2 to 3 inches into the ground and see if it’s dry. If it is, it’s time to water your Dandelions.

8. Goldenrod

Goldenrod

This flower will keep your creepy crawly pals pleased all through the summer and into the fall. Unlike other flowers, which bloom in the summer, this one blooms in the late summer and continues into the fall.

Late-season bloomers, such as Solidago, are essential for keeping your new friends around and encouraging them to stay rather than move on to greener pastures. Goldenrod is also a fantastic way to add color to your garden in the fall.

How to care for Goldenrod

Once established in the garden, Goldenrod requires little maintenance, and the plants return year after year.

They tolerate drought quite well and require little or no watering. Divide them into clumps every four to five years. Then, in the spring, you can take cuttings and plant them elsewhere in the garden.

9. Lavender

Lavender

This perennial plant, neither a flower nor an herb, is essential for attracting pollinating insects. However, lavender attracts many bees, and it also has some intriguing characteristics that help repel unpleasant insects like fleas, flies, and mosquitoes.

Lavender is also a fragrant species that you can dry and use to scent the home.

How to care for lavender

Lavender should be grown in full sun with well-drained soil (add organic matter to improve heavy soils). It’s critical to start with the right circumstances if you want to cultivate lavender properly.

When the earth is practically dry, water these plants that attract bees deeply but infrequently and trim them every year after they finish blooming.

10. Marigold

Marigold

This delicious, annual, vividly colored bloom has sparked some debate. Some claim that it repels bees.

However, our gardeners have found the contrary to be true in the past, with bees happily visiting the Marigolds among a slew of other friendly creatures, including flies, moths, and butterflies.

Marigold also benefits from enhancing soil health, with its roots supposedly warding off disease-causing soil nematodes that frequently afflict tomatoes and other vegetables.

Choose Marigold types with open centers so that insects can easily access their pollen.

How to care for marigold

When it comes to Marigold care, less is more.

All summer long, if you follow a few basic care guidelines, your Marigolds will be happy and healthy:

  • Allow the soil to dry between watering before adding water to the ground.
  • Water Marigolds at the plant’s base.
  • If you don’t fertilize the soil after spreading seeds, you’ll get more foliage and fewer blossoms.
  • It is not essential to deadhead. However, if you opt to deadhead your Marigold flowers, your plants will continue to produce all summer.
  • Put down a layer of mulch between Marigold plants to keep weeds at bay.

11. Milkweed

Milkweed

Asclepias, sometimes known as butterfly weed, are herbaceous perennial plants that attract butterflies, notably monarch butterflies, who enjoy sipping on their sweet nectar.

Butterflies aren’t the only ones who appreciate this flower – wild and domestic bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators also enjoy Milkweed pollen.

It can be challenging to grow from seed because it requires an early start indoors, but tubers are also available and are a little easier to plant in the spring.

How to care for milkweed

Milkweed thrives in dry or loamy soil as long as the area is well-drained.

Milkweed doesn’t need any fertilizer to grow well. You can also forego watering unless your location is experiencing a drought.

Instead, keep the plants flowering during droughts by watering them once a week. Soak the ground 2 to 3 inches deep in water.

12. Snapdragon

Snapdragon

The Snapdragon is the bumblebee’s favorite flower. It has adapted its aroma, color, and physical form to exactly suit all of the bumblebee’s needs to attract these pollinators.

The Snapdragon, for example, emits a smell at the bumblebee’s most busy hours of the day, which the bee finds enticing.

The Snapdragon’s hues are likewise not a random occurrence. For example, bees can only see yellow, blue, and ultraviolet light, but they can see yellow, blue, and ultraviolet light!

The unique designs on each petal act as a giant billboard proclaiming, “All you can eat this way!”

In addition, the petals’ unusual bell shape is ideal for the young bees to buzz in and out. So, in a nutshell, Snapdragons are the way to go, and you’ll want these plants that attract bees in your garden!

How to care for a snapdragon

Snapdragons require additional attention, such as proper watering. Keep Snapdragons moist during the first few weeks of their initial growth phase.

Snapdragon care entails watering the plant regularly once it has established itself.

When there isn’t any rain, provide about an inch of water per week. To keep your Snapdragon healthy, water at the bottom of the plant and avoid overhead watering.

Before watering, allow the soil to dry down to approximately an inch deep. Remove wasted blooms as part of their maintenance.

When growing Snapdragons, it’s a clever idea to use mulch. Although Snapdragons come across as annuals, good care can encourage them to return the following year, as they are a short-lived perennial plant.

13. Sunflower

Sunflower

Sunflowers are excellent at attracting insects as well as birds, which eat their seeds.

Sunflowers are perfect since it’s crucial to have plants that attract bees and other beneficial critters to the garden, and birds aid pollination. These cheerful flowers, which are another bee magnet, are likely to be popular with various insects in your garden.

How to care for sunflowers

Sunflowers are drought and heat-resilient, but they still need to be watered frequently. Watering the plant around the root zone, 3–4 inches away from the stem, will be necessary as it grows.

You can also water Sunflower seedlings daily until the soil is moist but not saturated. It is crucial to water Sunflowers once a week once they’ve established themselves. Although this watering is uncommon, it should be thorough and consume many liters of water.

Growing plants that attract bees is easy for any gardener with enough space. But, even with limited space, you can support the survival of humanity by supporting bees!

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Tyler C Rich

Tyler C Rich is the founder and chief editor at TopsyGardening.com. An experienced gardener and a professionally trained agriculture development expert, Rich has worked in the gardening and landscaping industry for more than a few decades. Although he has retired, his spark for developing the best urban and indoor gardens has not faded a bit. He uses TopsyGardening.com as a platform to come across enthusiastic gardeners and share the unique insights he has acquired through years of experience. Rich is interested in aquaponics and technology apart from conventional gardening techniques.