Bees need a wide selection of flowers to sustain themselves and have food throughout the year. It is vital for bees to have good access to flowers. Bees collect nectar and pollen from flowers for food, so the more flowers they can find the better.
A great way to help bees is therefore to plant bee-friendly flowers in your garden. A happy bee is a bee that has wide selection of flowers throughout the seasons. Bees need food when they are active, so it is beneficial if they have access to flowers that bloom at different times in the year.
When you buy flowers you have to be really careful that you don’t get plants that have been cultivated with insectides or pesticides. Neonics are harmful for bees. If plants contain neonics then it’s toxic for bees to visit these plants.
To be sure flowers are actually bee-friendly, we recommend buying certified organic flowers. Neonics and many harmful pesticides are banned under organic standards and organic farms have up to 50% more wildlife than conventional farms.
A study found that 70% of plants marked as “pollinator-friendly” from five major plant retailers actually contained neonics. B&Q has recently promised to stop selling plants cultivated with neonics from February 2018. We hope that other retailers will follow suit, so people don’t have to worry about their plants being harmful to bees.
We have created this list of bee-friendly flower seeds that are good for bees (*denotes native to UK):
Alyssum, Annual coreopsis, Annual scabious, Bee sage, Borage, Candytuft, Catmint, Chives, Clover, Comfrey*, Common poppy*, Corn chamomile*, Corn marigold*, Corncockle*, Cornflower*, Dahlias, Deadnettle*, Devil's bit scabious*, Evergreen clematis*, Field Woundwort*, Foxglove*, French marigold, Goldenrod*, Greater knapweed*, Larkspur, Lesser snapdragon*, Lungwort, Meadow clary*, Melissa, Mexican hat, Nasturtium, Round-leaved fluellin*, Rosemary, Sage, Sea holly, Sedum, Spiked speedwell*, Sunflower, Sweet William, Teasel*, Thistle*, Tobacco plant, Viper's bugloss*, Whorled clary*, Wild clary, Winter aconite.
We have highlighted native plants as they are great at interacting with local biosystems and supporting local wildlife and insects.
A lot of plants considered weeds, such as dandelion and clover, are also excellent for bees. But if you want to cut them down, then it’s a good idea to wait until after they have flowered, because his gives the bees a chance to collect the pollen first.