Bees are among the most important insects for humans and nature. Without their pollination, the plant world would degrade drastically with corresponding consequences for human life. It is all the more important to provide flowers and shrubs in the garden, on the balcony or in flower boxes that are bee-friendly so that the buzzing flying insects can feed.

Flowers and shrubs from A to E

Nectar and pollen are the bees’ bread. The nectar is used as food for the honey collectors, the pollen is used to feed their brood. Here we list the plants and shrubs that provide a lot of food for bees.

Aster (Aster spec.)

In the fall, the asters produce a fresh source of pollen and nectar for bees. The flowers belong to the late bloomers and unfold their full bloom from August to September. Autumn asters even bloom well into October. Whether the elegant Aster dumosus with white flowers, the bright blue flowering Aster ‘Ingo’ or one of the many other varieties with flowers in orange, red, pink, yellow, violet or two-tone, you can choose the color that best suits your environment. It is suitable as a container plant, but must be protected from frosty temperatures if the variety is considered hardy.

Bartblume Blaubart (Caryopteris x clandonensi)

The perennial, frost-sensitive shrub has a lot of food for bees, which is why it attracts them in abundance. In a sunny spot in the garden, it is particularly suitable for perennial borders and rockeries. Its pollen count is quite high, so allergy sufferers may experience respiratory problems in the immediate vicinity during the flowering period. It flowers from July to August.

Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

If loosestrife is in a bucket on the balcony/terrace or planted in the garden bed, other insects that are valuable for nature will find a very good source of food in addition to bees. The perennial feels most comfortable on moist bank or pond edges as well as in borders. It flowers pink-purple from June to September. As a hardy plant, it can easily spend the winter outdoors. It grows to a height of 120 centimeters.

Borretsch (Borago officinalis)

The cucumber or kukumer herb is particularly popular among hobby gardeners. Bees mainly use their nectar as food. It grows bushy to a height of between 30 centimeters and 50 centimeters and finds a place in herb beds as well as in pots, tubs and balcony boxes. There it blooms from May/June until October in a deep blue. However, it is not hardy and must spend the winter season frost-free in order to appear in new splendor the following year.

Brombeere (Rubus fruticosus)

Fancy some delicious blackberries? From May to August, the blackberry bush is a bee-friendly plant. Here the perennial shrub blooms and offers bees a medium nectar content. A total of over 400 species are available, which flower in different colors. Depending on the species, the shrubs reach a height of between 20 centimeters and 200 centimeters. Small specimens can be cultivated in tubs and spacious flower boxes.

Ivy (Hedera helix)

Ivy is the classic among ground cover and climbing plants. It likes to grow up stone walls, facades or tree trunks in sunny or semi-shady locations. As a ground cover in the garden bed, weeds hardly stand a chance. However, it only flowers when it is eight to ten years old. Then it shows small white flowers and is very bee-friendly. In particular, its flowering period from August to October, sometimes even into November, is very popular with bees.

Flowers and shrubs from H to M

The following plants and shrubs are not much less bee-friendly:

Heidekraut, Besenheide (Calluna vulgaris)

The heather impresses with the different types that are available with a summer or winter flowering period. Calluna vulgaris is a summer heath, but it only flowers in August. The varieties ‘Wintersonne’, ‘Rosalie’ and ‘Rosantha’ bloom early from March to May, the compact Erica spiculifolia ‘Balkanrose’ from May to June and the heather (Erica tetralix) from June to September. Thus, the heather can be used to provide food throughout the bee season.

Himbeere (Rubus idaeus)

The perennial raspberry bush is one of the plants that has an above-average food content for bees. After flowering from May to around mid-August, the first raspberries are ready to be harvested – the last ones can usually be collected by the end of October/beginning of November. The raspberry bush can be cultivated in the garden soil as well as in a sufficiently large tub.

Himmelsleiter (Polemonium Azure)

The plant, also known as the herb, impresses with a strong blue tone of the flowers, which provide bees with nectar and pollen from June to August. It reaches a height of between 25 centimeters and 50 centimeters, so that it can easily find a place in smaller locations, for example on balconies. The perennial is very sensitive to drought and always needs moist soil. It prefers a sunny to semi-shady location.

Klee (Trifolium spec.)

The herbaceous perennial plant can mainly be seen in sunny or partially shaded meadows. With a growth height of between five centimeters and 20 centimetres, it can also be planted in the garden bed and especially in flower boxes. There it fills the area with lots of color from May to September with its butterfly blossoms. Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is even hardy. All clover species have a rather low nectar content during the flowering period. However, this is very rich in sugar and ensures the nutrition of the bees. A relatively large amount of pollen is to be expected.

Ball / honeycomb (Echinops ritro)

This thistle species is also considered a bee-friendly plant. Its growth height is up to two millimetres. Flower color ranges from white to steel blue. It flowers from July to August. Bees are particularly interested in pollen. She can spend the winter in the garden bed. If it is cultivated in a bucket, winter protection or moving to a warmer winter quarters is recommended.

Lilien (Lilium)

Lilies impress with their fascinating flowers and graceful appearance. Countless varieties offer a wide range of colors. They bloom from between June and September. It is said to be adaptable, so it does well in mixed beds and borders. It should be given a sheltered location in the bucket. Depending on the variety, the onion flowers can grow to well over two meters in height. They are conditionally hardy.

