North America is home to no less than 4,000 species of bees, from the tiniest of the tiny to the larger, hard to miss varieties. Bees play an invaluable role not only in our gardens, but in the global ecosystem. A whopping 30% of the world’s food crops depend on pollinators like bees.
As a testament to nature’s incredible design, bees perform the important act of cross pollination. While a bee is busy feeding on nectar, going from flower to flower, she’s also helping to fertilize– by brushing up against the pollen of one flower and transporting it to the next.
It’s no secret that the bee population has shrunk in recent years; leaving many wondering what they can do to help.
The good news is that helping the bees is easy – and it can all start at home. These very small changes in your own space can make all the difference in the world to these incredible little pollinators.
Plant Bee Friendly Flowers
Besides being a gorgeous way to beautify your outdoor space, certain flowers can provide a nutritious meal for hungry, hardworking bees. Bees see color quite well, so colorful flowers will attract them in droves.
Some Planting Tips:
Different bees will be attracted to different types of flowers for different reasons, so planting a wide variety is the best idea.
Mass plantings work better than single stems as bee attractors – the more the merrier.
Avoid using any pesticides in your yard and be sure to buy plants from nurseries that take the same precaution. At GrowJoy, we never use any chemicals on our plants that could harm the bees.
Top Flowers for Bees
Asters attract bees both with their shape, and ease of feeding. Different bee species have different lengths of tongue, and asters are great for both.
Allowing your chives to flower will attract the bees. Timing is everything here. As soon as the bees are out and hungry in spring, chives oblige with nectar.
This favorite perennial plant comes in a wide variety of colors and is guaranteed to attract the bees for a snack. Also known as a coneflower, the upper area of the bloom creates a perfect feeding ground for bees, all summer long.
Foxgloves make a great meal for hardworking bees. And they bring a fairytale beauty to an outdoor space. And although they are great for bees, they do come with a warning, all parts are toxic if ingested, so watch children and pets around them!
Lavender will attract the species of bees with longer tongues, such as bumble bees and carpenter bees. And it will provide your yard with heavenly scent all summer long. Be sure to cut some for drying!
This hardy perennial is diverse and drought tolerant. The beauty of sedum is that with its profusion of tiny blooms, it can hold multiple bees at one time – all busily getting their lunchtime fix.
Also known as ‘bee balm’, this herb attracts bees with its color and shape.
Liatris is a perennial wildflower whose showy tall purple spikes are like a siren call to bees.
This perennial wildflower attracts bees with its small, easily accessible pollen centers. It’s also a great drought tolerant plant for those long, hot summers.
Once your garden is a veritable bee haven, make sure to provide a very shallow water source with a few rocks in it, so that the bees can have a drink. And although most children fear a sting, try to educate the little ones in your life about all of the important work the bees do, which can make a big impression for years to come.