Bees are pollinating machines and if you’re looking to expand your garden, get started, or just enjoy watching nature’s handiwork, then flowers are a must.
But, will just any flower do? Bees are workers and will cross-pollinate just about anything, from trees to weeds, flowers, herbs, and shrubs, but they do have a proclivity for some of nature’s prettiest wildflowers.
So if you want to make some happy bees in your garden the next time summer rolls around, check out these wildflowers that will attract all types of bees you should consider planting:
Clover thrives during the summer and is a breeze to maintain. Not only do bees love clover for its abundance of nectar, but it also grows in a wide variety of colours, helps maintain the greenery in gardens and lawns, and grows in abundance.
It has been associated with luck and good fortune for centuries. As far as pollination is concerned, good fortune is plentiful. Bees love it as a food source and it’s incredibly resilient, needing little water or maintenance.
If you want to add a diversity of plentiful bee food to your lawn and garden, this one is hard to beat. It’s best to plant during the spring and summer months and you can buy all the seeds you need right here.
Self-Heal (Prunella Vulgaris)
Famous for its medicinal and healing properties and since honey is both a powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial, it’s no wonder honey bees flock to Prunella.
They cover the earth with large leaves and emerge with spike-shaped flowers that bloom purple, pink, or white. It’s a great lawn plant that requires daily watering, especially in drier climates.
Indigenous to Europe, and also known as Self-Heal, this wildflower prefers cooler climates and is best when planted in the spring. It has a very pleasant aroma and it’s edible to humans as well, especially in salads. You can buy seeds from Crocus!
Fiddleneck (Phacelia Tanacetifolia)
Largely considered to be one of the most attractive flowers for bees, this is a beautiful, spiky-shaped flower that is best planted in the early spring.
Since it self-seeds, it doesn’t require much in the way of cross-pollination, yet bees love Phacelia Tanacetifolia anyway. Interestingly enough, it’s not an easy flower to find, despite its popularity as a bee attractant and cover-crop that will enrich garden soil.
There aren’t many places to find Fiddleneck, but you can purchase seeds from one of the rare sellers here.
Musk Mallow (Abelmoschus Moschatus)
Musk Mallow is another bee favourite with its plentiful nectar, large purple flowers that fit neatly in the palm of your hand, and their hardy nature. Originated in Europe but has spread all across the United States in almost every environment.
It’s considered an invasive species, so before planting it in your garden, you may want to consider potential zones or enclosures to help you keep it under control.
Best planted in Autumn or early Spring, before the last frost. Seeds are abundant and available to buy here.
Cornflower (Centaurea Cyanus)
These are beautiful flowers that resemble purple, miniature suns. Cornflowers are also a bee favourite because they don’t just produce nectar from their flowers but also tiny nectaries below the flower bud.
Sow seeds in the early fall—in moderate climates—and springtime everywhere else.
A robust and non-invasive plant that bees love for their nectaries and plentiful supply of nectar. Purchase seeds here and help spread a bee-friendly environment in your garden.
Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus Minor)
These create a chain reaction of bee traffic. Its duck foot-shaped petals are too narrow for short-tongue Bumblebees so they puncture the outside of the tube to get at the rich nectar within. Honey bees are soon to follow, taking advantage of the Bumblebee’s work.
Long-Tongued Bumblebees have no problem reaching the nectar so you can expect a variety of bees to show up when the Yellow Rattle blooms between May and September.
Sow the seeds (available to buy here) between August and December but be forewarned, it can choke the life out of the grass, so keep it well away from your lawn.
Corncockle (Agrostemma Githago)
These five-petal flowers are known for their distinct and vivid dotted lines that run along the length of each petal. They grow in fuchsia or white varieties and are very attractive wildflowers to both bees and butterflies.
If you have chickens, keep them well away from Agrostemma as it’s poisonous to them. Corncockle is great for bees, however, and they’ll take full advantage of the plentiful nectar and gorgeous petals.
Buy your seeds here and sow them during late Spring and since it’s a wildflower, it doesn’t need excessively nutritious soil.
Daisies (Bellis Perennis)
Out of all of the wildflowers on this list, these are likely the most familiar. While they do produce some nectar, their abundance of pollen is the primary reason that bees flock to their pretty flowers.
It helps that they grow in so many different colours—yellow, blue, and purple the most appealing to bees. The best time to sow daisy seeds is during the fall and early Spring. They love the sun, so be sure to plant in areas that will get plenty of sunshine.
With their abundance of pollen, daisies are fiercely attractive to bees for the nutrition it provides developing larvae. It’s rich in both protein and fats.
Sea Holly (Eryngium)
This strange and alluring flower looks like something straight out of a Frozen sequel. Tiny, ridged petals bloom from the bottom of a frosty-looking pine cone. Considered a butterfly attractant, Sea Holly is also a magnet for bees.
They enjoy sandy terrain with soil low in density and nourishment. Like most wildflowers, it simply doesn’t need much to survive. It won’t grow in rich soil, so accommodations have to be made if you want to add this to your flower garden.
Plant during the late summer or fall months and look forward to this strange and beautiful plant blooming in the following year. Plants are available to buy here.
A great way to spread a lush variety of colourful wildflowers and cover vacant soil would be using Beebombs or other wildflower seed packs, that include a number of the wildflowers we’ve listed here.
An indispensable reference on the most common wildflowers of Britain is a book released by Bloomsbury Wildlife, Concise Wild Flower Guide. This mini field guide is packed with information, covering size, description, habitat, flowering time on more than 180 wildflower species.