9 Best Flowers that Will Attract Bees

Best Flowers for Bees

Welcome to the buzz-worthy world of bee-friendly gardening! If you’re looking to plant flowers that are a bee’s knees, you’ve come to the right place. From the delightful bee balm to an array of vibrant flowering plants, each selection is a magnet for these busy pollinators.

Whether you aim to support native bees, honey bees, or various bee species, understanding the importance of native plants and the flower shapes they offer can make a huge difference. Bees are particularly fond of flowers that provide easy access to nectar and pollen, which are vital for their survival. UBCO researchers say they augment the yield manifold!

Fascinating Facts About Bees

Flowers that attract bees don’t just bring a buzz to your garden; they play a crucial role in the health of our ecosystem. Bees are master pollinators, and as they move from flower to flower, they help plants reproduce by spreading pollen, which is vital for fruit and seed production. This pollination process supports agricultural productivity and biodiversity, ensuring that both our diets and landscapes remain rich and varied.

So, let’s dive into how you can turn your garden into a buzzing haven that will attract bees all season long!

Best Flowers for Bees

1. Oriental Poppy

what do bees like

Oriental Poppies are the superstars of the early summer garden, dazzling with their showy, vivid blooms that are a magnet for bees! These tiny flowers might not be as small as spring flowering bulbs, but they hold their own with their week-long display, offering generous amounts of dark purple or black pollen. All sorts of pollinators, from wild bees to solitary bees, can’t get enough of them!

These poppies are not just about the bright shows; they’re tough cookies too. Each winter, they take a little nap, only to burst back onto the scene in spring, ready to rock the garden again. They thrive in a sunny spot with moist, well-drained soil, making them perfect companions for your vegetable garden or a patch of native flowers.

And get this—this particular old variety was the first white Oriental Poppy on the block, making it a true pioneer in poppy pizzazz!

APPEARANCE: Tall bright pinky/red flowers

2. Allium

what flowers do bees pollinate

Alliums are the globe-trotting superstars of the spice world, doubling as fantastic veggies and go-to medicinal plants! These punchy plants pack a lot with their sharp, linear leaves and stylish six-petaled flowers.

Whether popping up from bulbs or rhizomes, these perennials are real stayers, coming back year after year to spice up your garden and your dinner plate!

Alliums are the ultimate bee magnets! From bumblebees to honeybees and the enchantingly long-tongued bees, these bee-friendly plants are the hot spot in town. And don’t forget about butterflies and other native pollinators who can’t resist these flower bee-friendly fiestas!

Allium ‘Globemaster’ stands out, blooming in early summer with huge clusters of nectar-filled purple flowers. It’s perfect for attracting bees. If you want to bring more bees to your garden, planting some Alliums is like sending out an invitation to a buzzing garden party. Watch as the bees and other pollinators come flocking in!

APPEARANCE: Oval or cascading flower of white, yellow, pink, purple or blue colors

3.Great Blue Lobelia

what flowers attract bees

Meet the great blue lobelia, also known as the blue cardinal flower, a standout star in the Campanulaceae family.

As early spring rolls around, this plant really struts its stuff with showy spikes of blue-purple flowers. These blooms aren’t just a feast for the eyes; they’re a full-service buffet for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies! Why do bees buzz over these blooms? They have a thing for blue, making the great blue lobelia a bee magnet!

This chemical-free charmer thrives in full sun, pumping out many flowers on each spike and attracting a crowd of pollinators. Each single flower is a pit stop for refreshment on the busy pollinator highway. So if you’re looking to add some serious sizzle to your garden this spring, the great blue lobelia is your go-to for a natural buzz!

APPEARANCE: Blue, two-lipped flowers

4. Lavender

top 10 plants for honey bees

When lavender bursts into bloom, it’s like a bee magnet! This fragrant plant is packed with pollen and nectar, making its single flowers a favorite dining spot for bees. Lavender flowers provide easily accessible nectar, which is a big win for our buzzy friends.

What’s really cool is that it blooms during a midsummer gap—a time when bees are super hungry but find fewer options on their menu. So, if you’ve got lavender growing, you’ll notice it becomes bee central! Lavender and bees go together like peanut butter and jelly—they’re just meant to be!

If you see bees buzzing around your lavender, remember, they’re not just visiting; they’re accessing all the nectar goodness and showing some plant love!

