Flowers in the garden are of great value to bees (and other insects), but the type of flowers is also important. We list beautiful and useful bee plants.
What are the requirements for good bee plants?
Choose single-flowered plants whenever possible. This is where bees and other nectar-drinking and pollen-consuming animals, such as butterflies, can reach unhindered. Double-flowered plants also often contain nectar and pollen, but bees can reach the precious things less or even not at all. In addition, it is important that the plants are not treated with pesticides, so they preferably come from organic (untreated) cultivation. Otherwise, it can actually harm the bees that come to it. Also remember to spread the flowering periods of the plants. Some bees appear as early as February, and there are still active bees in November. So it’s nice that something blooms in those moments, so there’s always food to be found.
Spring bulbs such as snowdrops and crocus bloom early in the year, allowing early bees to find food even then. The snowball (Viburnum), ornamental cherry (Prunus), mahogany bush (Mahonia japonica) and Christmas rose (Helleborus) also bloom early. See our article on winter flowers for inspiration.
Also read: 11 winter flowers for early flowering in the garden
Purple bee plants
Many plants popular with bees have purple flowers. And it is no coincidence that bees can see the color purple more clearly than flowers of other colors. Knowing this, you can therefore choose beautiful purple flowering plants such as lavender (Lavandula), onion (Allium), butterfly bush (Buddleja), vervain (Verbena bonariensis), aster, thistle (Echinops), cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), bellflowers ( Campanula) and catnip (Nepeta).
Summer flowering plants
A large number of summer flowering plants are very suitable as bee plants. Such as single-flowered roses and Dahlia, lupine (Lupinus), larkspur (Delphinium), hollyhock (Alcea), yarrow (Achillea), licorice plant (Agastache), sunflower (Echinacea), sunflower (Helianthus), long speedwell (Veronica longifolia) and foxglove (Digitalis).
Even at the end of the year, there are still lots of flowers. Like the ivy (Hedera). Provided you don’t prune it late in the year. Autumn anemone (Anemone), black cohosh (Actaea), Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and stonewort (Sedum) are also suitable.
Flowering herbs are a blessing as are bee plants. You can think of sage (Salvia officinalis), wild marjoram (Origanum vulgare), true marjoram or oregano (Oreganum marjorana), thyme (Thymus) and rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus).
Sowing bee plants
There are also many bee plants which are particularly suitable for sowing. The single-flowered marigold, for example, is an excellent food source for bees and all sorts of other insects. Choose flowers that sprout easily and bloom for a long time, such as Phacelia, buckwheat, white mustard, coriander, clover, incarnate clover, marigold, cumin, radish, cornflower, cumin, dill, wild mallow, fennel and borage. Note that the seed is not coated with neonicotinoids. This happens regularly and is very harmful to bees and other insects. In a previous article, we tell you more about sowing flowers for bees and butterflies in the garden.
Native plants are indispensable for the biodiversity of our country. Various garden centers and (specialized) nurseries also offer them for the garden. These types of plants are ideal as they often interact with insects. A further advantage is that they are often well resistant to our climate, with periods of frost in winter and a lot or little water. In a previous article, we listed 11 beautiful and useful options.
(Source: Gardeners World, Kwekerij Bastin, Bijenstichting, Velt, archive. Photos: Shutterstock)