Bee-friendly flowers – plants that bees just love
Discover which flowers attract bees and pollinators
Often people speak also about bee-friendly or melliferous flowers. But what does “melliferous” mean?
Melliferous stems from the Latin words mel (honey) and fer (bearing), forming the English word “melliferous” which means “honey-producing”.
Thus, a melliferous flower is a plant which produces nectar that can be collected by insects and turned into honey.
A lot of plants are melliferous, but only certain plants can be visited by honey bees, because of their body size and shape and the length of their tongue. In the following, we will use the term “bee-friendly” to describe plants that bees can easily access and that provide a good nectar and pollen source.
Do you have a garden? Plant bee-friendly flowers!
Wikipedia provides us with complete list of all plants that are pollinated by honey bees here:
We also prepared a list of flowers that bees particularly like.
Check the table to see if the plants you already have are bee-friendly!
If not, get inspired by the list and plant bee-friendly flowers on your property, garden or balcony, even if you don’t have a bee hive1!
As an example, bee-friendly plants include dandelions, daisies and clover, which are typical meadow flowers2.
The next time you plan to the grass, think about creating a paradise for bees instead!
Or wait, are planning to plant a new tree?
- Hazels (Corylus)
- Maples (Acer)
- Fruit trees, especially apple, plum, and cherry trees (Malusand Prunus)
- Basswood/linden (Tilia)
- Alders (Alnus)
- Redbud (Cerciscanadensis)
- Tulip poplar (Liriodendrontulipifera)
- Tupelo (Nyssasylvatica)
- Black locust (Robiniapseudoacacia)
- Willows (Salix)3
You don’t have a garden? Start with a bee-friendly balcony!
You know already that many flowers are bee-friendly. However, some flowers don’t offer bees nectar or pollen on which they can feed.
Ornamental plants such as geraniums and the like are decorative, but are not balcony flowers for bees.
Fortunately, there are many colourful flowering and equally beautiful alternatives. Some examples are fanflower, nasturtium, verbena, bellflower, rosaceous rose, lion’s mouth or the fragrant lavender.
Marguerites and sunflowers are also suitable for balconies and attract magically bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.
If you like to enjoy colourful flowers on your balcony, you can also sow wild flower mixtures in larger tubs or wide balcony boxes. This flower power makes bees happy, looks good and is usually not too expensive.
Herbal pots are easily accommodated on a balcony, but also on a window ledge. Kitchen herbs such as thyme, mint, basil, coriander, borage, sage, chives and lemon balm not only refine our meals, but are also a great source of food for bees4.
Two rules for bee-friendly plants
Before you buy bee-friendly plants, please read through these two simple rules.
Let’s ensure that your beautiful flowers also provide bees with food!
- Go for flower variety, rather than monotony
It is important to plant different native flowers in order to offer the bees a rich selection of food sources. Many wild bee species specialise in certain plants and fly only to them in search of pollen and nectar: The more variety in the plant offer, the better for the bees!
- Go for plants with different flowering periods
By planting early, medium and late flowering species, bees are fed throughout the year.