Bees are dying and need our help! Here is a listing of flowers you can plant that attract honey bees and other pollinators to your home garden.
We’ve all seen the news. Bee populations are on a major decline. Not only have beekeepers been reporting massive losses to their bee hives but the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides has contributed to the drastic decline in our pollinators.
Some honey bee colonies have been known to just die suddenly while others simply disappear. And it’s not just honey bees that are in trouble. A much bigger concern is the decline in our native bee populations including bumble bees and ground bees.
What is killing the bees? Nobody knows for sure but the overuse of pesticides seems to be a large part of the problem. Luckily, we can all help by planting a large variety of flowers and native plants to attract bees.
So, what’s the big deal if we lose a few bees? Bees are pollinators! While there are many other insects pollinating our crops, bees are by far the largest pollinating force on earth. No bees, no food.
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What Can We Do To Help The Bees?
STOP SPRAYING CHEMICALS
There are several things each and every one of us can do to help. First, stop spraying chemicals. Seriously! Pesticides don’t just kill pest insects, they also kill bees and other pollinators (duh). But herbicides are also problematic.
Dandelions and other flowering ‘weeds’ are a necessary, early food for the bees after a long winter. Honestly, I’ve never understood why people kill dandelions and plant daffodils. And no, the dandelions will not take over your yard. I promise.
PLANT FLOWERS TO ATTRACT BEES
Planting a bunch of beautiful flowers not only does your soul good but it provides necessary food for the bees and other pollinators. According to TheHoneyconservancy.org, single flower tops produce more nectar than multiple flower tops so that’s something to keep in mind.
Here is just a short list of flowers that attract bees with a brief description of some fairly easy to grow annuals and perennials that will attract bees to your home garden:
BLACK EYED SUSAN
This hardy North American native is a flower that’s pretty easy to grow. Some varieties are annuals that readily reseed, while others are perennial plants.
Who doesn’t love a Daisy? Part of the Aster family, the Daisy comes in many varieties. The most commonly known is the Shasta Daisy with its white pedals and a bright yellow center.
PURPLE CONE FLOWER
Echinacea aka Purple Cone Flowers are a hardy perennial with a rough, brush-like center and pretty, purple pedals that bees love. Beware tho, the deer in my yard eat them when they’re just emerging out of the ground.
An easy to grow and very hardy perennial that comes in a variety of pastel colors as well as the common white. Bees love yarrow for its many small blooms which together seem to form a much larger flower also called an umbel.
A fragrant, medicinal herb, Hyssop has lovely, tall blue flower stalks. It is part of the mint family so you may need to contain it.
A personal favorite … Cleome is an tall, lovely annual which comes in a soft pinks to lavender and white. Once it’s established, Cleome will reseed itself year after year.
Sunflowers … a happy sign of summer, aren’t they? These wonderful annuals come in a variety of colors and sizes. Usually grown from seed. From personal experience, the deer love them also so protect the young plants with fencing and they’ll have a chance to bloom.
Primulas are an early spring perennial which makes them a go-to food for bees after winter. They’re pretty little plants with flowers that come in a rainbow of colors from blue to red and yellow.
Another easy to grow, summer annual, cosmos also reseeds very easily. The flowers can vary from orange and red to purple.
Lamb’s Ear is one of those fun plants with its super soft, fuzzy leaves and tall flower stalks. A hardy perennial with a spreading habit, but it’s easily contained. The Lamb’s Ear in my yard is always buzzing with lots of bees.
A North American native annual, Butterfly Weed attracts not only butterflies but bees as well. It has a stunning, bright orange multi-bloom flower (umbel) on a tall, sturdy stalk.
Which Flowers Attract Bees to Your Garden?
The following list of flowers that attract bees is not anywhere near complete and we will continue to update it over time. Our aim was to provide a listing of plants and flowers that are fairly easy to find either in stores or online.
- Black Eyed Susan
- Butterfly Weed
- Corn Flower
- Joe-pye weed
- Purple coneflower
- Sweet William
This is just a very small sampling of the many flowers that you can grow to attract bees and other pollinators to your yard. And the more variety the better, so plant lots of different annuals, perennials and flowering shrubs that bloom from early spring to the first frost and the bees will come find you.
How to Plant a Bee Garden
For tips on how to create a bee garden to attract bees and other pollinators, here is a wonderful article by the Honeybee Conservancy.
How to Attract Bees to Your Garden
This article from The Spruce also shares some great general gardening advice on how to attract bees to your home garden.