APPEARANCE: Blue, lilac, or purple colored blossoms

5. Catmint

top 10 plants for honey bees

Catnip might be a one-hit-wonder each season, but when it blooms, it’s party time in the garden for bees and other nectar lovers! Speaking of parties, catmint keeps the bash going with its extended bloom period. Starting in late spring, it sets the stage for a summer-long nectar fest.

You’ll spot solitary bees sipping nectar in early summer, honeybees buzzing about from mid- to late summer, and even bee flies and hawk moths joining the fun later on. This plant doesn’t just provide forage; it offers a deluxe, long-season buffet that keeps bad bugs at bay and helps our pollinator pals thrive all summer long!

APPEARANCE: Small purple flowers

6. Stiff Goldenrod

flowers bees love

Goldenrods are the late-season superheroes of the pollinator world! As the days get shorter, these plants become a bustling hub of activity. Honeybees can’t resist loading up on goldenrod nectar as they prep for winter, and other bee species dive into the pollen to stock their nests for the chilly months ahead.

Not only is goldenrod a feast for bees with short tongues, but it’s also a popular pit stop for a whole crew of beetles, flies, wasps, and other pollen-loving pals.

Unlike its rapidly spreading cousins, it stays put, making it a garden-friendly choice.

Planted strategically, they provide top-notch food and make your garden a buzzing haven for honeybeesand their friends right when they need it most.

APPEARANCE: Golden-yellow clustered flowers

7. Zinnia

bees favorite flowers

Plants bursting with tiny flowers are like all-you-can-eat buffets for bees, and more flowers mean more delicious pollen for these busy buddies. Zinnias are the ultimate newbie-friendly flower—they’re super easy to care for and sprout from seed to stunning bloom in just a quick two months!

Thinking about adding some zinnias to your pollinator garden?

Try out some fan favorites like Zahara, Benary’s Giant, Tall State Fair, California Giant, Cut and Come Again, and Lilliput. These zinnias not only add a splash of color but also invite a wide range of buzzing visitors to your garden, all without the need for harsh pesticides.

Perfect for sunny spots, these perennials come in a variety of dazzling colors and sizes, making them a versatile choice for any garden. So, plant some zinnias and watch your garden transform into a vibrant, bee-friendly paradise!

APPEARANCE: Daisy-like, double flowers

8. Joe Pye Weed

flowers bees love

Joe-pye weed is a buzzing hotspot for a whole host of bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, cuckoo bees, and leafcutter bees. Not just a bee paradise, it’s also a VIP lounge for caterpillars of several moth species, serving up its leaves as the perfect munchies. And when the blooms bow out and the seeds step up, swamp sparrows swoop in for a snack!

Thriving in both full sun and partial shade, this native perennial needs just the right spot to strut its stuff. For the happiest Joe-pye, plant it where it can dodge the harshest afternoon sun, as too much can make its leaves turn a sad shade of yellow. On the flip side, too shady a spot and it might get a bit leggy, flop over, or catch a case of the plant sniffles (aka disease). So, find that sweet spot in your garden, and watch this planted powerhouse bring the local food chain to your backyard!

APPEARANCE: Rounded clusters of pink or purplish flowers

9. Bee Balm

bees favorite flowers

Bee balm flaunt brilliant red blooms that have butterflies, honeybees, and hummingbirds swoon!

If you let those blooms turn into seed heads without deadheading, you’ll also throw a fall and winter feast for the birds. And guess what? Planting bee balm in pink and purple can attract even more bee buddies than the red variety!

So, if you’re looking to spice up your garden with some serious wildlife action, bee balm is your go-to plant. It not only provides fabulous food with its flowers but also keeps the buffet going with seed heads when the bloom season is over. Let bee balm work its magic and watch your garden become a buzzing, fluttering paradise!

APPEARANCE: Scarlet flowers


That wraps up our whirlwind tour of the best flowers for bees! From the dramatic displays of bee balm to the sweet simplicity of lavender, each plant we’ve discussed offers something special for our pollinating pals.

Planting these beauties isn’t just about creating a gorgeous garden—it’s about crafting a buzzing ecosystem that supports bees, butterflies, and birds throughout the seasons.

So, why not roll out the floral carpet and turn your garden into a pollinator paradise? Not only will you enjoy the vibrant colors and fragrant blooms, but you’ll also play a vital role in supporting our essential bee populations.

Johan Perez
Johan Perez is an experienced agriculturalist with over twenty years in the field. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences and has contributed extensively to research on sustainable farming practices. Johan has also written for numerous agricultural periodicals, offering expert advice on farming technologies and methods. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor adventures, which often inform his professional insights into ecological agriculture.

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