11 Bee-Friendly Flowers for Your Garden

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.

Bee-Friendly Flowers for 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.

Coneflower or Echinacea


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.

Rudbeckia - Black Eyed Susan


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.

Liatris spicata, or gayffeather, or Blazing Star, flowering in a simple container


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.

Summer blossom of allium, aka ornamental onion


Summer blossom of allium, aka ornamental onion


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.

Monarda didyma (crimson beebalm, scarlet monarda, Oswego tea or bergamot), aromatic herb


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.

Yellow Pot Marigold - one of many bee-friendly flowers


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.

Anise hyssop for attracting butterflies and bees


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.

Beautiful flowers Nasturtium plants in the garden. Bright flowers in summer.


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.

Butterfly perched on phlox flower


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.

Colorful zinnia bee-friendly flowersflowers for


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.

Spring flowering of thyme, close-up. Seasoning and herbs


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.

Bumble bee and honeybee on purple coneflower


Bee-Friendly Flowers for the Garden - to help the bee population

If you’d like more information on helping the bee population, here are some great books to consider:


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  1. Planting my gardens with pollinator friendly plants has been a goal of mine ever since we raised bees and found out how important they were to our food supply.Used to lecture to various groups and hope I made a little difference about how to help these little creatures. Also it is so vital to protect our native pollinators and stop using toxic insecticides. My gardens are all organic now and the property is alive with bees ,birds ,dragonflies , butterflies and a variety of beneficial insects. When our grandchildren visit they love to identify them.

  2. I have been slowly changing my container gardening to bee friendly . I have many coneflowers and hoping to do alliums soon. My garden this year is sadly lacking cause of this pandemic. Hoping to do better next year.

  3. Great information! Trying to be patient and gather good info for our backyard renovation. I want environmental impact and low maintenance. Soooo many choices!

  4. We have a couple large balloon flower plants in our front flower bed on the south side of our house. The honeybees seem to really like the balloon plant flowers, and I enjoy watching them buzz from one bloom to the next collecting pollen.

  5. I’ve been looking for what to grow for bees! We put up a bee house a few weeks ago and are now going to get some box hives soon! Looking forward to seeing all the beautiful color around. Pinned