The beautiful flowers that bloom in your garden all year long result from pollination; an activity carried out by bees. Flowers that contain sweet nectar are large and have bright colours attract bees the most.
So what are some of the most popular flowers that attract bees? We will find out in this article.
Why do bees need nectar?
The nutrients present in nectar is essential to bees for their survival. These nutrients contain necessary carbohydrates and protein, that is the primary source of food for bees.
So how do you think bees produce honey? The nectar that they extract from the flowers they visit is stored in their bellies till they reach their respective honeycombs and share it with the rest of the bees. Nectar is rich in carbohydrates, which provides the bees with a burst of energy which they need for pollination.
In a way, you can say that nectar is like coffee for bees.
Further, an enzyme present in their stomach is responsible for churning the nectar into diluted honey, which the bees store in the maze’s comb cells. These comb cells help in evaporating water so that we can get pure honey.
Hence, we get food and sweet honey through pollination carried out by bees, and in the process, bees also get their food. Indeed a win-win situation!
On the other hand, pollen grains that are found in plants are a rich source of protein and are packed into brood cells. This pollen is used to make bee-bread by mixing it with honey, and then consumed by the nurse-bees, and helps them produce royal jelly for the larvae.
What are the best kind of flowers that attract bees?
For this answer, you need to view the availability and the growth patterns of perennial flowers and annual flowers.
Perennial flowers grow every year at the same time and need to be maintained only once a year.
With annual flowers, they need to maintain at least thrice a year. But on the brighter side, they produce more flowers and for a longer duration. (Source)
However, for convenience and quality, perennial flowers take the trophy home.
Dormant flowers cited in the below list are mostly perennial and include only a few annual ones. Additionally, the websites from where you can procure the seeds for the following flowers are also mentioned.
10 Flowers That Will Instantly Attract Bees to Your Garden
1. Bee Balm
Monarda or bee balm is a colourful flower variant that is guaranteed to make your garden look ten times better and attractive to pollinators.
Bees are not the only thing that these flowers attract. They also attract butterflies, who are also avid pollinators. Moreover, these flowering plants grow in wet and damp areas, so they are mostly found around rivers and waterfalls.
These perennial beauties have open, daisy-like petals painted in white, purple, pink, and red colours. These rich aromatic flowers need to grow on the moist ground with relative exposure to the sun.
Added Tip: Pinch off the outer side of the petals for better growth.
Purchase Bee Balm seeds here:
These multi-variant plants are late bloomers and usually bloom to their peak during November. The nectar from these flowers instantly attracts bees and other pollinators like butterflies, and hence it is considered an excellent source for attracting bees to your garden.
There are typically five species of aster that blooms in the different seasons of the year. These are the ‘Purple Dome,’ ‘Wood Pink,’ ‘California Aster,’ ‘Fanny’s,’ and ‘Big Bill’s Blue.’
Although asters provide nectar and pollen, a primary source of ‘bee-food,’ they are not easily manageable. Barring the popular California aster, all the other aster species require regular tilling of the soil and are prone to spreading.
To prevent this, owners tend to share half the plants with their neighbour’s, and the rest they plant in a dry area since asters thrive on wet soil.
Buy Aster seeds here:
Sunflowers are a popular choice for pollinators to feast on because of the rich content of nectar and pollen that they accumulate in their prominent, giant, petals.
Want to know the best part?
Growing a sunflower is pretty simple. You don’t need to spend a fortune to create a favourable spot. Sunflowers can easily grow in pots and tubs, as long as the pots have the necessary surface area to fit our lovely giants.
Sunflowers can grow to be huge. The largest sunflower ever to be recorded is 30 feet tall which is abnormally tall! The only thing that sunflowers require is sunlight. You give them that in abundance, and you will experience the best of pollination in your garden itself.
Additional Tip: Red sunflowers are not attractive to bees.
The sunflower, being a multi-purpose and necessary plant in our lives, needs to be suitably pollinated. Honeybees are the most frequent and the most effective pollinators that feast on the nectar of sunflowers.
