You’ve probably heard that the bee population is declining, which isn’t good for our gardens or for the world in general. Without pollinators, our ecosystem would fail and humans wouldn’t be able to exist! If you want to help correct this problem, you can start by adding any of these bee-friendly flowers to your garden.
1. Coneflowers: Also known as echinacea, this perennial is one of my favorite bee-friendly flowers. They’re native to our area and are extremely drought resistant. You can find them in a variety of heights and colors and they pair so beautifully with other flowers.
2. Black-Eyed Susan: You might know these cheery flowers as rudbeckia. They provide a wonderful display of yellow daisy-like flowers. I love wedging them in between pink, purple, and orange flowers for a bit of contrast.
3. Blazing Star (Gayfeather or Liatrus spicata): I have this poker style flower in my garden and without a doubt, it’s the favorite of my bee-friendly flowers. I always find a couple of bees here drinking up sweet nectar. The stems are sturdy and won’t flop over like other flowers that have some height to them. Gayfeather makes a fun architectural statement no matter where you place it.
4. Ornamental Onion (allium): Such a cute flowering perennial that bees adore! You can group these together as a border plant for a stunning visual effect. I love their globe-shaped heads. They remind me of the type of flower you’d see in Whoville.
5. Bee Balm: Of course, don’t forget the obvious bee balm when selecting bee-friendly flowers for your garden. When this perennial flower starts to turn brown, cut the dying flower at the first leaflet to encourage more blooms.
6. English Marigold: Here’s another colorful flower to add to your garden. You might know it as a pot marigold (calendula) and is different than the more common marigold (tagetes) that you see in most garden centers.
7. Hyssop: This is a bushy-type aromatic plant that pollinators love to visit. Pick a leaf and you’ll smell a familiar licorice scent. The stems were used by ancient Hebrews for Jewish rites of purification.
8. Nasturtium: My mother loved having these in her garden. They add a wonderful pop of bright color to the landscape. Not to mention, their leaves add a peppery flavor to your favorite salad.
9. Phlox: Tall growing phlox bloom in mid to late summer and put on quite the flowering show. When I was a little girl, I’d remove a flower from one of the tiny stems and suck the nectar from the back end of the bloom. I’m sure the bees weren’t too happy with me! I have pink phlox by my pond and the flowers will soon be out.
10. Zinnias: I always have zinnias in my garden. They’re more tolerant to drought conditions and are super easy to grow. Dead head them when the flowers fade and they’ll reward you with more blooms. There are two types that I prefer – magellan zinnias which are bushy, and state fair zinnias that grow to about 4 feet and are wonderful for cut flowers.
11 Thyme: If you let this popular herb go to flower, the bees and butterflies will thank you for it. The same is true of oregano. I cut half my plants back for herbs, and the rest I let go to flower for the pollinators.
There are several more bee-friendly flowers that you can add to the garden, but all of these are easy to grow and are some of my favorites. Add one or more to your garden and over the years you’ll start to see more and more bees and butterflies in your yard.
If you’d like more information on helping the bee population, here are some great books to consider:
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