How to Attract Bees to Pollinate Your Garden

How to Attract Bees to Pollinate Your Garden

Butterflies flitting about from flower to flower and even hummingbirds sipping nectar play a role in pollination, but bees are one of the most active pollinators around.

Where do you think the term, “busy as a bee”, came from?! 

So if you want to help your garden grow well, plant those flowers that will draw bees to your plants like a moth to a flame and watch nature hard at work, helping you to reap a bountiful harvest this fall!

Look for the following when choosing flowers to add to your vegetable garden:

Native flowers 

While honeybees will collect nectar from many different flowers, wild bees are particularly fond of native flowers. Choose a variety of different types to encourage many types of bees to visit your garden.

Colorful flowers 

Pollinators are drawn to bright colors and bees in particular love yellows, white and blue to purple flowers.

Fragrant flowers

Why do you think flowers are fragrant? To attract bees and other pollinators of course, so make sure to plant fragrant flowers. 

Long bloomers 

When bees have a continuous supply of food they’ll stay around longer, so choose plants that flower at different times of the season and which last longer.

Early season flowers 

After a long winter, early blooming flowers are a joy to behold…both for you and the hungry bees!

Mass plantings

The more of each type of plant you can add to your garden the better.

Plant both a variety of plants, and large numbers of each in a particular area or put a few different favorites for the bees mixed in with your vegetable plants.

Examples of plants that bees love

Plants that offer both protein-rich pollen and sugary nectar are like heaven for a bee.

Each of the following plants love sun and grow well in soil that drains well. They’re listed in order of bloom time to ensure a continuous feast for your pollinating friends:

  • Pale purple cornflower (perennial) – reminiscent of a daisy with drooping petals this flower blooms for up to 3 weeks from June to July
  • Common yarrow (perennial) – this colorful flower has flattened heads that look like small bunches of tiny daisy flowers that bees go crazy for.
  • Sunflowers (annual) – no surprise here…people have been planting sunflowers in their gardens for millennia. There are many varieties of sunflower, from dwarf flowers to huge plants that are 3 to 4 feet tall…sometimes taller. They’re popular with birds as well, which can help reduce other garden pests such as cucumber beetles.
  • Black-eyed Susan (perennial or annual varieties) beautiful black-eyed centers surrounded by lovely and bright yellow petals, bees love these prolifically growing plants.
  • Horsemint (perennial) – With beautiful tiers of pink to white flowers the horsemint blooms for a long time, through much of the summer and into early fall. It’s not uncommon to see these fragrant flowers covered in hungry bees enjoying their sweet goodness. 

Flowers that bloom in the late summer and fall that draw bees include:

  • Asters (perennial) – these pink, purple and blue flowers are delightful to the eye…and to bees. 
  • Goldenrods (perennial) – this hardy plant is another bee favorite and while not lovely to smell they are easy to maintain and will propagate themselves easily.

You can plant these lovelies next to your vegetables or around the perimeter of your garden to encourage bees to pollinate and in some cases cut down on garden pests as well.

If you’ve never tried planting flowers in your garden to help attract bees why not give it a try? You’ll be glad you did!