Not all plants are friendly to bees, not even those with flowers. Here we give you an overview of which bee-friendly plants you can use to make your garden the perfect bee pasture.
Bee-friendly plants have two main characteristics: They have a high content of nectar and / or pollen or they have a long flowering period. They have unfilled and wide-open flowers so that both nectar and pollen are easily accessible to the bees.
For example, watch out for roses: wild roses each have five openly unfolded petals and thus clearly visible anthers that contain the pollen. Cultivated roses, on the other hand, are usually filled, i.e. the numerous petals are so close together that the bees have no chance of getting to the food inside. It's pretty, but by no means bee-friendly. In hardware stores and nurseries, you should therefore ensure that you only select flowering plants where bees can be seen.
The representatives of the following plant families are particularly important for bees:
- Rose family (Rosaceae)
- Daisy family (Asteraceae)
- Mint family (Lamiaceae)
- Umbelliferae (Apiaceae)
- Legumes (Fabaceae) and their subfamily, the butterflies (Faboideae)
Of course, not all bee-friendly plants are equally suitable for all bees. Many species of bees, especially wild bees, are very specialized in their food sources. Honey bees, on the other hand, can hardly be called picky. With bee-friendly plants you not only support bees, but also other pollinating insects such as bumblebees, hoverflies, beetles and butterflies.
Bee-friendly climbing plants
If you have little space, you can also use climbing plants. Flowering climbing plants are not only very bee-friendly because they provide food for the animals, they also offer them safe shelter and protection. The following are very attractive to bees:
- Alpine clematis
- Broad-leaved pea
- Climbing hydrangea
- Creeping rose
If you want to use climbing plants for greening your house and facade, you can fall back on the classics ivy and wild wine with a clear conscience: They are both valuable and perennial bee pastures.
When creating a flower meadow, care must be taken to use the correct seeds. Many wildflower mixtures only attract honey bees, so regional seed mixtures from local stocks are recommended (www.NABU.de/saatgut). Even those who otherwise only prefer lawns can add splashes of color with flower bulbs in spring and create a food supply (e.g. crocuses, snowdrops, tulips). Wildflower meadows should also only be mowed twice a year after the plants have already run out.
Perennials are perennial flowers - they support bees in the long run. Further advantages of perennials are that they are suitable for both sunny and shady locations and can often be cultivated in a balcony tub or in a bed. In addition, their flowering times vary, so that they can be used to ensure bee-friendly planting throughout the gardening season.
Bee-friendly perennials are:
- Bush mallow
- Forest cranesbill
- High sedum
- Red fancy sun hat
- Lady's slipper
- Purple bells
- The blue nettle
- Globe thistle
Bee-friendly ground cover:
Ground cover does not require much work and is very easy to care for. Some of the flowering species and varieties are also important bee pastures. Phlox, for example, already forms true carpets of flowers in early summer, which attract bees in droves. The thyme is a real magnet for bees in my garden. Since it tolerates drought well, you don't have to care for it at all and it smells wonderful. It also looks beautiful in the pot on the terrace and does not require a lot of maintenance. Bees love thyme. Other recommended ground covers with a good food supply for bees are comfrey, carpet dogwood and carpet bellflower.
Bee-friendly trees and shrubs:
Trees such as trees and bushes are very important for the bees because they have the greatest supply of food. At the same time they are an asset for every garden, are privacy screens, shade providers, flowers and often also fruit suppliers in one. From the point of view of bees, barberry, mountain ash, eccentric hats or the woolly snowball are particularly suitable for near-natural hedge plantings. It doesn't always have to be the boring and not particularly useful cherry laurel.
Bee-friendly trees are of course the fruit trees such as apple, pear, mirabelle or cherry tree. But also large trees such as the linden, chestnut and various types of maple are very popular with bees. Above all, sycamore maple, field maple and norway maple, which already bloom from April to May, are very popular with bees. Other important woody plants for bees are the rock pear, willow, cornel cherry and grape elder.
There is even a tree that is named after the bee, the bees tree, which blooms profusely from summer to autumn. Actually native to China and Korea, beekeepers plant it because it is so popular with bees and provides them generously with food. The bee tree is also called a thousand-flowered bush or honey ash because of its countless flowers.
Berry bushes such as strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are particularly bee-friendly, as are sloes and, of course, wild roses, rose hip roses and the summer blooming apple rose.
Tip: The bee-friendly trees and bushes can also be planted in a bee-friendly way. We recommend Sterndolde, Winterling or Yellow Foxglove. Onion bloomers such as snowdrops, tulips or grape hyacinth also look beautiful under apple trees and the like.
Bee-friendly bulb flowers:
Think about the bees as early as autumn: Bulb flowers provide bees with food at a time when other plants are not yet in bloom. Therefore, they are particularly important suppliers of food. Recommended bee-friendly bulb flowers are:
lily of the valley
A kitchen garden can also be a bee paradise. Many bee-friendly plants can be accommodated in the vegetable patch or in the herb garden, the flowers of which the bees feast on, while we later look forward to the harvest. Legumes such as lentils, peas and beans are popular with bees. Pumpkins such as cucumber, melon, zucchini or pumpkin also attract the insects in large flocks.
Bee-friendly herbs are:
- Lemon balm
- Real sage
- Mountain savory
Other popular plants in the kitchen garden are:
In our bee blog you will find many more tips on how you can support bees with little effort.