There is a startling epidemic lately in the decrease of the bee populace. Bees play the vital role of pollination, so how can we set up a garden that is bee-friendly? To help with this issue in your local community and/or garden, here are some plants that are known to attract more bees to the area. With these gardening tips, you’re sure to end up with a buzzing patch that helps save our bees.
Finding Native Flowers
The first step of the planting process is to find which flowers are native to your designated area. Using flowers the bees in your community can adapt to is the best way to further attract them – and these gardening tips will prove to be very handy.
For example, plants that are friendly to bees in Florida would be those like sunflowers or thyme. However, in Colorado, which has a different climate and altitude, alfalfa flowers and basil are one of the many recommended plants for bee preservation. It’s best to research the plants that are beneficial to your area to avoid possibly causing unintentional damage to both the bees and your environment.
Planting in Season
Another important factor to consider – if you want to plant these flowers to properly provide for bees, see what flowers work for each season. There is a variety of plant life that can be in season from the beginning of early spring, all the way to as late in the year as early fall. Because of this, it’s especially important to note what flowers thrive in which season. There are exceptions, and the timeframe is not nearly as strict, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. See these gardening tips below for plants that fall into each category for the seasons, and how bees are bound to thrive and pollinate.
Poppy – Poppies can be planted as soon the ground becomes warm and soft in spring. They are tolerant of many soil types, as long it’s well drained. Because they are easy to care for, this can be planted by even the most novice of gardeners, and they are a very popular flower found in gardens. Their vibrant colour is also sure to catch the eye of any winged friend buzzing around!
Snowdrop – Snowdrop blossoms also serve as an early nectar source for bees as spring comes around, but the flowers aren’t fully in bloom yet. Because of this, the best time to plant snowdrops is in early fall. Snowdrops are also a pest-free plant, so rabbits and deer won’t eat them either, and most chipmunks and mice will leave them alone.
Crocus – Spring blooming crocuses are another flower that emerges in the late winter and early spring, weeks before others, which is ideal for bees looking for nourishment in the cold. Crocus prefer full to part sun and well-drained soil. Bulbs should be planted a few inches apart and 3 or 4 inches deep for them to grow well.
Borage – The borage is nicknamed “Bee’s Bread,” because honey bees really love this plant! Borage is an herb with blue star shaped flowers that blooms in late spring and summer, offering its pollen and nectar to honey bees for months on end. To ensure that borages bloom properly, make sure the soil is well drained and in a medium pH range. It’s best to sow seeds directly into the garden after the last date of frost.
Thyme – Sometimes seen as an ideal grass alternative, thyme requires less water, is drought resistant, generally tough in nature, and will spread easily. This gives a sizable terrain to attract bees to the herb for pollination. A lot of sunshine and well-drained, almost gravelly, soil are the requirements for planting thyme.
Cilantro – Cilantro is one of the many favourable herbs for honeybees. While an annual herb, cilantro grows very well even when individual plants are grown closely together. This is a benefit, as it is best to plant herbs in groups with a variety of species, and thus makes for a wonderful addition.
Bee Balm – Bee balm is known famously as a multipurpose herb. True to its name, the visual it offers makes it one of the most stunning flowers, in a variety of colors. Bees and hummingbirds are highly attracted to it. To grow bee balms, it’s best to choose a site with full sun to light shade and rich, well-drained soil.
Foxglove – Because bees see in ultraviolet light, the foxglove is a prime flower to attract them, with their distinct fluorescent lighting at night. The benefits of this flower are that it’s a low maintenance plant, and readily self-sows and multiplies.
Mid/Late Summer to Fall
Sunflower – Because of the towering height and vibrant appearance of the sunflower, these are the some of the most important flowers to consider when planting anything for the sake of bees and pollination. The brightly colored petals are a beacon to bees and other pollinators, helping direct them to the central spirals of the sunflower. These are formed of many hundreds of small tubular flowers, packed with nectar and pollen. Choose a sunny spot and one that’s not exposed to high winds, then water well, and the view of the bright yellow flower will be impossible for bees to ignore!
Hollyhocks – Another flower that is best when planted in fall to provide quick food for bees in need when the cold winter months are approaching their end. Gardening tips for hollyhocks – these flowers come in different stunning, bee-attracting colors, make for excellent garden decor and will grow back each year for several years. In order to grow them, simply sprinkle the seeds on top of rich, warm soil and then with a fine layer of the soil. Make sure the seeds can feel the sun and receive full light when germinating. After that, full sun or partial shade will do.
Zinnia – Zinnias are one of the easiest flowers to grow. It’s best to sow them from four to six weeks before the last expected frost in fertile well-drained soil, because these flowers stay in bloom for most of the season. To top it off, Zinnias are colorful and eye-catching, which draws pollinators, including bees, to a garden.
The decrease in bees is a serious issue, and contributing to your local gardens and environments will be best for preservation of our buzzy friends. It’s a wonderful contribution, as well as a lovely, scenic addition. We hope you make the most of our gardening tips to help bees.