These flowers to grow for bees are a great way to support both honey bees and native bees. Add them to your patio or veggie garden, and you'll be amazed by how many pollinators come.
One way to help support the bees and other pollinators is to grow plants that produce lots of nectar and pollen.
In the U.S. alone, 50 percent of managed bee colonies have been lost in the past 10 years. This decline is largely due to diseases, exposure to pesticides, and other lesser known affects as a result of human interference. Reduced plant diversity as a result of commercial agriculture and habitat also plays a huge factor in the bees decline.
One way we can help the bees is through planting organic flowers that produce pollen and are accessible to bees. Creating a bee garden doesn't only look beautiful, but it will attract and sustain bees while helping and supporting other plants around.
Flowers to Grow for Bees
These are some of the best flowers to grow for bees. While this list isn't exhaustive, it is a great start. Adding one or two of these plants to your garden will surely entice pollinators to come visit.
- Bergamot—Also called bee balm, this easy to grow plant attracts a number of bee varieties, bumble bees, and predatory wasps. It's even a fan favourite of hummingbirds and moths.
- Borage—A favourite of mine due to its easy-to-grow nature and edible flowers. This plant (also called bee bush) is a favourite of both honey bees, bumble bees and native bees.
- Calendula—This flower is not only medicinal and edible but also loved by wild bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.
- Comfrey—This medicinal plant is beloved by both honey and bumblebees and makes a wonderful topical poultice.
- Cornflowers—These cute and edible flowers contain extrafloral nectaries which attract bees and other pollinators and make a colourful addition to a herb garden.
- Chives—Out of all the flowers in the garden, this has got to be the bee's favourite (and perhaps the lowest maintenance plant). Letting your herbs flower is wonderful for the bees (they love basil flowers too), so be sure to let your herbs blossom.
- Cosmos—The open flower heads of cosmos make for easy to access pollen for a slew of beneficial garden insects.
- Echinacea—Bees are drawn to the colour of echinacea, but the size and shape of the flowers makes it a favourite of butterflies and birds.
- Marigolds— Marigolds produce enough pollen to attract both bumblebees and other small pollinators.
- Sunflowers—Sunflowers are easily visible and produce abundant nectar for bees and other large winged insects (like butterflies).