47 Plants that Attract Bees to Your Garden

Bees are necessary for gardens. They pollinate and bring life, playing an important role in growing all sorts of crops.

Sadly, bees are under threat. So it’s down to us avid gardeners to help them out. There are ways in which we can prepare our gardens to attract bees, encouraging them to pollinate all year-round.

plants to attract bees

In this post, I will discuss some plants that attract bees as well as why it is important for the bee population to thrive in your yard or garden.

I also recommend a few things you can do on your end to increase the potential for attracting these vital creatures into their natural habitat so they may carry on their very important work of pollination around your garden.

Why it is Important For Bees to be in Your Garden?

There are many reasons why it is important to encourage bees into your garden. Their work is absolutely vital for the world around us!

Most importantly, bees are responsible for the pollination of the food you eat! The crops we eat rely on their work to grow.

Bees are an important part of life that isn’t always appreciated. If we help them out, they will reward us by providing us with the fruits and vegetables we all love and enjoy.

By providing bees with flowers rich in pollen and nectar, it’s likely they will stick around your garden rather than move on.

If you have an interest in gardening and are trying to attract bees, or if you just want to help the world population of bees thrive (which is pretty much a good thing for us humans anyway), there are some plants that will basically guarantee they stick around your yard!

Some bee species that are beneficial to have in your garden include honeybees, mason bees, and leafcutter bees.

Along with these three species of bees, there are many others that will also help your plants as pollinators.

Best Plants That Attract Bees

Let’s explore what types of plants attract bees to your backyard.

1. Lavender

growing lavender

Lavender is a plant that attracts many bees. Not only are the flowers attractive to bees, but the plant also has a strong aroma and flavor.

2. Hyssop

Hyssops have small blue or white flowers with spikes that appeal to insects like honeybees and bumblebees alike.  Plus, it’s easy to grow.  It is also tolerant of many climates and soils, so it’s pretty much the bee-perfect plant!

3. Bee Balm

Bee balm (or bergamot) has scalloped leaves that give off a minty aroma and bright pink flowers that are extremely appealing to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.  Plus, it is relatively low maintenance.

4. Dandelion

Dandelions have bright yellow flowers that are highly attractive to bees, as well as other insects like butterflies and beetles. They can grow in almost any type of soil, which makes them very easy to grow.  Plus, they are a wildflower and can be used in a variety of different ways.

5. Marigold

growing marigold

Marigolds have bright, sunny yellow or orange-ish flowers that are really eye-catching. Bees and many types of butterflies love these plants.  Marigolds can flower nearly year-round if the temperature is warm enough!

6. Cosmos

Cosmos (or bachelor buttons) are pretty purple, pink, or white flowers that are fairly easy to grow. They have a strong scent and taste, which makes them appealing to many bees and butterflies alike.

7. Sunflower

growing sunflower

Sunflowers are pretty flowers that resemble suns with bright yellow petals surrounding the “face” of these blossoms. They are great for attracting bees because they come in a variety of different colors and sizes, making them very versatile.

8. Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susans (or raggedy anns) are medium-sized flowers with bright yellow centers surrounded by dark, spotted purple petals.  These plants are super easy to grow and love to multiply!

9. Viper’s Bugloss

Viper’s bugloss has a unique flower on long stems with wide, open blooms that are white at the base and deep purple toward the center.  These flowers provide lots of nectar for bees and butterflies alike.

10. Mahonia

Mahonia’s yellow flowers look like clusters of small, “off-center” sunflowers.  They are hardy and grow quickly with very little maintenance, making them a great choice for novice gardeners who want to attract bees to their yard!

11. Borage

Borage’s blue flowers taste a little like cucumber and are thus very appealing to bees.  These gorgeous plants grow easily and are highly versatile for many different uses.

12. Zinnias

Zinnias have bright yellow flowers that attract bees, butterflies, moths, and other types of insects. Their blooms last for a long period of time which makes them convenient for any type of garden space

13. Passionflower

Passionflowers have violet, yellow, or white flowers that are low-growing and hang down from the stem of the plant. They attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds alike.

14. Columbine

Columbines have beautiful pink or purple flowers that are highly attractive to bees and other pollinators and they come in a variety of sizes, colors, and types.

15. Coneflower

Coneflowers have a variety of different flowers with yellow petals at the center surrounded by black or purple cones. These attract bees and butterflies alike, making them great for any garden!

16. Cow Parsnip

Cow parsnip is a flowering plant in the carrot family that grows tall and has big, yellow flowers shaped like umbrellas. These attract bees because they have a strong scent and flavor, especially when crushed.

17. Dahlia

Dahlias have flowers with yellow centers surrounded by scarlet red petals.  They can be planted in either spring or summer and will attract bees for months at a time!

18. Goldenrod

Goldenrods are plants that grow wild throughout North America with bright golden-yellow flowers that smell like honey. This plant is great for attracting bees and should be planted in various parts of your garden.

19. Daisy

Daisies have bright yellow or white flowers.  They are especially great for attracting bees because they have a strong scent and taste to them.

20. Milkweed

Milkweed is a plant that looks like a weed but can actually be used to attract bees because it has flowers shaped like umbrellas with white or pink petals surrounding the yellow center.

21. Sweet Alyssum

Alyssums are a type of plant that can be planted in the spring or summer that attracts bees. They have white and yellow flowers with a sweet honey-like smell.  The Alyssum plant can grow up to 3 feet tall and is extremely easy to care for.

22. Sage

Sage is a plant that grows wild and has beautiful purple flowers that are attractive to bees thanks to the strong scent.  They grow easily in almost any type of soil and can be used in many different parts of your garden. Sage attracts a wide variety of bees and is great for attracting honey bees to your garden!

