To help bees and other pollinator insects you should provide a range of plants that will offer a succession of flowers, and thus pollen and nectar, through the whole growing season. Even a small area planted with the right flowers will be beneficial, because each patch will add to the mosaic of habitat available to bees and other pollinators. Among the things that you should consider:
- Use local native plants. Research suggests native plants are four times more attractive to native bees than exotic flowers. In gardens, heirloom varieties of herbs and perennials can also provide good foraging.
- Choose several colors of flowers. Flower colors that particularly attract bees are blue, purple, violet, white and yellow.
- Plant flowers in clumps. Flowers clustered into clump of one species will attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered through the habitat patch. Where space allows, make the clumps four feet or more in diameter.
- Include flowers of different shapes. Bees are all different sizes, have different tongue lengths, and will feed on different shaped flowers. Consequently, providing a range of flower shapes means more bees can benefit.
- Have a diversity of plants flowering all season. By having several plant species flowering at once, and a sequence of plants flowering through spring, summer and fall, you can support a range of bees species that fly at different times of the season.
Below is a link to bee friendly Garden Plants for Honeybees–based on Garden Plants for Honey Bees by Peter Lindtner and personal observations by Anne Schatz. These files can be downloaded to your computer for your personal use:
From the Royal Horticultural Society:
Other useful sites: