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For the Love of Bees: Best Flowers to Attract them to Your Garden

By cultivating these bee-friendly flowers, you'll provide essential nourishment to local bee populations, aiding in pollination of your garden and surrounding areas

Attract Bees

Why is it important to create a bee-friendly garden?

Creating a bee-friendly garden is crucial for several interconnected reasons:

Pollination and Food Production: Bees are pivotal in pollinating a significant portion of our fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Without bees, many of the foods we rely on would either become scarce or disappear altogether. By creating a bee-friendly garden, you’re supporting the pollination of local food crops.

Biodiversity: Bees contribute to the biodiversity of an environment. They help flowers reproduce, which in turn provides food for other wildlife. A bee-friendly garden supports a rich and varied ecosystem.

Declining Bee Populations: Bee populations are declining at alarming rates due to various factors, including habitat loss, use of pesticides, diseases, and climate change. Providing them with safe habitats can help counteract this decline.

Natural Beauty: Plants that attract bees, like wildflowers, beautify our environments. These vibrant, colorful, and alive gardens add aesthetic value to our spaces.

Chemical-Free Gardening: Bee-friendly gardens encourage organic gardening practices. Using fewer pesticides protects bees and keeps harmful chemicals out of our soils and waters.

Economic Impact: Bees contribute billions to the world economy through their pollination services. Supporting them supports agriculture and the economy at large.

Support for Other Pollinators: A garden that is friendly for bees also welcomes other pollinators like butterflies, birds, and bats. These creatures play essential roles in our ecosystems.

Bumblebee, Agastache rugosa, wrinkled Agastache, Korean mintBumblebees searching for nectar on the flower spikes of Kreant Mint (Agastache rugosa)

Best Flowers to Attract Bees

Bees are attracted to a variety of flowers based on color, fragrance, and the availability of nectar and pollen.

Did you know that a bee’s tongue length significantly influences its flower preference? Bees have a proboscis (a long, flexible tongue) to extract nectar from flowers. Depending on the species, the length of this proboscis can vary considerably, which has implications for which flowers the bee can effectively feed from.

Long-Tongued Bees: Species like many bumblebees have long tongues that allow them to access nectar in deep, tubular flowers like foxglove, honeysuckle, and snapdragon. The flowers’ morphology and the bees’ tongue length are co-adapted in a way that ensures effective pollination while the bee feeds.

Short-Tongued Bees: These bees, including many species of solitary bees such as the mason bees, prefer flowers where the nectar is easily accessible, like daisies, asters, or sunflowers.

Some bees, such as the carpenter bees, can “cheat” by making a hole near the base of the flower to access the nectar without going through the full length of the petal. This behavior, known as “nectar robbing,” doesn’t help in pollination but showcases the adaptability of bees.

Given these dynamics, it’s important to plant a variety of flowers catering to bees of different tongue lengths to support a diverse range of bee species.

Guide Information

Genus Digitalis, Eryngium, Echinops, Echinacea, Hamamelis, Lonicera, Lavandula, Verbascum, Vernonia, Monarda, Solidago, Penstemon, Sedum, Pulmonaria, Liatris, Nepeta, Zinnia, Crataegus, Cosmos, Dahlia, Calendula, Aster, Cercis, Crocus, Amelanchier, Allium, Alcea, Achillea, Agastache
Attracts Bees

Best Flowers to Attracts Bees to your Garden from late winter to fall

 

Creating a Successful Bee Garden: 12 Essential Rules for Attracting Pollinators

Creating a successful bee garden involves understanding the needs and preferences of bees while ensuring a sustainable and thriving environment for them. Here are some essential rules to help you create a flourishing bee garden:

1 – Diverse Plant Selection: Include a variety of plants that bloom at different times of the year to ensure a continuous food source. Opt for native plants, which often attract more native bees than exotic flowers.

2 – Prioritize Single-Petaled Flowers: Bees find it easier to access single-petaled flowers compared to double-petaled ones. These flowers also tend to have more nectar.

3 – Plant in Clumps: Grouping the same plants together in clumps can make them more attractive to bees rather than dotting them around.

4 – Include Trees and Shrubs: Many trees and shrubs, like willow, almond, and cherry, are excellent food sources for bees.

5 – Avoid Chemicals: Pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides can be harmful to bees. Use natural and organic alternatives or mechanical methods for pest and weed control.

6 – Provide Fresh Water: A shallow dish or bird bath with stones for bees to land on can serve as a water source. Refresh it regularly.

7 – Leave Some Ground Undisturbed: Many native bees are ground-nesters. Leaving patches of bare soil or not mulching certain areas can offer nesting sites.

8 – Include Nesting Sites: Install bee houses or leave dead wood and plant stems for cavity-nesting bees.

9 – Let Your Garden Be a Little Wild: Overly manicured gardens might not be as appealing. Letting some parts grow naturally can be beneficial.

10 – Avoid Hybrid Plants for Nectar: While hybrids can be beautiful, they might not produce as much nectar or pollen as their non-hybrid counterparts.

11 – Plant for Continuous Bloom: Plan your garden so that as one plant finishes blooming, another begins. This provides bees with a constant food source.

12 – Be Tolerant of Weeds: some “weeds” like dandelion and clover are excellent food sources for bees.

By following these rules, not only will you create a haven for bees, but you’ll also be contributing to the overall health of the ecosystem, ensuring a brighter future for these invaluable pollinators.

Discover These Helpful Bee Guides for Further Reading

How to Cultivate a Thriving Bee-Friendly Garden
Honey Bee
Bumblebee
Bee
Carpenter Bee
Leafcutter Bee
Sweat Bee
Cuckoo Bee
Mason Bee
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Genus Digitalis, Eryngium, Echinops, Echinacea, Hamamelis, Lonicera, Lavandula, Verbascum, Vernonia, Monarda, Solidago, Penstemon, Sedum, Pulmonaria, Liatris, Nepeta, Zinnia, Crataegus, Cosmos, Dahlia, Calendula, Aster, Cercis, Crocus, Amelanchier, Allium, Alcea, Achillea, Agastache
Attracts Bees

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