Here is a list of garden plants and shrubs for bees that
will provide forage for at least one species of bee. Many of these
plants will attract honey bees and different types of bumble bees as well as
If you are short of space, see my tips about gardening for bees in small spaces.
Most people can accommodate at least a few of these flowers to attract bees and butterflies into their gardens, even if only in pots dotted around the yard.
the bottom of this page you'll also find links to further lists of plants
for bees, shrubs, herbs, and more.
Since first writing this page several years ago, I have also added my page of over 30 Fantastic Garden Flowers For Bees - in alphabetical order, and with more photographs.
The following lists are grouped by seasons:
Please note that flowering season may vary depending on variety and the region in which you live. Check the information on the label.
Due to variations in climate and conditions, flowering times may differ from region to region, and this may also affect foraging, as well as the distribution of different bee species. Contrary to popular misconception, honey bees may be seen foraging in cooler temperatures during January and February.
Bumble bees, with their furry coats, may also be found foraging on cooler
days. In fact, bumble bees are increasingly being seen to forage during
the cool winter months in some countries, meaning that late and very early flowering
plants are vital for bumble bees.
Here is a list of winter / spring flowering plants and shrubs for bees:
Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis)
Daffodil (select carefully, e.g. Narcissus pseudonarcissus)
Snakeshead (Fritillaria meleagris)
Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Cowslip (Choose native varieties)
Flowering Currant (Ribes)
Winter Heathers (Erica carnea)
Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima, Lonicera purpusii)
During the Spring and Summer, all types of bees (and other pollinating insects) are rearing their broods.
Plenty of bee friendly plants are therefore vital during the Spring and summer to ensure survival of new generations of bees. Many of these plants will also attract and benefit a range of other pollinators. For example, Milkweed is vital for Monarch butterflies.
Here is a list of spring / summer flowering plants and shrubs for bees:
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
Lupin / Lupine
Bee balm (Monarda)
White wild indigo (Baptisia alba)
Sea Holly (Eryngium)
Phacelia (Scorpion weed)
Sedum (ice plant)
Marsh blazing star (Liatris spicata)
Butterfly bush (Buddleia)
Honey Suckle (Lonicera)
Potentilla / Shrubby Cinquefoil
Common privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
California lilac (Ceanothus)
Passion Flower (Passiflora)
Red claws (Escallonia)
the late summer and autumn, these plants will continue to feed late
developing young, as well as those bees that have already developed
into working adults.
Scorpion Weed (Phacelia)
Purple Loosestrife (note, in some countries this is considered invasive - please check your region
Golden Rod (Solidago)
Scabious (Pincushion Flower)
Monarda (bee balm)
Sweet Sultan (Amberboa Muricata)
Ivy (hedera helix) is loathed by some, but it is one of the few plants for bees that aid survival of the late foragers. In some regions, it is an important source of food for the Ivy Bee, Colletes hederae.
The pollination of ivy then allows berries to develop, thus feeding a number of birds over the winter months, as well as providing excellent shelter. A wall or fence with ivy growing up over it will accommodate more wildlife than without it. Check the plant is not considered invasive in your country before planting.
Late autumn flowering fruits and food crops may also provide a good source of nectar and pollen for bees.
Ivy hedera helix
Common Heather (Calluna vulgaris)