What to Add To Your Garden to Attract Bees

What Plants to use To Attract Bees Image: Ylanite Koppens- Pexels

You are interested in putting together a beautiful wildflower garden, but you want to know, what to add to your garden to attract bees. Before we get started, let’s first review the importance of bees.  Bees play a crucial role in various ecological, agricultural, and economic reasons. Of course, we all know bees are responsible for pollination. About 75% of the world’s leading food crops depend to some extent on pollination, and bees are responsible for pollinating a significant portion of them. Without bees, many plants would not be able to reproduce, leading to a decline in food production and biodiversity.

Crops such as apples, almonds, blueberries, strawberries, and squash rely heavily on bee pollination for high yields and quality produce. In commercial agriculture, managed honeybee colonies are often transported to fields specifically for pollination services, highlighting the economic importance of bees to food production. All of these are significant factors in determining food production worldwide.

In addition, bees play a crucial role in maintaining the health and diversity of ecosystems. By pollinating a variety of plants, they facilitate the reproduction of flowering plants, which in turn provide food and habitat for other wildlife. Healthy ecosystems rely on diverse plant communities, and bees contribute to this diversity by ensuring the reproduction of numerous plant species. Beyond pollination, bees provide other valuable ecosystem services. They contribute to soil health by aiding in the decomposition of organic matter and cycling nutrients. Additionally, bees are important prey for various predators and play a role in the food web of many ecosystems.

Bees have significant economic value beyond their role in agriculture. The production of honey, beeswax, royal jelly, propolis, and other bee products contributes to local economies and provides livelihoods for beekeepers and associated industries. Furthermore, bees support ecotourism through activities such as beekeeping tours and pollinator garden visits.

Now that we have established why you want bees around, let’s figure out how to attract them. Basically, what to add to your garden to attract bees. Choosing the best flowers for bees involves selecting varieties that provide abundant nectar and pollen. Here are some excellent options:

  1. Lavender (Lavandula):

    Lavender produces abundant nectar and is highly attractive to bees. It also has a long flowering period, providing a consistent food source.

  2. Sunflowers (Helianthus):

    Sunflowers are not only visually appealing but also rich in nectar and pollen, making them a favorite among bees.

  3. Bee Balm (Monarda):

    As the name suggests, bee balm is a favorite among bees. It produces large clusters of flowers in various colors and attracts a wide range of pollinators.

  4. Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus):

    Cosmos flowers are easy to grow and produce pollen-rich blooms that attract bees throughout the growing season.

  5. Liatris (Liatris spicata):

    Also known as blazing star, liatris produces tall spikes of purple flowers that are highly attractive to bees and other pollinators.

  6. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea):

    Besides being a popular herbal remedy, purple coneflower produces large, daisy-like flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen, attracting bees and butterflies.

  7. Catmint (Nepeta):

    Catmint produces small, fragrant flowers that are highly attractive to bees. It’s a low-maintenance plant that blooms prolifically throughout the growing season.

  8. Salvia (Salvia spp.):

    Salvias come in a wide range of colors and varieties, all of which are excellent for attracting bees. They produce abundant nectar and are generally easy to grow.

  9. Penstemon:

    Penstemons, also known as beardtongues, produce tubular flowers that are particularly well-suited for bees with long tongues. They come in a variety of colors and are attractive to both bees and hummingbirds.

  10. Zinnia (Zinnia elegans):

    Zinnias are colorful annual flowers that produce nectar-rich blooms, making them popular among bees and other pollinators.

Remember to choose a variety of flowers that bloom at different times throughout the growing season to provide a continuous food source for bees. Additionally, opt for native plant species whenever possible, as they are best adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, and thus more beneficial to native bee populations. In addition to attracting bees, you will also have a beautiful butterfly garden that will make you the envy of your neighborhood.  Kudos to you for wanting to create a beautiful work of nature while contributing to making the planet a better place!


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