Bees play an important role in our food supply. Nearly all fruits and vegetables rely upon pollinators. Honeybees are just one of the important pollinators. Bumblebees and mason bees are also great pollinators. Bees find nectar in the wild, but gardeners can help, too. By planting flowers to provide nectar for bees, you are helping the farmers growing produce in your area. To make your garden bee-friendly, do not use pesticides or insecticides.
Wildflowers and Weeds
Bees are attracted to the blooms of native wildflowers. Weeds that flower—dandelions, sumac and golden rod—are a food source for bees, too. Maple, sourwood and tulip poplar trees even provide food for honeybees.
Natural habitats are the best for bees, but as these areas are in decline because of the construction of expanding cities, home gardeners supplement the nectar source by growing flowers that attract bees.
Decorative Garden Flowers
Choose flowers that are not hybridized with fancy double blooms. Single-petal flowers, such as daisies and marigolds are good sources of nectar for bees. If you can easily see the center of a flower, it is a top candidate for attracting bees.
Poppies, cosmos, coneflowers, coreopsis, verbena and zinnias are all good examples of easy flowers to grow for bees.
Flowers also grow on some trees and shrubs. Plant flowering trees such as dogwood and redbuds along with shrubs like pieris, lilacs and azaleas for the bees. Cherry, apple and pear trees attract bees while in bloom.
Lavender is a favorite flowering herb for honeybees. Flowering oregano, thyme, rosemary, hyssop and fennel are all good choices. If you don’t have enough room for an herb garden, grow herbs in pots on porches, decks and patios.