28 Delightful Flowers That Attract Bees to Your Garden

You might not notice them unless they are buzzing around you, but bees are a vital part of your garden's ecosystem. Bees do the work of pollination, which is required for you to be able to enjoy much of what’s on your breakfast, lunch or dinner plate. That's why planting flowers that attract bees is so crucial because more bees mean the rest of your garden will be happier as well.

In fact, if you don't have an attractive garden to bees, they might head to the neighbor's yard instead. I welcome these fuzzy, buzzing creatures to my garden with open arms. I know that without them, I wouldn’t have a successful harvest. Without them, the world would be in trouble.

If you're wondering what kind of flowers to plant to get these marvelous insects to come to your yard, we have a list of foolproof options below. As an added bonus, many of these flowers also attract other pollinators like butterflies, and can be used in cooking or making medicines, as well.

What attracts bees?

When selecting flowers that attract bees, it helps to know what they are looking for. Bees are attracted to colorful, fragrant flowers. Bright colors and the wafting scent of perfumed flowers tell bees that there’s food nearby.

Plant a garden with flowers that will bloom all season or plant varieties that will flower at different points throughout the season for a continuous feeding supply for these buzzing friends. One flower won’t do it, plant swaths of different types of flowers to appeal to various species of bees.

Bees don’t just need food, though. They also require shelter and water. Don’t forget to provide a spot for bees to hang out in your garden. For an attracting accent to your garden, consider adding a bee or insect hotel. Many bee-friendly flowers will also attract other pollinators.

Perennial Flowers That Attract Bees

Perennial flowers that attract bees are ideal since they return each year and there’s no need to replant them. I’m a fan of low-maintenance options, and since the freezing winters here kill nearly everything, I’m happy to see perennials come back on their own each spring.

1. Bee Balm (Monarda)

This frilly purple-colored flower attracts bees and other pollinators to the garden.

Bloom: Starts blooming in August until they die back in the winter.

Zone: 5-10

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 36-inches

2. Borage (Borago officinalis)

These droopy flowers have a blueish-purple tinge, and they’re even edible. The plant spreads but isn’t an aggressive grower.

Bloom: Almost all year round

Zone: 2-12

Light Requirements: Full sun but tolerates some shade

Height: Up to 24-inches

3. Clover (Trifolium)

Of all the flowers that attract bees, this may be one of their favorites. These little pinkish-white flowers are easy to spot growing among the grass in the fields, and parks around my home and bees LOVE them. If you’ve ever sat down in a lawn where clover is growing, you’ll quickly notice the buzzing bees that are feasting on the button flowers.

Bloom: Summer

Zone: 3+

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 16-inches

4. Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus)

You can eat the stalks of this tall, exotic-looking purple flower, but be sure to leave a few for the hungry bees.

Bloom: Almost all year round

Zone: 6-9

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 6-feet tall

5. Crocus (Crocus)

The first sign that spring has truly arrived, crocuses bloom only for a short period, but are bright little flowers that burst from the ground telling everyone that winter is on its way out.

Bloom: Early spring

Zone: 3-8

Light Requirements: Full sun, partial shade

Height: Low to the ground, they can grow up to 4-inches tall

6. Echinacea (Echinacea)

This easy-to-grow flower that attracts bees has purple-hued blossoms look great cut in a vase and are equally attractive to other garden-friendly insects.

Bloom: Summer to fall

Zone: 3-9

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 36-inches

7. Daisies (Bellis perennis)

Another low-maintenance perennial, daisies multiply but aren’t at all aggressive growers.

Bloom: Summer and fall

Zone: 5-8

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 3 feet tall

8. Peonies (Paeonia)

One of the most gorgeous perennials, in my opinion, the peony is a majestic flower that comes in a host of varieties and colors. Makes a magnificent cut flower and looks incredible as part of a bouquet. It also happens to be an ideal flower to attracts bees. Once established, peonies stick around, providing you with a gorgeous bee-friendly display year after year.

Bloom: Springtime

Zone: 3-8

Light Requirements: Tolerates partial shade but prefers full sun

Height: Depends on variety, some may ground up to 6-feet tall

9. Lavender (Lavandula)

It’s no surprise that the fragrant blooms of lavender flowers attract bees. Lavender is easy to grow and can handle poor quality soil.

Bloom: Summer

Zone: 5-9

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 24-inches tall

10. Lupine (Lupinus)

A tall, thin flower that reaches upwards signaling to bees that there is food available.

Bloom: Late spring to early summer, but may depend on the variety

Zone: 3-7

Light Requirements: Full sun, part shade is fine

Height: Up to 48-inches

11. Liatris (Liatris)

Stalk-like flowers that grow in a variety of hues from white to deep purple. The fuzzy flowers add a beautiful textural element to the garden.

Bloom: Late summer

Zone: 3-8

Light Requirements: Full sun, but some shade is fine

Height: Up to 5 feet tall

12. Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

Ok, it’s technically not a flower (it's a bush), but it might as well be. The blooms on this shrub are so impressive that I half-consider lilac to be a giant flower.

Bloom: Spring through summer

Zone: 3-7

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 15-feet tall

13. Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

This flower has pretty, low-maintenance blooms that attract many garden-friendly insects. Black-eyed Susan flowers prefer fertile soil, but they don’t mind a bit of drought once in a while.

Bloom: Summer and fall

Zone: 3-9

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 3-feet tall

14. Blue Salvia (Salvia farinacea)

There are a variety of salvia plants out there, including what you might know as kitchen sage. Blue salvia is easy to grow and features a vibrant blueish purple display.

