10 Flowers to Plant in Your Garden that Bees Will LoveColin Campbell-Preston
We have decided to explore the flowers that bees love. These 10 plants are renowned for attracting a great selection of bees – enthralled by the fragrances, shapes and colours of their flowers.
One of the best-loved plants by bees, Viper’s Bugloss attracts almost all species of UK bees. Officially known as Echium Vulgare, the plant flowers from June until August and offer flowers of purple-blue on branched spikes which strongly appeal to bees.
The attractive spikes of flowers are capable of growing to around 1 metre tall in the garden – offering a striking beauty and heady fragrance, and on a micro scale the blue pollen is a unique feature.
Although the deep flowers of the comfrey make it hard for species of short-tongued bees, their longer-tongued brethren such as bumblebees love the single row flowers of soft blue colours. The Comfrey is very versatile and hardy meaning it can grow almost anywhere and in addition it can help create potassium-rich soil helping other plants to flower and produce fruit.
Again, it is the purple-blue colour of Bluebells which will attract bees in their droves. For many bee species, the sustenance of Bluebells’ nectar is vital during the early spring months. Bees are not the only wildlife which will be attracted by Bluebells in the garden – with the flowers also luring butterflies and hoverflies.
Another early spring flower which is hugely popular with bees – Crocuses attract bees with their light purple-blue colouration and delightful fragrance. The sizeable single-row petals and open face make it incredibly easy for most species of bee to access the nectar and pollen within the flower.
Bees seem to love the fragrance of Rosemary as much as humans do – one of the most recognisable and enjoyable garden scents. Although perhaps more widely used for seasoning meat and fish dishes, Rosemary flowers during the summer months – offering plentiful nectar for the bees to enjoy.
These little flowers are huge favourites with bees thanks to the attractively-coloured petals and easy-to-access nectar. Most species of bees will appreciate the inclusion of Forget-Me-Nots in the garden – a plant easily grown in most gardens.
The large white bell-shape flowers of Foxgloves are striking additions to any garden – and are enjoyed by a wide range of bee species. The plant tends to flower in the early summer time, just as you can begin to really enjoy sun-filled days in the back garden. Foxgloves are poisonous but not to a ‘touch’, only when parts are ingested or pollen inhaled so take care when around them.
As the name suggests, the flowers of the Butterfly Bush are hugely popular with butterflies – but they also appeal to other winged visitors. Bees love the slender cones of small flowers which blossom throughout the summer – thanks to the attractive light tones and fragrant plumes. There are many new exciting cultivars such as the ‘Buzz’ series of smaller growing plants with extended flowering season and more prolific flowers.
Sometimes called bee balms, the flowers of the Bergamot plant also attract butterflies and hummingbirds in droves. The pink and white variations of the Bergamot flower are particularly attractive to bees coveting the nectar within the tubular flowers. The flowers contain the recognisable charismatic smell of Bergamot and traditionally blossom in the summer.
Another plant better known as an addition to meaty recipes – the Hyssop plant also blooms flowers which are hugely attractive for your local bee community and butterflies. Our Hyssop tricolour seeds bring together blue, pink and white flowers – making an attractive addition to the borders of the garden.
If you don’t experience instant success with these flower tips, don’t fear – the author of From A to Bee, James Dearsley, explains: “When you start beekeeping you will find the amount of information overwhelming. In those first few years, just remember to relax and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just learn from them, the bees will be okay, they have been around far longer than we have…”
If you require more help or additional ideas when creating your bee-friendly garden, give the Capital Gardens teams a call on 0208 874 2037 or visit our homepage, here.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Tom Bech (Hero), Dommett5 (Bluebells), Herny Hemming (Forget-Me-Not), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Bergamot).