It is well known that bees are a necessary and beneficial part of gardening and farming. Many locations, however, have been experiencing a declining bee population for a variety of reasons. So what do you do when you need bees to keep your crops healthy, but don’t seem to have a large enough population nearby? Adding certain flowers to the area can attract bees to your crops if you know how and what to plant. Read on to discover which flowers will most benefit the bees and your farm.
1. Bee Balm
This North American native flower should be a must-have in any garden or on any farm looking to attract a healthy bee population. This flower grows easily in most climates and will flower vigorously throughout the summer. Be sure to plant it in a nice sunny spot in the garden for it to be successful.
2. Black-eyed Susan
Another flower that is native to North America, this beautiful flower is extremely popular among pollinators. The sedum family of flowers, of which stonecrop belongs, is easy to establish and will generously prosper almost anywhere you plant it. This perennial will give you plenty of color in your garden and will attract many pollinators.
3. Stonecrop (Sedum)
These low-maintenance succulents thrive easily with little care on your part. Stonecrop will flower in mid-spring to late-fall, attracting bees during that entire time. One of the many nice things about sedum is that there are so many different varieties (all of which will attract bees), that you’re pretty much guaranteed to find one that will thrive in your climate and growing space. Most of the varieties prefer full sun and are resilient in hot temperatures and drought conditions. You can utilize these flowers as eye-catching ground cover around trees or as a nice border in your garden.
These perennials attract large populations of pollinators due to their high amounts of both pollen and nectar. Because it has received a bad (and false rap) as being a weed that causes allergies, goldenrod is not the most common plant found in gardens. However, if you add them to your landscaping you will enjoy beautiful flowers summer and fall, as well as a large increase in your local bee population.
5. Butterfly Bush
This beautiful, flowering, purple bush is a bee and butterfly magnet. These flowers also attract hummingbirds and can be found in additional colors such as blue, orange, and white. Depending on your climate, it may grow as a bush or as a tree. It does prefer sun but can survive with partial shade as well. It will require a bit of maintenance on your part but will be well worth the effort.
6. Purple Coneflower
Another vibrant addition to your landscape, the purple coneflower is practically guaranteed to attract pollinators through its entire flowering season. The plants will grow tall and can thrive even in less-than-ideal soil and conditions.
7. Joe-Pye Weed
Although not actually a weed, this perennial will make a stunning addition to your garden, flowerbed, walkway, or wherever you plant it. The plant comes in white or pink-purple varieties. Although they can survive in partial shade, they most prefer a sunny spot in your yard.
A fragrant addition to any home, garden, or farm, lavender is also very successful at attracting bees and other pollinators. The herb blooms during spring and summer and can be grown year-round if you have a fairly mild climate. Lavender can even tolerate poor soil and drought-like conditions. You can plant them in the ground or in containers, and they’ll do well either way.
If you’re looking for a flower that will be ready as soon as the bees are, snowdrops are an excellent variety to plant. These flowers start blooming in late winter, sometimes even before the snow has melted (hence the name). Snowdrops prefer partial shade and a nutrient-rich soil, so planting them under a tree that drops its leaves is an easy option.
Another flower that makes an early appearance in the season is crocus. They can be found in blues, purples, and yellows, and make quite the statement in your yard. After planting the bulbs in early fall and providing plenty of water, you won’t need to do much else to have these beautiful flowers thrive.
Not only are they beautiful and fascinating to look at, but sunflowers are also excellent for attracting pollinators to your farm. Look for sunflower seeds that are native to your climate zone, and just be sure to plant them after the last possible frost.
Cranesbills belong to the geranium family and have a long flowering season, taking a break only in the midst of winter. These flowers will need either full or partial sun, and will bloom in beautiful shades of pink, purple, or white. To keep them healthy and attractive to pollinators for as long as possible, make sure they have water frequently but are not waterlogged, and prune the plants when necessary.
Contrary to what its name implies, this flower attracts bees and not cats. It is a heat- and drought-tolerant plant that can have a long growing season (especially if you trim it about halfway through). The plant is characterized by its beautiful silver-tinged purple flowers.
These unique flowers have a tubular appearance and are very successful at attracting bees. It is a biennial that lives for two years and can succeed in most climates. These vertical growers do prefer a well-fertilized soil with plenty of shade.
A self-seeding annual, borage is not only pretty but also fairly low-maintenance. It is drought-resistant and can survive in many climates. Not only are the blue-colored star-shaped flowers a nice addition to your farm, but the leaves are also edible raw or steamed and will taste very similar to cucumbers.
If you plant pansies, you’ll enjoy the flowers from spring throughout fall. Available in a wide variety of colors, bees absolutely love pansies and will thank you for planting them. Pansies will need full sun and a fairly mild climate, but they will maintain themselves pretty easily once established.
For a nice spring-through-summer flower that grows in most climates, peonies are an excellent option. They will need partial to full sun, and once established will emit a lovely fragrance attractive to bees as well as hummingbirds. They also benefit from cold winters to help their bud formation, but do be sure to keep them out of harsh winds.
This flower makes for a beautiful groundcover and an excellent addition to any farm or garden hoping to attract more bees. There are many different varieties, so it will be easy to find one that fits your purposes, growing area, and climate.
With edible blooms and a vibrant color, nasturtiums make a great addition to your home for you and for bees. They do not need nice soil, so save the least-ideal dirt for them and they’ll be just fine, as long as they get regular water. These flowers grow in most climates in the summer through late fall and will need full sun to thrive.
Adding some of these flowers to your farm will help attract bees almost year-round. It’s still important to remember, however, that variety will most favor the bee population, so be sure to spice up how and where you grow these flowers. Also try to avoid any pesticides or herbicides, as these can negatively impact your local bee population. With that being said, add some of (or all) or these flowers to your farm, and both you and the bees will be happier.