23. Hawthorn

Hawthorn has deep red flowers that are highly attractive to many different types of bees.  They grow well in dry soil and don’t require much maintenance.

24. Bluebells

Bluebells, also called wild hyacinths, are hardy flowers that come in various colors like purple, white, and light blue.  They have a sweet scent that is highly attractive to bees.

25. Rosemary

Rosemary has a strong scent that is very appealing to bees.  It grows well in most soils and can also be used for cooking, which means you’ll get double the use out of it!

26. Crab Apple Trees

Crab apple trees have white blossoms that bees love!  They are easy to plant and grow quickly.  If you want a quick way to attract bees, plant a crab apple tree in your yard.

27. Ox-eye daisy

Ox-eye daisies have bright yellow flowers with black centers that bees love.  They grow easily in most soils and do not require much maintenance.

28. Blueberry Bushes

growing blueberries for bees

Blueberry bushes have plump, little white flowers that bees go crazy for in the spring and summer months.  They are easy to care for and grow quickly with very little maintenance.

29. Cranberry Bushes

Cranberry bushes have big pink flowers that attract bees. They can be planted in winter and grow quickly without much maintenance.

30. Chives

Chives have flowers that bees love!  They also can be grown in the garden and used for cooking.

31. Lilac

Lilac bushes have a sweet smell that bees love.  They can be planted in early spring or summer and range in sizes from small to tall, depending on the variety you purchase.

32. Blackberry Bushes

Blackberry Bushes have flowers bees love to get nectar from. They also happen to be delicious!

33. Raspberry Bushes

Raspberry bushes have flowers that are attractive to bumblebees, honey bees, and other types of bees.  They grow well in almost any soil type and can easily be kept clean by simply hosing them down.

34. Catnip

Catnip has flowers that grow in clusters and look similar to Queen Anne’s lace.  Bee’s love catnip, so planting a few plants around the garden can really help attract them!

35. Thyme

Thyme has small white flowers that bees love to drink nectar from. This flowering herb is super easy to grow, just make sure you keep it well-watered and moist.

36. Basil

Basil flowers have a sweet scent that is particularly attractive to bees. Basil can also be added to your meals and used for cooking.

37. Aster

Asters have purple, white, and pink flowers that are very attractive to bees.  They can be planted in the fall or winter and bloom quickly.

38. Cornflower

Cornflowers have blue-ish purple flowers that bees love.  They like to grow in areas with partial shade and warm temperatures.

39. Foxglove

Foxgloves have bright pink flowers which attract honeybees, bumblebees, hoverflies, beetles, butterflies, moths, and many other types of pollinating insects. They grow easily in many different types of soil.

40. Clover

Clover has small purple flowers that bees love to get nectar from.  Most varieties of clover are easy to grow and don’t require a lot of maintenance.

41. Rue

Rue is a flowering plant with ovate leaves and yellow flowers with purple centers. The flowers are slender, bright in color, and grow upward on the stems. Bees love rue because of the sweet nectar inside their blooms.  Rue can be used as an herb or a spice in cooking too.

42. Buckwheat

Buckwheat has small yellow flowers that attract bumblebees and honeybees. They can be planted in the fall or winter and grow quickly without requiring much maintenance.

43. Nasturtium

Nasturtiums have bright red blooms that are very attractive to bees.  They can also be used for cooking and contain vitamins and nutrients that are healthy for humans.

44. Tansy

Tansy has bold yellow flowers that bees love to drink from.  When the blooms start to fade, the leaves on the plant turn into bright yellow/orange, which is also attractive to many types of bees.

45. Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums have yellow blooms that are attractive to bees.  They are easy to grow in most areas and bloom quickly in the early fall.

46. Cilantro

Cilantro has yellow/white flowers that bees love! They can grow easily in containers and make great additions to meals when used as a garnish.

47. Spearmint

Spearmint has small white flowers that are attractive to bees and can be used for cooking.  It grows well in containers and can be used as a garnish or added to meals, just like cilantro.

bee on flower

Bees are a type of pollinator that we would be in big trouble without. Impressively, there are over 20,000 distinct species of bee recorded on earth, and they are responsible for pollinating over 66% of the world’s crops. They need to be protected so that they can continue doing this important job, and planting bee-friendly flowers and plants is just one simple way that we can help our flying friends.

And as you can see from this list, there are many types of plants that attract bees to your garden. This is great news because the more types of pollinating insects that surround you when outside, the greater chance there is that more of them will pollinate your produce.

Additional Tips For Attracting Bees to Your Garden

If you want to attract bees to your garden, the best thing you can do is provide them with a water source.  Bees need water to live.  In fact, many times when there aren’t enough pollinating insects visiting your garden because they are dying of dehydration, having access to water will help increase these numbers!

Here are some other ways to make your garden more bee-friendly that don’t involve planting:

  • Don’t use pesticides or herbicides in your garden. Pesticides and herbicides kill insects and living things, including bees!
  • Try to grow a wide variety of different types of plants in your garden. This will help ensure that bees have access to the flowers they need for sustenance.
  • Leave some areas of your yard un-manicured, as this will provide a habitat for bees to live in that is close by to your garden.
  • You can also plant small pots with marigolds, zinnias, or other types of flowering plants that bees love to surround your house.  

By taking some simple steps in your own garden, you can be sure that you are creating an environment that is safe and beneficial for pollinating insects like bees.

bee on a flower

If you want these helpful insects to thrive in your yard, use these plant suggestions and tips to ensure that you’re creating an environment for bees that will allow them to flourish in your garden.

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