Buy Sunflower seeds here:
The Black-Eyed Susan quite literally looks like it has a black eye at the flower’s centre surrounded by a yellow merry-go-round of petals. The bright yellow hue attracts pollinators to the flower like a venus fly-trap, the only exception being that it will not harm the pollinators.
Bees are particularly smitten by the sweetness of the nectar that this flower produces. The ‘black-eye’ at the centre of the flower contains 250-500 individual shallow cups that are the nectar hubs for our dear friends. Specifically, the metallic green bee is almost regularly seen feeding off nectar from this beautiful flower.
In addition to it producing excessive nectar, the black-eyed Susan can easily be planted and maintained. The flower’s sheer beauty and effectiveness are convincing enough to have it as a staple pollinating plant in your garden.
Buy Black-Eyed Susan seeds here:
Pansies are spring-time flowers and are a personal favourite of bees. Their beauty and sweet nectar, allow for effective cross-pollination which the bees undertake.
Research has shown that bees, specifically bumblebees, are the most effective pollinators for this plant. This is because the length of their tongue can reach till the deep-end of the shallow nectar cup to suck out all the sweetness.
So, it is useful if you have this flower planted in your garden to attract plenty of bumblebees.
Buy Pansy seeds here:
Milkweed pollination can be considered a sticky episode. These pants store an ample amount of sweet and sticky nectar which is not spread all around the flower.
The nectar is stored in sac-like bundles called pollinia situated on either side of the stigmatic chamber. Interestingly, two of these pollinia are bonded together with a filament and provide optimal nutrition for the pollinators that pay them seasonal visits.
The cross-pollination process is successful when the bees manage to ‘slip’ into the stigmatic chambers that hold the anthers of one milkweed and then travel to another milkweed plant with the pollen on their legs. Here they might have the occasional ‘slip’ once again to insert the anther into the stigma.
This process does seem a little complicated, but there are always high chances of the bees slipping into the stigmatic bundle while trying to draw out nectar.
Buy Milkweed seeds here:
Cosmos are an annual flower that grows from spring to autumn every year. They are considered as easily-plantable flowers and are a good source of food for our busy pollinators.
Honey bees and bumblebees are particularly attracted to cosmos, but additionally, the leaf-cutting bees are also active pollinators on the cosmos wagon.
In case you are willing to plant cosmos in your garden, make sure you give it a full position under the sun. It requires the maximum amount of sunlight, and minimum requirements to manage it.
Buy Cosmos seeds here:
Let’s begin with a definitive and fun fact about bees. They cannot see the colour red. You keep anything red in their way, hoping to attract them, nothing will come out of it.
However, they can see yellow and blue, which is precisely why snapdragons are perfect for bees. They are an attractive flower with unique colours and shape, which is incredibly alluring to bees, which helps their pollination process.
Another interesting fact about snapdragons is that they emit a strong sweet smell that attracts bees to suckle on their sweet nectar. Bees are most active during the day, and this is when snapdragons release the most amount of fragrance.
So, it is a good idea to plant snapdragons in your garden and make it a bee-friendly environment.
Buy Snapdragon seeds here:
Goldenrods are an excellent source of nectar for bees and other pollinators necessary for producing an abundance of goldenrods.
The golden yellow flower blooms from August through September. They are a boon to bees preparing for the winter season when they are in desperate need of pollen and nectar.
Goldenrods are considered quite beautiful, and are essential for attracting bees because of their unique and bright yellow colours.
Buy Goldenrod seeds here:
This attractive plant has many flowering buds in the middle of the flower, which contains excessive nectar for pollinators to feed on. The flower’s centre has enough space to hold three bumblebees together, all feeding on its nectar.
Want to know the best part?
The various species of bees that rely on the nectar of sedums are incredibly tolerant and give each other the required space. So, in case one flower bud is getting overcrowded with bees, some of them will step onto another one.
Buy Sedum seeds here:
These 10 plants have proven to be effective for pollinators like bees, who’s process of pollination produces 90% of food on this planet.
The status of bees in Canada currently is on an alarming decline, so it is advisable to make a bee-friendly garden. In this way, the population of bees can be balanced, and at the same time, you can expect a regular production of essential fruits and veggies.
It’s time to ditch the pesticides, and instead plant some pollinator-friendly plants.