Plant Variety is Important
When selecting bee-friendly plants to grow, you should opt for a variety of shrubs and flowers that provide the sustenance bees need to thrive. Color is an important factor to bear in mind when choosing plants and flowers for your bees.
Red appears as black to bees. Therefore, you should go for plants with blue, yellow, white and purple flowers as these are easily found by bees. Bees can actually see the purple more clearly than any other color, so we recommend that you grow a variety of purple flowering plants. Good examples of these are lavender, buddleia and catmint. We also recommend that you plant flowering shrubs in groups as this will attract bees more easily.
It’s also important to note that single flower tops, such as daisies and marigolds, are better for honey production than double flower tops. Double-headed flowers produce less nectar and make it harder for bees to access pollen.
Diversity Throughout the Year
You should also ensure that you grow plants and flowers that bloom at different times of the year. Research has found that bees thrive from March to September; therefore, it’s recommended that you have plants that are rich and pollen and nectar at all times. Aim for at least two of these at a time.
Spring is especially important to bees, particularly the solitary bees that require nectar. Growing various spring-flowering plants that are attractive to bees will help to provide early much-needed food.
What Are the Best Plants for Honey Production?
Bees are attracted to plants such as dahlias, buddleia, lavender, clematis, foxglove, hosta and wildflowers. Here are some further recommendations of beautiful bee-friendly plants and flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen.
Clematis is a perennial climber with beautiful, wide flowers that provide a valuable source of pollen and nectar.
Single-flowered dahlias such as ‘Joe Swift’ and ‘Bishop of York’ are excellent for bees. The ‘Bishop of York’ has bright yellow single flowers throughout the summer and is a fantastic late source of nectar for bees.
Foxglove provides an important source of pollen for bees. The pretty pink-purple flowers of this well-known plant are especially attractive to bees.
Buddleia is one of the best plants for attracting bees, and butterflies, into your yard. Bees love Buddleia for its summer nectar.
Monarda (Bee Balm)
Monarda has very distinctive, brightly colored flower-heads and is a fantastic bee magnet. Hence, its common name of “bee balm.”
Nepeta, also known as catmint, yields soft blue flowers that attract bees and pollinators. It has aromatic leaves, a long flowering period and is an easy to grow, tough, perennial that’ll return every year.
Lilacs have beautiful blue and purple petals and are grown in dense clusters, making them ideal for attracting bees.
Sunflowers are a perfect flower for honey production. These beautiful, bright flowers are rich in nectar and are the perfect color to attract bees.
Honeybees are particularly attracted to this plant for the bright yellow plants. Solidago (commonly known as goldenrod) blooms from July through to September, and so is ideal for bees towards the end of the season.
Cosmos have colorful daisy-like flowers that sit atop long, slender stems, and their blooms can last for many months. When planted in a group, they will attract more bees than just dotted around your garden as single plants.
Marigolds are excellent for attracting bees, especially the original single-flowered pot marigold. We recommend that you head regularly as this will ensure a longer flowering period.
Bees love borage, also known as “starflower” or “bee bush.” Borage has star-shaped blooms that start pink and mature into a beautiful blue, and the flowers are a magnet for honeybees all summer.
Agastache, sometimes called “giant hyssop,” is another powerful bee magnet. It’s a fantastic garden plant with spikes of purple flowers all summer.
Lavender is a classic bee plant. Bees are particularly attracted to the color purple, which means that lavender is a great plant for honey production. Bees harvest lavender for nectar and pollen in June and July.
Rosemary is a hardy plant that’s easily grown and is cold resistant. Rosemary’s sprigs bloom during the spring and have blue and violet flowers.
Mint is one of the best herbs for honey production. This common herb could bring bees buzzing to your garden since they love the nectar and pollen it produces.
Bees are attracted to sage’s beautiful flowers, and these perennials are exceptionally easy to grow.
There are many varieties and species of asters. These beautiful perennials have a daisy-like appearance and come in blues, purples and a variety of pinks. Blooming into November, asters are a valuable late-season source of pollen and nectar for bees.
Coneflowers, also known as “echinacea,” are harvested for their nectar. Coneflower blossoms range from pink to bright purple, and the species bloom throughout the year.
Purple coneflowers bloom for a short period around June, whereas others are around between July and October.
Achillea is another plant that is attractive to bees. It has a wide range of colors, pastels, cerise, bright yellows and soft pink, and all have attractive, feathery foliage.
Cranesbill geranium is a hardy perennial that adds pretty, pastel flowers to your yard all summer. The flowers range from pinks, blues and vivid purples to subdued whites, and provide a magnet for bees!
How Does Your Garden Grow?
As you can see, there’s a large range of best plants for honey production. Some hives are in fortunate enough locations to have a natural supply of pollen from such plants. This is especially important during the warmer months. However, you can go one step further to ensure that a combination of the above plants is available. By doing so, you offer the bees a range of different colors and different pollens for the entire season.