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Nectar and pollen are vital for the honeybees’ all year round life-cycle.

If you are considering making plants and flowers available in your own garden for your bees, It’s a good idea to have at least two nectar- or pollen-rich plants in flower at any one time during this period. The nectar feeds the adult bee, while the pollen is collected to feed the young. Of course, the more flowers you have, the more attractive your garden is to bees, so you can never have too many!

The flowers and the arrangement of flowers in your garden are what attract honey bees and native bees. Bees like a diversity of bee-friendly flowers, with large patches of each kind of flower. They prefer a less manicured, more random garden with weeds.

What You Can Do

To make your garden more bee-friendly:

  • Plant 10 or more types of plants that attract bees.
  • Plant several of each type of plant close together, rather than planting them singly or spread out in the garden.
  • Plant flowers that bloom at different times so you have pollen and nectar sources during the four seasons of the year.
  • Do not use pesticides in or near your garden.
  • Allow weeds like dandelion and white clover to flower. You can pull them up before they go to seed.
  • Sink shallow pans of water in your garden. Bees need clean water, but birdbaths and pools are too deep for them.
  • Leave dead tree branches for bees to colonise.
  • Plant a combination of native and non-native plants.

Flowering Time & Suggested Plants

March – May

Bluebell
Bugle
Rosemary

Pussy willow
Dead-nettle
Flowering currant

Lungwort
Winter flowering heather

June – July

Chives
Thyme
Cotoneaster

Everlasting pea
Honeysuckle
Everlasting wallflower

Sage
Vipers bugloss
Catmint

August – September

Buddleia
Lavender
Cornflower
Rock-rose

Centaurea
Scabious
Delphinium
Marjoram

Escallonia
Sea Holly
Hollyhock
Sunflower
Heathers

November – February

Aconite
Evergreen Clematis
Hellebore

Oregon Grape
Strawberry Tree
Winter Flowering Heather

Winter Flowering Honey Suckle

Spring Plants

Bluebell, bugle, crab apple, daffodil, flowering cherry and currant, forget-me-not (Myosotis), hawthorn, hellebore (Helleborus corsicus, H. foetidus), pulmonaria, pussy willow, rhododendron, rosemary, viburnum, thrift (Armeria maritima).

Early Summer Plants

Aquilegia, astilbe, campanula, comfrey, everlasting sweet pea (Lathyrus latifolius), fennel, foxglove, geranium, potentilla, snapdragon, stachys, teasel, thyme, verbascum.

Late Summer Autumn Plants

Angelica, aster, buddleia, cardoon, cornflower (Centaurea), dahlia (single-flowered), delphinium, eryngium, fuchsia, globe thistle (Echinops), heather, ivy, lavender, penstemon, scabious, sedum, Verbena bonariensis

Winter Plants

Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis), Evergreen Clematis (Clematis cirrhosa), Hellebore (Helleborus x hybridus), Oregon Grape, Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo), Winter Flowering Heather (Adrienne Duncan), Winter Flowering Honey Suckle (Lonicera fragrantissima).

The greater the plant diversity, the more honeybees and wildlife you will attract and support. It is important to choose as many native plants as you can. Here are some more examples:

Annuals

Asters
Calliopsis

Clover
Marigolds

Poppies
Sunflowers

Zinnias

Perennials

Buttercups
Clematis
Cosmos
Crocuses
Dahlias

Echinacea
English Ivy
Foxglove
Geraniums
Germander

Globe Thistle
Hollyhocks
Hyacinth
Rock Cress
Roses

Sedum
Snowdrops
Squills
Tansy
Yellow Hyssop

Fruite & Veg

Blackberries
Cantaloupe
Cucumbers

Gourds
Fruit Trees
Peppers

Pumpkins
Raspberries
Squash

Strawberries
Watermelons

Herbs

Bee Balm
Borage
Catnip

Coriander
Fennel
Lavender

Mints
Rosemary
Wild Garlic

Sage
Thyme

Shrubs

Blueberry
Butterfly Bush

Button Bush
Honeysuckle

Indigo

Privet

Trees

Alder
American Holly
Basswood
Black Gum
Black Locust

Buckeyes
Catalpa
Eastern Redbud
Golden Rain
Hawthorns

Hazels
Linden
Magnolia
Maples

Mountain Ash
Poplar
Sycamore
Willows