If you already have lavender in your yard, then you might have noticed that when it’s in bloom, it attracts bees like a magnet. That’s because the fragrant plant has both pollen and nectar to feed the bees. Another huge benefit is that it blooms during a midsummer gap when bees are usually the hungriest but have fewer pickings. Because lavender is very productive, you can even cut some blooms to enjoy in a vase indoors and there will still be plenty leftover for a bee-friendly feast. Available on Amazon; $15.99 per plant.
Sunflowers are a showstopper in the garden. With their impressive height and bright blooms, it’s easy to see why gardeners are attracted to them. Bees, on the other hand, are drawn to the smorgasbord of both pollen and nectar found in the plant's small tubular flowers that make up the plant's large centers. Bees enjoy the banquet, and the gardener's reward for sharing the bounty is larger sunflower seeds in greater quantity. Available on Home Depot; $2.49 for one packet of organic seeds.
Related: 10 Foolproof Flowers Anyone Can Grow
This greenish-gray plant lives up to its name, with leaves that are as soft and fuzzy as a lamb’s ear. Not only is lamb’s ear hardy, tolerating a multitude of soil and sun conditions, but it sends up spikes of purple flowers in late spring and early summer that attract bees like crazy. Plant it, and its nectar will attract not only bees, but hummingbirds, as well. Available on Amazon; $15.95 per plant.
Native to North America, black-eyed Susan (also known as rudbeckia) is a cheerful addition to any garden—and a honeybee favorite. Bees are attracted to the bright yellow, brown-centered flowers, and enjoy sucking up the nectar. Coming back year after year, it’s a hardy perennial that you’ll never need to replant. Available on Amazon; $19.35 per plant.
Butterfly bush, as its name implies, attracts butterflies because its large, bright flowers are chock full of nectar. The same thing that makes it popular with butterflies, attracts bees, too. These low-maintenance shrubs flower in late summer and early fall, with fragrant blooms that make beautiful cut flowers. Available on Amazon; $17.99 per plant.
Because they flower early in the season, chives will provide some of the first nectar for bees coming out of their winter dormancy. Chives are a good choice for gardeners because the perennial powerhouse is easy to grow in almost any region and climate. An added bonus? The flavorful herb is great for cooking. Blend some with a dab of butter to top fresh bread and biscuits and you’ll be hooked, just like the bees. Available on Amazon; $4.99 per plant.
The purple coneflower, also known as echinacea, is one of the biggest bee attractors. Drawn to the wildflower for its color, bees forage on both the nectar and the pollen that the plant produces. It blooms for a long period during mid-summer to fall, providing many months of nectar for the bees. Available on Burpee; $15.95 per plant.
Salvia comes in both annual and perennial varieties—either of which will attract bees. With many different types, it's easy to find one that works best for your garden conditions. These flowering plants come in an array of colors, blooming in purple, red, and blue, so there’s bound to be a variety of salvia that you’ll enjoy. Available on Burpee; $12.95 per plant.
Grape hyacinth is one of the most fragrant blooms in the early spring garden, so it’s no wonder that bees come buzzing to these beautiful bulbs. Earning its name from its tight clusters of flowers that resemble grapes, this plant shouldn't be confused with hyacinth, which is a completely different flower. Full of sweet nectar and pollen, bees love grape hyacinth's tiny blue blossoms. Available on Burpee; $9.95 for 15 bulbs.
Sedum, also known as stonecrop, offers a late summer and autumn buffet to bees and butterflies alike. From the low and creeping ground cover Goldmoss, to the long-stalked Autumn Joy, there are more than 500 varieties from which to choose. The hardy and drought-tolerant plants are easy to grow, and easily accessible for bees. Pick whatever your heart desires, because the bees like them all. Available on Burpee; $10.95 per plant.
A Win Win
You provide the flowers for a happy bee habit and in return the buzzin' pollinators give a boost to your garden.
Give the special gardener in your life a little love this holiday season! Go now to see Bob Vila's best gifts for green thumbs.