Do Bees Visit Yellow Flowers?

Do bees visit yellow flowers? 

My understanding is that bees like blue and purple.  I can't find much information about yellow flowers.  I love to see yellow in my garden.

Jane, UK.


Yes, bees do visit yellow flowers! 

There are many examples of wonderful yellow flowers for bees - including wildflowers, and garden plants and shrubs.

Bumble bees on Helianthus.Bumble bees on Helianthus.

Bees are attracted to flowers offering a rich source of nectar and pollen, and there are plenty of plants and shrubs with lovely yellow flowers that offer bees a rich source of both.

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I also love yellow, and have some elegant yellow flag iris, hypericum hidcote, wallflowers and bird's foot trefoil in my tiny garden.  Bees love them!

Here are some of my favourite yellow-flowered plants and shrubs for bees - and you'll see from most of the pictures that yes, bees visit yellow flowers!


Yellow Flowers For Bees

Solidago - Golden Rod

Bloomed furrow bee (male) foraging on solidago.Bloomed furrow bee (male) foraging on solidago.


An absolute favourite of mine - Solidago - or golden rod as it is known, is a yellow flower visited by bees of multiple species, as well as many other pollinators.

It provides fantastic food for bees when colonies are at their peak, and queens need to feed up for overwintering - i.e. from August onwards.

Honey Bee On Solidago (Golden rod)

It's also a great plant to include it in the border.

Hypericum

Hypericum

I LOVE hypericum!  To watch bumblebees land on the bouncy stamens of this lovely flowering shrub, is a joy!  I actually mention this among my list of fantastic shrubs for bees.

Try 'hidcote'.  Wonderful!

Kale - that's right KALE!

Ever since I allowed kale to go to flower on my allotment, I have been converted!  Yet being a vegetable, it gets no serious consideration as a plant for bees.  If you allow kale to flower, it will reward you (and the bees) with a bush of yellow, fragrant flowers in spring.

Bumble bee on kale flowersBumble bee on kale flowers

A point to note: as well as being bushy, just one plant is a fair size, and they are quite tall. 

If you are going to allow a couple to flower, make sure they have space.  Plant one year for harvesting in spring, then let them flower - you cans still pick some of the leaes to eat.  Some people eat the seeds too (or you can plant them) - but I have not tried them. 

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Zinnia

Zinnia come in lots of shades of jewels and pastels, and zinnias are great for bees generally, but if you are looking for yellow flowers specifically - well, they are available from the Zinnia range, and bees will visit them!  Go for the more open variety.

Note, they are not always easy to go, so check suitability for including in your own region and local conditions to avoid disappointment.

Zinnia

Wallflower

Select an old fashioned, fragrant variety if you can, and plant these lovely flowers in a sunny spot.  These were growing at my allotment, but I have a different, darker shade of yellow wallflower in my garden at home, and they are visited by bees too.

Yellow Wallflower


Rudbeckia - Black Eyed Susan

Honey bee on Rudbeckia.Honey bee on Rudbeckia.

A lovely, vibrant yellow flower loved by bees and other pollinators.  Read more about planting Rudbeckia for bees here.

Plant in a sunny spot where it will grow about 2 -3 feet tall.

Butterflies love Rudbeckia too - above - Red Admiral butterfly.Butterflies love Rudbeckia too - above - Red Admiral butterfly.

Sunflowers

Well known for attracting bees, sunflowers are a real favourite with children. Birds can enjoy the seeds of the larger varieties later.

There are different types of sunflower such as the variety pictured below.  Read more here.

Yellow Flag Iris

It can take a while to establish, but in my experience, it is worth the wait, and then it spreads out nicely.  Lovely tall stems and interesting seed pods.  Can grow in the pond (where it will spread more vigorously once it gets going) but I also find it works in the border too - actually quite versatile!

Bumble Bee (and Mason Bee!) On Yellow Flag Iris

Helenium - Sneezeweed

Superb for attracting bees and butterflies, sneezeweed (also known as Helen's flower) comes in yellow and orangey red.

Berberis

Berberis shrubs provide orangey yellow flowers -  popular with bees, and lovely glossy foliage.

Berberis

This shrub is mentioned among my list here.

Wildflowers

There are plenty of wildflowers I could mention, and many people include them in their garden anyway. Here are three common ones:

Bird's Foot Trefoil

Bird's foot trefoil

I like bird's foot trefoil in the rockery, but patches can also grown in the lawn (it may go brown in the autumn though - so you need to be aware of this).

It's attractive to bumble bees and solitary bees, including silvery leafcutter bees.

Corn Marigold

Corn marigold

Corn marigold - a lovely yellow, and loved by solitary bees.

Dandelion

Dandelion


Lots of bees love dandelions, and they can provide much needed food when little else is available.  I always let a few survive in my tiny garden, at least for periods when there is little in flower.  When the bees are more interested in the other flowers, I pull the dandelions out, confident that mroe will appear the following year or later - and they do!


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But don't forget...

In general would strongly advise you from personal experience: create a garden for bees by all means, but also create a garden YOU and your family love!  There are bound to be plants that both you and the bees appreciate.




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