TOP 10 BEE-FRIENDLY FLOWERS

Posted May 11, 2016
by Hilary

TOP 10 BEE-FRIENDLY FLOWERS

I often tell people that they don’t have to become a beekeeper to help the bees. In fact, the best way to help bees is to plant flowers! In this way, you can help not just honey bees, but our unsung native species as well. So, what flowers are best for bees? Read on to see my top ten list and a few other tips on how to help bees in your garden.

  1. Lemon Queen Sunflowers, Helianthus annuus

TOP 10 BEE-FRIENDLY FLOWERS

Sunflowers are easy to grow and make an audacious addition to the garden. There are many excellent varieties for bees, but if you want the best, go with the Lemon Queen. What makes this sunflower different is its tendency to branch. From one seed, a Lemon Queen can produce as many as twenty flowers!

  1. Cosmos, Cosmos bipinnatus

TOP 10 BEE-FRIENDLY FLOWERS

  1. Cosmos are a favorite of honey bees and natives alike. They thrive in many regions and are among the easiest flowers to grow from seeds. Plus, they are generous re-seeders! 

California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica

TOP 10 BEE-FRIENDLY FLOWERS

I often wonder why I don’t see more of this iconic California state flower in gardens. It is absolutely loved by bees and I frequently see multiple honey bees scuffling inside the blooms. Do us all a favor and plant some! They are a stunning addition to the garden.

  1. Matilija Poppy, Romneya coulteri

TOP 10 BEE-FRIENDLY FLOWERS

I have a special weakness for this flower. It has the largest flower of any poppy and when it blooms, it is an absolute feast for the bees. I have seen as many as twenty honey bees on a single flower. It can be difficult to get established, but once you do, it will really take off and spread well beyond it’s original planting location. Some complain it is invasive, but I think that’s a plus! 

  1. Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale

TOP 10 BEE-FRIENDLY FLOWERS

Despite its dismissal as a weed, Dandelions provide crucial for bees because they are one of the first pollen-rich blooms to emerge in spring. So, you might want to reconsider pulling these when they pop up in your garden. Leave them for the bees!

  1. Borage, Borago officinalis

TOP 10 BEE FRIENDLY FLOWERS

Borage is a prolific plant that will spread handily through your garden to the delight of bees everywhere! It’s also an edible flower that’s great for dressing up salads and cheese plates. Not to mention it’s qualities as a companion plant in the vegetable garden.

  1. African Blue Basil, Ocimum kilimandscharicum × basilicum

TOP 10 BEE-FRIENDLY FLOWERS

An all star of bee-friendly plants. This hearty herb will buzz with bees 365 days out of the year in the Southern California climate. It’s grown easily from cuttings and works great as a stand alone bush or as a border.

Rock Purslane, Calandrinia grandiflora

TOP 10 BEE-FRIENDLY FLOWERS

This low water succulent stuns when in bloom. Tall slender stalks shoot up high from the low collection of rosettes and end with a burst of hot pink. They will bloom almost year-round in mild climates. 

  1. Pride of Madeira, Echium candicans

TOP 10 BEE-FRIENDLY FLOWERS

This large, fast growing shrub explodes with huge (20 inch), purple flower stalks in the spring. If you want to see purple pollen pants on your bees, this plant will deliver.

  1. Catnip/Catmint, Nepeta mussinii; Nepeta grandiflora; Nepeta cataria

TOP 10 BEE-FRIENDLY FLOWERS

Rivaled only by African Blue Basil for drawing the most bees, this will be a popular plant in your garden and will provide some much needed summer blooms. 

A Few More Tips

Bees are creatures of efficiency so, they love large grouping of flowers. Honey bees often forage on just one type of flower per foraging trip. To best support them, plant a large patch of the same kind of flower. If you want to attract native bees, be careful with mulch. Many native species nest in the ground and if your entire garden is mulched, they can’t dig their nests! Another cation you should take is where you source your flowers from. Many nurseries sell starter plants that have been pre-treated with neonicotinoid pesticides. The pesticide most likely responsible for our pollinator collapse. This pesticide is a water soluble systemic. That means it is sucked into the plants vascular system and into its tissues, pollen and nectar. It can also be absorbed by other surrounding plants. It weakens the bees immune system and attacks their neurological system. Remember that bees store pollen and consume it slowly over time so, when they collect poison pollen it takes its toll over time, slowly weakening the hive with small doses poison. One study found this pesticide remained in the plants for up to 25 years. So, when planting for bees it is safest to start from seed. Stay tuned for a more in depth article on this subject.

More Resources

Of course, this list is the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more flowers in the sea! To get started, check out a great new book that’s hot off the press: The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn.

TOP 10 BEE-FRIENDLY FLOWERS

 

This book covers everything you need to know to garden for bees, no matter your locale, and you couldn’t ask for a better team of authors: Kate Frey is an award-winning garden designer, who specializes in sustainable gardens, and Gretchen LeBuhn, a San Francisco State biology professor, is a bonafide bee expert, who has written two other books about pollinators.

What I like about this book is the regionally specific information about growing flowers for bees in the United States, balanced by an approach to gardening that is applicable the world over. The book itself has over 200 pages of easy-to-read information on garden design, plant physiology, and bee-friendly growing practices, with a great index and plenty of illustrative and inspiring photos. It is a perfect addition to any gardener’s reference collection!

Win a Copy!

10 BEST BEE FLOWERS

We’re giving away five copies! To enter, leave a comment on this post about your favorite bee flower right now. Let us know why you like it, whether you’re growing it yourself, seeing it bloom in a neighbor’s yard, or just aspire to plant the seed in the future.

Contest ends on May 15, 2016 at midnight! We will announce the winners on Monday. Contest winners restricted to US and Canada. 

117 Comments

  1. Elisha Bixler

    Hi! I’m in central Florida and I noticed the bees LOVE nasturtiums and rosemary. I love planting nectar and pollen sources for the bees and butterflies:)

    Reply
    • matt gillispie

      Hi, I’m in VA, and we do very well the herb known as Borage, it is medicinal to the bees, has a great late season bloom and is soothing to the eye and garden. Also, is a great herb for humans!

      Reply
    • Vern

      For me in Colorado the bee balm and catmint are covered with bees as soon as they flower. The Bumblebee especially love the bee balm. Love watching them work tirelessly all day long.

      Reply
  2. Resa Pieces

    Cilantro! Its nice to know when it gets too warm for my cilantro and it starts to go to seed it can still make my bees happy.

    Reply
  3. Laura Wiens

    I just planted some cosmo seeds 🙂 I like them cause they bloom later for quiet a while and if the kids pick them it doesnt seem to matter. Planning on putting some Borage and native praire plants in yet to. (manitoba Canada)

    Reply
  4. Suzanne

    Too many to list but one of my all time favorites in my yard is catmint. I’ve had this in my yard for over 5 years and it is a no-fuss plant that I don’t need to think twice about. It comes up every year and is guaranteed to have more bees than I can count on it (hopefully a good many from my hives :). They absolutely LOVE it! In the fall I really like Sedum Autumn Joy. It seems to attract not only a multitude of honey bees but bumble bees as well and it is oh so pretty to look at. Bee balm is a big draw in my garden too!

    Reply
  5. Randy Frazier

    Some plants I have had very good results with and my bees really like is Yellow Sweet Clover (Hubam Clover), wild black berries (very easy to plant & spread, and Chinese Chestnut. I am also experimenting with Sainfoin on a 20 acre plot.

    Reply
    • Swarminator

      Almost forgot to mention American Meadows Honey Bee Feed seed mix which has turned out to be a big attractor of honey bees as well as butter flies.

      Reply
  6. Biota Hung

    I love the lemon queen sunflowers! Yellow is my favorite color and I think it’s remarkable how these flowers will turn to face the sun. Thanks for writing about this topic and doing this giveaway!

    Reply
  7. Robert

    I’m in my third season as a bee keeper, and last year began to notice how green my yard was the majority of the summer. The lady we bought it from was elderly, and her family made it low maintenance for her. I found some wildflower seeds, which included Cosmos. I was unfamiliar with it at the time, but after one season, I’m hooked. It’s a beautiful, tall flower and easy to smell. Based on a successful first planting, I’m taking big sections of my acre yard and turning it into wildflower gardens. I’d love a copy of this book to help with the selection and identification, as well as to share with friends who are interested in doing similar.

    – Robert

    Reply
  8. Richard L. Ballew

    As of yet, I have no favorite Bee flower. I am delighted to see bees on any native flower here where I live. I intend to plant a bee flower garden to benefit my bees and especially any native bees & insects in my area. We love sunflowers, so I’m going to start with the Lemon Queen. Happy Bee flowering everyone!

    Reply
  9. Audrey Sherry Gunshor

    I live in Colorado so unable to grow flowers year round. I do grow poppies, sunflowers and cosmos every year. I especially love cosmos because it is beneficial and small enough to go into my raised vegetable beds.

    Reply
  10. Tami OBrien

    Lavender had my favorite flowers right now. It smells heavenly and since I have it in my yard I can sit and watch the bees for hours.

    Reply
    • Reba

      Can you tell me what is the secret to growing Lavender ? I have tried several times with no luck. I have bee hives and try planting things for them . They love Lavender but I have horrible luck growing it .

      Reply
      • Hilary

        I’m no expert, but lavender likes well-draining soil. That could be the issue?

        Reply
      • Renee P Glenn

        The secret to growing lavender is that you have to be in the right zones, with the right conditions. If you aren’t you won’t have much luck with lavender. It definitely doesn’t do that well in Zone 5 (or colder), does just okay in zone 6. By zone 7 it is much happier. It likes a lot of sun, but not necessarily hot baking sun all day. My healthiest lavender actually grew on a slope where it got about six+ hours of bright sun with dappled shade in the mid-late afternoon when it was the hottest. Not too much water either or it rots. I’ve found it to be finicky.

        Reply
  11. Sara

    Hey! I’m in Nashville and have been fortunate enough to have moth mullein growing wild in my yard. It’s a beautiful, delicate looking flower that I noticed honeybees on last year before I started a hive this year. I thought it was some extremely rare flower, while my husband thought it was just another weed – so he mowed it all down! I started some seedlings of it to plant more throughout the yard, and they are tougher than they look, thankfully. If anyone’s interested in what they look like or getting some seeds, I got mine from here and they’re doing great: http://www.seedaholic.com/verbascum-blattaria-white-blush.html

    Reply
  12. Carrie Council

    We just started beekeeping this spring. I’ve seen some native bees enjoying foxglove. It’s so neat to see them go inside those huge bell flowers!

    Reply
  13. Paula

    Sunflowers and mints are the two groups we have planted this year to help our bees.

    Reply
  14. Molly Johnson

    Ive noticed the bees from my Wyoming garden really love Russian Sage! There is always bees around it! I also plant sunflowers and cosmos! I love watching the bees just do their thing and I love learning what more I cam do that will keep them healthy and happy! Love your Instagram!!

    Reply
    • Trish

      I planted 7 Russian sage plants in my backyard last fall and I can’t wait for them to explode in the years to come.

      Reply
      • Willow

        Russian sage is one of the most popular bee plants I’ve notice (with the bees and people) plus in Utah it blooms until October

        Reply
  15. Randi

    We have recently bought several acres and I am itching to get moved out there and have my own bee flower garden with a hive, my grand mother used to have a lilac bush and it was always covered with bees and butterfly’s so that will be the first thing I plant!

    Reply
    • Hilary

      Randi, you won the contest. I emailed you a few days ago, but did not hear back! Do you still want this book?

      Reply
  16. Katie

    I really like finding bees while walking through fields where there are tons of wild flowers like daisies. There can be so many of them and each one seems to have a bee on it. I just moved to a place with a huge open space field across the street and I hope my new bees can take advantage of the naturally growing species.

    Reply
  17. Laura holtzclaw

    The bees are loving????my lavender!

    Reply
  18. Kate F.

    I’m from Maryland & absolutely love Bee Balm, which is not only bee friendly but also native to my state. It’s pollinator friendly (loved by bees, birds & butterflies), pretty unique looking & can be brewed for tea.

    Reply
  19. Jasmine B

    This year my bees are all over the catmint in my herb garden…last year though, the most sought after flowering plant for my bees was Holy Basil (Tulsi)! Wow was it COVERED in honey bees, native bees and even huge bumblebees! I love having our yard filled with dandelions and white clover too! Great article!

    Reply
  20. Meghan Orman

    My favorite flower is Bidens Alba (“Spanish Needle”). It’s considered a weed, but to me it’s one of the most beautiful flowers and grows abundantly and easily all over Florida (where I’m located). I think it’s beautiful in its own right (the large yellow, pollen filled centers are amazing!), but also as a consistent source of food for honey bees, native bees, and all of our local pollinators. I allow it to grow and spread all over my yard, and see it everywhere around me in our neighborhoods too.

    Reply
    • Helen Hickey

      All of these “plants” mentioned are indeed helpful to bees, but we have learned that, for the honeybee, it is ALL about REWARD keeping in mind their SHORT TONGUE. So TREES and large SHRUBS provide so much MORE nectar per square foot for honeybees.. We have 8 Golden Raintrees on one acre that bloom in August and September (“Pink Pod”) when it is a desert out there for the bees! Also added later( after sprouting seeds)are the May-June Golden Raintree and one blooms in JULY already. That is 5 MONTHS of nectar covered by only GRT’s for Zone 7 Oklahoma, I include a secession of flowering plants for ALL the pollinators, and hummers also go to the GRT’s. Also valuable are my winter and Bush Honeysuckles, Japanese Sophora, Soapberry, Black Locust, Persimmon, blackberries/raspberries, and of course all flowering HERBS and MINTS are highly valued for medicinal value by
      our bees. Think about the WHOLE growing season in your plantings and always add white dutch clover to your grassy areas. Love your website! No chemicals used around our acreages and (right now)21 hives!. Helen Hickey Sustainable Okie Beekeeper

      Reply
    • Miss Domo

      Lilacs! Them and the dandelions are the most prevalent flowers that I’ve seen blooming around Wyoming in-between storms. I’m only growing the dandelions at this point, but we did plant some mixes of native wildflowers we got as a gift from a wedding so we look forward to those coming up!!!

      Reply
  21. bridget sorenson

    My favorite bee flowers in my garden are russian sage and zinnias. The little bee gals are all over them! I am also trying to get a lavender garden started this year hoping my bees and their honey take on their flavor!

    Reply
  22. Ginny

    Lavendar and rock purslane! I have both in my yard. I’m in San Diego and I would love to take one of your classes soon. I’m at Wild Willow farm on Saturdays doing their small- scale farming program. Beekeeping is next on my agenda. I’m really enjoying learning and I’m very thankful to have these resources near by!

    Reply
  23. the blonde gardener

    I’m in NW Arkansas and right now my bees are in my fields of clover, wild blackberries, and our native geranium (Geranium sanguineum)

    Reply
  24. Jena C.

    I would have to say clover! I know they are nothing striking to look at, but I love watching the bees work them!

    Reply
  25. Chris Vanderhoof

    I let some Mizuna go to flower and it’s the star of the show at the moment. Also the Black Locust tree blossoms!

    Reply
  26. Michael

    Ageratum’s the ticket! We’re growing it for the first time this year, and are eager to see the blooms and watch how the bees feast!

    Reply
  27. Ruth Meredith

    Here in Hampton Roads area of Virginia, I like to plant Mountain Mint, Pycnanthemum muticum for my bees and butterflies.

    Reply
  28. Trudy S.

    I think my bee-friendly flower other than the ones mentioned above would be thyme. My thyme plants are covered with the honeybees while in bloom. Sometimes it appears the plant is moving due to the amount of bees on them

    Reply
  29. Blair Pierce

    I am from Connecticut and this year I am starting a zucchini/squash//gourd garden for my bees. I will be starting with zucchini and ending with Pumpkins, gourds and winter squash.
    I just love that these flowers provide a great source of food for both the bees and for me. Not only do they produce a yellow flower that the bees seem to love, but the flowers can also be eaten by people, and are delicious!

    Reply
  30. carlamcgov

    I love Cosmos, they reseed and the bees seem to love them. We have small yellow gold cosmos all over our vegetable garden… ????????

    Reply
    • Hilary

      Hi, you won! I need your address. Did you get my email?

      Reply
  31. Tom Hough

    Newbie in NE OK. I’m trying sainfoin in bare spots around the area.

    Reply
  32. Trent pettit

    I like bluebonnet because it grows well in the caliche that limits productive varietals. It’s pretty too.

    Reply
  33. Lisa Thériault

    I love dandelions! And Coneflower and Black Eyed Susan’s, even though they didn’t make the list. We had them plant hundreds of them where we married lol!

    Reply
  34. Wendi

    My husband and I recently got our first two hives. We are planting Poppies for them. I love the way they look and noticed the bees like them too.
    p.s. Love your Instagram!

    Reply
  35. Andrew

    My favorite is just letting my basil flower. The bees go crazy for it!

    Reply
  36. Emily C.

    In rural San Diego, Rosemary is hardy and I always see many bees buzzing around it.

    Reply
  37. flyinghorse@wildblue.net

    My favorites are purple sage and various varieties of lavender, both are fragrant, have low water requirements and long lasting blooms here in San Diego’s east county. Mine plants are filled with native bees and Italian honey bees from my hive.

    Reply
  38. Darlene

    My yard is full of Little John bottlebrush that is always covered with bees!

    Reply
  39. Ginny

    I’m a beekeeper in East Tennessee, which is Zone 7A-7B. Incorporating native plants that will benefit not only honey bees but other pollinators as well, is a must in my opinion. However, If there is a particular flower that isn’t hardy in our zone, yet will provide pollen or nectar during the Spring and Summer, I will grow them in containers and bring them in during the Winter. Honey bees love Coreopsis, Joe-pye weed, Hyssop and Echinacea, to name a few. Honeysuckle and Privet are blooming at the moment, and they have been going nuts.

    Reply
  40. Trish

    I have catmint and salvia in my front and side yard. I LOVE them for their long blooming times, beautiful purples and pinks, and the smell is marvelous. My bees seem pretty crazy about them too (and the rabbits aren’t which is a perk).

    Reply
  41. Nikki Norman

    My favorite is sunflower! So pretty and the bees love it. We have some planted for them.

    Reply
  42. Sarah

    I’m such a fan of sunflowers! I planted a giant patch of them in my side yard this year… hoping to draw in more bees. So beautiful!

    Reply
  43. Christine Brown

    Hi – I have 4 big bushes of African Blue Basil that the bees really love. It is easy to grow. I also have rosemary flowers and lavender that is often buzzing with bees all year round. If I win this book, I’m going to give it to the SD Beekeepers library to loan to all its members.
    Good Job Hillary… Love your writeups. Thank you for doing it for the bees,
    Christine Brown
    San Diego

    Reply
  44. Lin

    Great article and great pictures! I love bee balm! I grow three different kinds in my garden and have one kind blooming in my Weaverville NC garden right now. I always get lots of bees on this unusual-looking plant. Also have a coneflower area with native coneflowers and hybrids so I have lots of colors. Bees like this area too!

    Reply
  45. Gwendolyn W

    My favorite right now is borage. I love it because I can basically ignore it, and the edible flowers. My kids love wandering over and eating some right by the bush!

    Reply
  46. Jefferson Svengsouk

    Here in Rochester, NY, there are lots of dandelions around. They’re my favorite bee flower because they grow themselves, they come up fairly early are grow prolifically, they bloom in our yard, the neighbor’s yard, and everyone’s yard. No future seed planting is necessary.

    Reply
  47. Nicole

    It seems like the bees really love zinnias! I always grow tons of them in the summer.

    Reply
  48. Amy

    I just noticed my bees enjoying my orange blossom bush! I wasn’t sure if they were going to go after it but sure enough, loving it!

    Reply
  49. crystal

    I am an herbalist, keep bees and love growing my own herbs! Tulsi is great, calendula, cosmos, catnip, elder and i am a friend of the dandelion the list goes on! I would love to plant some medicinal trees and the first on the list is linden this tree buzzes when in bloom! thanks

    Reply
  50. Carol Wehr

    I like our Sweet Autumn Clematis. It blooms late and the bees cover it. We also have a weed type plant Jerusalem Artichoke that blooms in fall. The bees love it.

    Reply
    • Artur

      Do bees gather the honey from Jerusalem Artichokes?

      Reply
      • Hilary

        Bees love artichoke flowers. I am not sure if they collect pollen as well as nectar or just pollen.

        Reply
  51. Kirsty Skilbeck

    Abelia and Hebe were long flowering well visited favourites in my garden this year and dahlias, catmint, salvias, cornflowers and poppies also did well.

    Reply
  52. Liz Weaver

    What a great book! I can’t wait to read it! Lately I’ve been seeing the bees in our citrus and our recently over-seeded clover lawn.

    Reply
  53. Peter Fisher

    I love watching them buzzing in our raspberry patch. I could watch them for hours.

    Reply
  54. Kim

    They seemed to love the blooms on my blackberry bushes. Now I have sunflowers coming up!

    Reply
  55. Jess

    Borage, calendula, poppies, sunflowers.. so many things have been and will be planted in my garden this year. I live in western colorado, so the bees really like the russian sage and flowering cacti in my front yard, especially at this time of year. They are also enjoying my flowering collard greens.

    Reply
  56. John Clements

    Hi Hilary, I give your name out all the time to my garden and landscape clients…not that that should have any bearing on my being chosen to win a book (big wink). I plant lots of African blue basil, especially among trees in fruit orchards. I have charted dramatically increased yields of all types of fruit after the inclusion of an A.B.B. for every two trees. I find it to be the single best plant for boosting the presence of pollinators. It is also just a really pretty little plant.

    Reply
  57. Jarrod

    African Blue Basil has been my favorite up until about three weeks ago. We received two transplants from a close friend and they grew really well. The bees have had been on them from mid morning to sunset year-round. You step out into our backyard garden and you just hear the buzz. It is amazing, there is always flowers on these basils. However, three weeks ago, our Iceland Poppies started to bloomed and the bees have shifted their focus to these flowers. I have caught up to four bees on one flower as if it were candy and they were tricker-or-treating! I even watched one bee help push off the flower bud’s cover so he could get the flower to open. Thanks!

    Reply
  58. dfsquilts

    I grow all those flowers in East San Diego and many more! Most of them are blooming now. The bees also like red apple and pink rosea ice plant. My son is also a bee keeper.

    Reply
  59. lauriegore

    My current favorite is African Blue Basil because it smells so lovely.

    Reply
  60. Nancy

    Flowering right now? Well, I’m in northern NY and we’re just barely starting appleblossoms, so the main bee-plants are still dandelions and coltsfoot. Some flowering trees like sugar maples are still providing nectar.

    Reply
  61. David Williams

    The Catalpa tree is not a reliable source of nectar, but when the elements and timing are just right it makes a magnificent show of white blossoms. It will be buzzing with honey bees and other pollinators.

    Reply
  62. Hollie Parker

    I’m a new beekpeeper, and just got my first bees one week ago. I love learning about all things bee related, these comments are so awesome to read! My fav bee flower is a sunflower, so cheerful in the Midwest after our long winters. Thanks for all of your great information and posts!

    Reply
  63. Tenbears

    I like dandelions,! Aside from being the first major splash of color contrast on my Pennsylvania farm. they are a multifaceted plant, The pollen and nectar are extremely important to my bees, their emergence indicates a renewal when all things will be bringing forth their bounty, a time of plenty for the girls. The tender young leaver of the dandelion add a flavorful zest to my salads. And their blossoms make a delightful white wine that adds so much to a plate of honey crusted salmon. Yes, I think the dandelion is natures best all around blossom. and they are free!

    Reply
  64. Carol C.

    Third year beekeeper, lifelong gardener! Planting fields of buckwheat and sunflowers for the bees. Love dandelions and clovers for the pollinators. And in the garden poppies, cosmos, soybeans, borage, etc. I become mesmerized by watching the bees gather pollen off the corn stalks. Encourage all native flowering plants.

    Reply
  65. Brianne

    I love the mints for bees and can see that the bees love them, too!

    Reply
  66. Tammy

    My favorite bee plant is Rocky Mountain Bee Plant. It is an annual that showed up about 15 years ago on our place. It is very easy to grow (I ignore it), pest-free, reseeds itself, long flowering time, the bees go nuts over it and birds eat the seed (especially doves and goldfinches). Also it is a large plant and native to the state (WY)

    Reply
  67. Liz Shopes

    I’m from San Diego and definitely interested in getting more butterflies and bees in my yard. Right now, I do have quite a few bees happily buzzing in my Pride of Madera and rosemary.

    Reply
  68. Kelsi

    Hi Hilary! This was a great post, I’ve got to get planting! I’m so happy that bees like catnip, I want to plant that for the bees, and my kitties will like it too:-)

    Reply
  69. Amy Caterina

    Bees love the lavender in my front yard! I am getting ready to re-do my backyard into a food producing garden and will be sure to plant a lot of flowers to attract the bees and give me joy!

    Reply
  70. Judi Tentor

    Bees in my yard are loving the rosemary, thyme, and nasturtium which are all super easy to grow. We have been growing different kinds of sunflowers and bees and birds love them.

    Reply
  71. Sarah

    This is our first year of beekeeping and it was so exciting to bring the bees home and watch them enjoy the field of dandelions. My husband also loves these flowers because I tell him not to mow the yard!

    Reply
  72. Mariah Kimble

    My favorite bee friendly flower4 at the moment are coneflowers. I also have a herb garden that I now allow to flower

    Reply
  73. Michelle

    I’m a newbie to gardening, trying to make containers work on my urban cement patio to grow a bee garden! Cosmos are my favorite so far- super easy to grow from seed and maintain in my San Diego environment (the less water used the better!) always looking for help on this new venture, love what you’re doing with the blog.

    Reply
  74. Susan

    I love the yellow crownbeard that blooms in the fall. The bees love it and I get lots of great pictures of them loaded with pollen!

    Reply
  75. Chris Crawford

    My favorite flowers to watch the bees are the allsym and petunias. I also love to watch them cluster on the pepper flowers and orange trees blossoms. Thank you for the flower info I didn’t know they might be poisoned.

    Reply
  76. David

    Based in Riverside, just up the road from San Diego. I have several flowers I like for bee flowers, probably thyme is my favourite but having lots of Brazilian pepper trees comes into its own in late summer

    Reply
    • Hilary

      David, you won the contest. I emailed you a few days ago, but did not hear back! Do you still want this book?

      Reply
  77. Kristy Engelke

    Thrilled to learn that they love catnip. This will be in the future to plant so both bees and my cats will be content!

    Reply
  78. Kathy G.

    My favorite bee flower is lavender. I love to watch the bees when it’s blooming!

    Reply
  79. Shelbi Bell

    I’m a new beekeeper in the beautiful Columbia river gorge in WA. Last year I planted crocuses and all the local bees, along with my honeybees, went nuts over them. They are also really enjoying the Allium that is in bloom right now. I can’t wait to find out what else they love over the summer.

    Reply
  80. Vickie Smith

    Hi my name is Vickie and I’m from Colorado Springs, CO. I just started two hives. One from a swarm and the other I ordered. Both are doing very well. My favorite bee flower is the Danelion because right now they are everywhere.

    Reply
  81. Ally

    I really love butterfly bushes! The bees always seemed to like those at home (:

    Reply
  82. Emily Haarer

    I love sunflowers and am growing many other Forbes on my ground that just went into crp for prairie grass! Looking forward to beekeeping!

    Reply
  83. MICHELLE SYLVESTER

    I just stumbled across your blog and have found purple basil to be the absolute best pollinator in my yard! Curious to know where the hive is… hopefully not under me house. 🙂

    Reply
  84. Bill Fosdick

    Here on Vancouver Island, the maple and chestnut trees offer an early bonus for the honeybees . In the yard, I still like the different varieties of lavender.

    Reply
  85. Casey

    My all time favorite is night blooming jasmine. When I was young a had a big bush in my back yard mostly visited by a feral hive that lived in a hollow eucalyptus tree near by. the bush seemed to really enjoy the bees and I’m sure the honey was divine as the scent of the flowers causes a fantastic euphoria.

    White sage (salvia apiana) and bottle brush tree as well.

    Reply
  86. Javier

    I am living in Spain and I plant in my garden friendly flowers as : Thyme, Rosemary, lavender and I buy local honey in http://www.aceitecsb.es

    Reply
  87. Rhonda

    I am interested in beekeeping in Canada. I have noticed my nasturtiums attract bees.

    Reply
  88. Cezar

    Very nice Article 🙂 Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  89. Sarah K

    Hi. I’m not beekeeper and live in San Babriel Vally, California. Right next to my house, the neighbor has a big tree that bees swarm in certain seasons. I don’t know the name. And I have just changed the front and back ground cover to Kurapia from regular lawn. I have herb garden in the back. The landscaper told me that bees are busy over blooming Kurapia in the clients house from last year.

    My concern is that I have a pest control guy come regularly. My flowerbeds are around house and garage. The guy spray them as well as along the fence. He used to spray around the lawn. I bet the spray kills bees, too. Do you have s specific chemical to switch to or, company knowledgeable about these thing? Or do I need to stop the service all together?

    Reply
    • Hilary

      Are you in San Diego?

      Reply
      • Sarah K

        No. Close to Los Angeles.

        Reply
        • Hilary

          I would find out what they spray and look for companies that do organic pest control or just stop the service.

          Reply
  90. Becky Schrader

    I love Cosmos and sunflowers and know nothing about bees! I just got s job st a Bee Supply Conpany and am excited to learn and share the love of beekeeping. This book would be a wonderful tool for me foncevi love flowers, gardens g and have this wonderful opportunity to make a difference in saving the bees and sharing the importance of a Bee garden! Thand you for making g this available! Becky

    Reply
  91. Erin

    The California Poppy is my favorite because I grew up there and it reminds me of my Mom. I bought her a collection of seeds beloved by bees for her garden for Mother’s Day and your website was such a help- thank you! I am hoping I will be able to include a copy of your book as an after Mother’s Day surprise. 🙂

    Reply
  92. Robyn

    Please fix this link. Thank you.

    WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE MY YARD MORE BEE FRIENDLY?
    Even if you decide hosting a hive is not right for you, you can still help the bees by making your yard a source of food and water for the bees. Try making a bee drinking fountain! Just take a simple pet waterer and fill the bowl with rocks or pebbles so that the bees have a safe place to land. You can also help the bees by planting bee friendly plants. We recommend you plant a variety of natives that bloom at different times of year.

    Click here to see a list of bee-friendly natives for Southern California categorized by their bloom time!

    Reply
  93. Julius C Neal jr

    My yard is full of rhododendron bushes, and I’ve read that it’s not good for bees. What’s your thoughts on this flower?

    Reply
    • Hilary

      It’s fine for bees, but if there was honey made predominantly from this flower it would be poisonous to humans.

      Reply
  94. Nick Yates

    Wingstem. Old school bee flower. Orifices plenty of nectar. Pretty as well.

    Reply
  95. Gordon Byom

    New reader here. Thanks Hilary.

    Just wanted to share a couple of my favorite bee-friendly flowers which grow great in San Diego with little/no care.

    Geranium maderense (Cranesbill Geranium) — Great for part or full shade locations, very drought tolerant and requires no care whatsoever. Grows to about 4′ wide and 2′ tall with a pink/purple flower spike in its second year of growth which can reach 5′. Leaves reach almost 1′ across and are very fernlike and a rich green. Granted, you have to wait 2 years for your first bloom but it’s worth the wait and the plant is a vigorous reseeder and soon you will have a number of them in different stages of growth so there are flowers every summer. And best of all, the bees go crazy for it.

    Chrysanthemum paludosum (Paludosum Daisy or Creeping Daisy) — An annual daisy which reaches 10″ tall and wide. Reseeds profusely with new season’s plants sprouting in December or January. Thin them out or you’ll have a mess. They transplant readily. These are great for bees but also attract LOTS of other beneficial insects (hover flies and micro-wasps which eat or parasitize aphids and whitefly). I’ve been interspersing them with my vegetables and they have been very effective at controlling aphids, whitefly and mealybug which otherwise were devastating my garden. With adequate water and deadheading they will last well into the summer.

    Reply
  96. panda6971

    Bee balm! It grows like wildfire and has TONS of flowers that the bees just LOVE! The other one I’ve grown that they love is borage. So worth it! It comes back year after year.

    Reply
  97. susie rivadeneyra

    I love african basil, I start all my personal plants from seed. I took part in with my community garden in San francisco State bee study. from that point i was hooked. I work as a professional gardener and focus on building environments. I would love a copy of the book. I recently moved to Wilmington north carolina and could use some help figuring out pollinators. Susie

    Reply
  98. Dan Ianneo

    I have many plantings for pollinators, one of the best seems to be my Oregano in my herb garden, being Italian it is an essential plant to have growing , also my Goodwins Creek Lavender blooms year round and has bees even in the worst days of winter ! I live in Paso Robles on the central coast of California and have been trying to do all I can for pollinators !

    Reply

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  2. The 30 Clean – The Raw Truth (about Honey) - […] If you’re feeling really adventuresome, start your own organic garden or become bee friendly by planting bee friendly flowers…

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My name is Hilary Kearney. I’m the author of the book, “Queenspotting” and founder of the urban beekeeping business Girl Next Door Honey in San Diego, California. I’m an artist turned beekeeper on a mission to help new beekeepers succeed and educate the public about the magic of bees!

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