Bloom: All summer

Zone: 8-10

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 2 feet tall

15. Sedum (Sedum)

An excellent ground cover option, sedum flowers are low-growing clusters that contain plenty of nectar for hungry bees.

Bloom: Fall

Zone: 3-9

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 2 feet tall

16. Roses (Rosa)

Classic roses are one of the most popular flower types in the world. Gifted to sweethearts and grown as ornamentals in many a garden, there are many varieties and colors available.

Bloom: Bloom time depends on the variety. Some roses offer up a continuous display while others bloom only at certain times during the year.

Zone: Depends on the variety, but there are varieties that grow in zone 3 to 10+

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Depends on the variety

17. Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)

Pretty spiky flowers aren’t only a possible food source for bees, you can eat the buds of this perennial for a pop of licorice flavor. Hyssop belongs to the mint family, but you don’t have to worry about it invading your garden.

Bloom: Summer

Zone: 4-10

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 45-inches

18. Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Russian sage blossoms this is a flower that attracts bees

Russian sage blossoms this is a flower that attracts bees

One of my most beloved garden plants, this silverly purple sage is exceptionally fragrant and extremely hardy. I often cut off stems to add to wildflower bouquets.

Bloom: All summer long, until frost

Zone: 5-10

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 4-feet tall

19. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Perfect for the rain-starved garden, this perennial doubles as a kitchen herb and bee magnet.

Bloom: Winter

Zone: 8+

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 3-feet

20. Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

Joe Pye Weed blossoms in a field this is a plant that attracts bees

Joe Pye Weed blossoms in a field this is a plant that attracts bees

This plant isn't a weed, though it will get larger and larger every year, so make sure you have a big spot to plant it in. Bees love the purple, pink or white flowers.

Bloom: July to September

Zone: 4-9

Light Requirements: Full to part sun

Height: 5-7 feet tall

21. Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis)

A flower that attracts bees snowdrops blossoming in the spring

A flower that attracts bees snowdrops blossoming in the spring

Snowdrops pop their heads out of the snow in the late winter or early spring, right when bees need the food the most. They grow well in partial shade, unlike many flowers, which prefer full sun.

Bloom: Late winter to early spring

Zone: 3-8

Light Requirements: Partial shade

Height: 3-6 inches

22. Cranesbill (Geranium)

Purple cranesbill flowers this is a flower that attracts bees

Purple cranesbill flowers this is a flower that attracts bees

These hardy geraniums have an extremely long blooming season, and they are tough against pest and diseases. There is a variety for any part of your garden, from a sunny spot to a shady place under the trees.

Bloom: Early spring until the winter frost

Zone: 4-10

Light Requirements: Full sun to part shade

Height: Up to 20-inches

Annual Flowers That Attract Bees

While they may not return every year, annual flowers have something going for them in that they tend to bloom much longer than perennials. Because there are many annual flowers that attract bees, there are plenty of options, whether you are looking for a plant that doubles as food or you want to add a little color to a spot in your yard.

23. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

One of my favorite flowers that attract bees. They’re also great used as cut flowers.

Bloom: Summertime

Light Requirements: Full sun, but grows in partial shade

Height: Up to 24-inches tall (but may depend on variety)

24. Zinnias (Zinnia)

Hands down my favorite flower. I was planting this long before I knew bees loved it as much as I do. I love to purchase zinnia seed mixes and see which colors appear in my garden. The flowers grow easily and are perfect for cutting.

Bloom: Summer into fall

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Depends on the variety, but generally up to 12-inches

25. Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)

Of course, this flowering beast of the garden is attractive to bees. It’s the queen of garden flowers. It’s a great source of pollen and nectar and makes an impressive background display among other flowers.

Bloom: Summer and early fall

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 12-feet tall

26. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum)

Pretty, delicate flowers that you can pick for salads. Just don’t snip too many for garnish, leave some for the bees. Available in a variety of colors.

Bloom: Summer and fall

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Up to 16-inches

27. Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus)

My favorite variety of these to plant are the scarlet runner beans. The vibrant red flowers look so gorgeous against the green background of the rest of the plant. Bonus? Runner beans aren’t just pretty. You can eat them, too.

Bloom: Summer and into fall

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: Grows along a vine and requires support, can grow tall, up to 8 feet

28. Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

Bees love this annual flower that’s also used as a cover crop. If you succession-sow this flower variety, you can manage to have a continuous bloom period throughout the summer.

Bloom: Summer

Light Requirements: Full sun

Height: up to 3-feet

Note

Don’t be afraid to plant flowers that attract bees. A family member once asked me worriedly, “aren’t you afraid of getting stung?” Unless disturbed, bees aren’t interested in bothering or harming humans.

Native flowers are ideal plants for bees. Planting non-native species isn’t always a good idea since some plants may become invasive if planted outside of their native habitat. Do your research before planting something in your garden or yard, even if it’s labeled bee-friendly.

Avoid plants purchased from big-box store nurseries as they are often treated with pesticides that are harmful to bees and other pollinators. If you're buying plants from a local nursery, don’t be afraid to ask whether the plants are treated.

Minimize plantings of hybrid varieties. It may come as a surprise, but hybrid plants don’t typically provide the same quality of food for bees as non-hybrids.

The options are endless when it comes to selecting flowers that attract bees. We can't wait to hear how your pollinator garden is looking this season. Tell us if we've missed any of your favorites in the comments below.

Was this article helpful?

Yes No ×

What went wrong?

This article contains incorrect information

This article does not have the information I am looking for

×

How can we improve it?

×

We appreciate your helpul feedback!

Your answer will be used to improve our content. The more feedback you give us, the better our pages can be.

Follow us on social media:

You Might Also Like: