Wildflowers and Natives to Attract Bees and Pollinators




Planting wildflowers and natives will not only attract bees and butterflies, but also other pollinators and wildlife.

Native plants and wildflowers are especially adapted to the climate and conditions of a country, and suit the indigenous wildlife, without upsetting the balance of nature. 


Wildflowers and native plants are therefore some of the best plants for bees, and ideally, every ‘bee garden’ should have at least a few of the wildflower plants in a border, of if you have space, a patch of lawn can be converted into a meadow area.  It's possible to find suppliers selling a range of mixes for a variety of soil and light conditions, as well as wildflower ranges for bees and butterflies - here is one excellent example.

It's best to ensure you select wildflowers native to the country in which you live.

Many a native wildflower landscape has been lost due to farming practices and building development. 

In the UK, for example, only 3% of lowland wildflower meadows remain (according to The Grasslands Trust).  We have become obsessed with tidying up, but allowing a few "weeds" and wildflowers to flourish, or creating a small wildflower habitat in your border could help address this imbalance – if only on a small scale.

You may feel that your efforts will not count, but ordinary people as well as councils, are becoming more aware of the need to make space for wildlife.

Your efforts could help enhance a nectar corridor, or provide a valuable ‘feeding station’, however small, for wildlife.  And wildflowers are beautiful too!


Here is a list of great wildflower plants that attract butterflies and bees:



SPRING & SUMMER WILDFLOWERS FOR BEES


Red Campion (pictured left)
Bird’s Foot Trefoil (long season)
Bugle (Ajuga)
Comfrey
Selfheal
Poppy
Cowslip
Vetches
Dandelion
Dead-nettle (red and white
Foxglove
Yellow Rattle
Cat’s ear
Angelica
Red Bartsia
Ground Ivy
Woundwort
Betony






SUMMER & AUTUMN WILDFLOWERS FOR BEES


Clovers (red & white)
Bird’s Foot Trefoil
Bramble
Comfrey
Burdock
Teasels
Knapweed
Vetches
Cornflower
Thistles
Field Scabious
Viper’s Bugloss
Cat’s ear
Angelica
Red Bartsia
Sainfoin





AUTUMN & WINTER WILDFLOWER PLANTS FOR BEES



Ivy
Devils’ bit scabious



WHERE CAN I BUY WILDFLOWERS AND NATIVES?


There are many suppliers offering a wide range. If you are buying a mixture, select one that has been blended with bees and butterflies in mind, such as the kinds of wildflower seeds for for plants you'll see listed here (opens a new window).  It's even possible to make buy wildflower seeds according to soil type and conditions, to increase your chances of success.



Please note, I DO NOT recommend you use weedkillers when you are planting a mini-meadow.

Instead, try Yellow Rattle (a plant loved by bees) which parasitizes grasses, and adapt the mixture to the soil if possible.

For example, many wildflowers prefer poor soils, but if the soil is rich, try a mix which contains poppies, cornflowers, corncockles and corn marigolds.

Also, Meadow Cranesbill, Selfheal, Ox-Eye Daisy, Bugle, Yarrow, Cuckoo Flowers, Goat's Beard, Agrimony, Meadow Buttercup, Betony, Perforate St Johns wort, and Birds-foot trefoil would be good to try, and would provide a nice range for pollinators.

Also, again, do check with your local environment agency whether species are appropriate for your country and region before planting to get the most appropriate mix of flowers.  There are many online resources.










Discover more garden plants for bees
You'll find comprehensive lists of plants, with additional information, on this page.


Create a Bee Garden!
Handy tips and ideas for creating a garden for bees and other pollinators.


Bee Plants for Problem Places
Whether you have drought, clay soil or shade, there are plants for bees to suit different conditions.


Free Plants
Gardening to help bees need not cost a fortune. Here you'll find some money-saving tips.


Bee Pollination
Learn about the importance of the different kinds of bees for pollination.




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