Mispel (Mespilus germanica)

The Mespilus germanica is a small, perennial and hardy medlar species, which as a sapling in a tub reaches a maximum height of about three meters. Accordingly, it is only suitable for a partially shaded to sunny location that offers enough space. In return, hobby gardeners and plant lovers will appreciate pretty, white flowers from May to June, beautiful orange-yellow autumn leaves and tasty fruits that can be eaten after the first frost. Planted in the garden, this medlar easily reaches five to seven meters. Other medlar species are also bee-friendly but grow as a tall tree. In the spring, the medlar attracts bees and offers them plenty of food.

Flowers and shrubs from R to W

The following plants and shrubs are not only beautiful to look at. They also supply the small winged insects with nectar and pollen.

Rainfarn-Phazelie (Phacelia tanacetifolia)

With a growth height of between 20 centimeters and 120 centimetres, the annual flower is perfect for planting in boxes and pots. In the garden bed, the bee friend, as it is also called, is very frugal in a sunny spot and fills it with lots of fresh color with its blue-violet flowers, some with white accents. It is bee-friendly during the flowering period from June to October.

Butterflies (Buddleja)

For bees and butterflies, the summer lilac is a true paradise for feeding. It is available in different statures, ranging from a small balcony bonsai to huge garden specimens. The flowering period usually begins at the end of July and ends at the end of September/beginning of October. The flower colors range from purple, blue, pink, red and white.

Sunflowers (Helianthus spec.)

You can hardly conjure up more summer flair in the garden or on terraces and balconies than with summer flowers. They bloom from July to September and are very popular with bees. They can grow up to two meters high and therefore need a location with enough space above them. In borders they filled the surroundings with bright yellow flowers. They are only conditionally hardy, but offer varieties that allow overwintering outdoors.

Note: When it comes to sunflowers, be careful not to get an overly new variety. Modern cultivated forms produce little pollen and nectar and are of little help to the bees.

Sonnenbraut (Helenium autumnale)

With a lot of nectar and pollen, bees are fed up with the sun bride. It flowers from July to September in shades of red, orange and/or yellow. With a growth height of up to 1.50 metres, the perennial, frost-resistant ornamental plant is particularly pretty in borders and adorns any sunny location on terraces or balconies placed in tubs.

Steinklee (Melilotus)

Sweet clover, also known as honey clover, belongs to the subfamily of the legumes (Faboideae) and is considered a very bee-friendly plant. It blooms in summery yellow from May to September. In doing so, it produces slightly less nectar than the previously mentioned most nutritious plants. It often grows wild along roadsides, but is also very chic in the garden and especially in flower boxes in front of windows or on the balcony. Sweet clover has slightly less pollen than the most nectar-rich plants.

Weide (Salix spec.)

The willow has over 300 species, which also have small sizes, so that they can be cultivated in tubs or flower boxes without any problems. The following species, for example, are extremely bee-friendly:

  • Engadine willow `Wehrhahnii` (Salix hastata)
  • Catkin Willow (Salix caprea) – can be kept small when cultivated in a pot/tub
  • Warbler (Salix repens ssp. Argentea)
  • Reticulated Willow (Salix reticulata)
  • Öhrchen-Weide (Salix aurita)
  • Rosemary-Weide (Salix rosmarinifolia)
  • White willow (Salix alba)
  • Wool willow (Salix lanata)
  • Zwergweide (Salix shrub)

Most willow species flower between April and May. They have a lot of nectar and pollen on which the bees can feed themselves. Willows feel most comfortable in the ground, but can also thrive as container plants on balconies and terraces, provided they are in a sunny to partially shaded location.

More bee friendly plants

  • Columbine (Aquilegia spec.) – Bedding and container plant – flowers from May to June
  • Azalea (Rhododendron) – Garden Shrub – Blooms from May to June
  • Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) – Optimal for mixed beds, borders and balconies/patios – blooms July and August
  • Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) – suitable for garden planting and tub/box cultivation – flowers from March to April
  • Dahlia (Dahlia spec.) – bedding and perennial plant – flowers from July to September
  • Fat hen (Sedum telephium) – garden and balcony plant – flowers from June to September
  • Daisies (Bellis perennis) – usually grows wild – blooms from March to May
  • Goldenrod (Solidago) – good for mixed borders – flowers from July to September
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum) – shrub – blooms in May and June
  • Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) – thrives best on the edges of ponds – flowers from April to May
  • Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) – suitable for the garden and balcony – flowers from July to September
  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) – annual herb – flowers from June to July
  • Crocus (Crocus vernus) – suitable for balconies and gardens – blooms in March/April
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – suitable for balconies and gardens – blooms in July/August
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum sectio ruderale) – grows mainly in meadows – flowers from April to June
  • Marguerite (Chrysanthemum macrophyllum) – suitable for balconies and gardens – blooms from June to August
  • Loyal to Male (Lobelia erinus) – also known as Blue Lobelia – flowers from May to September
  • Ice plant (Dorotheanthus) – ideal for rock gardens, suitable as a pot plant and ground cover – flowers in July/August
  • Carnation (Dianthus spec.) – feels good in borders and garden beds – blooms from June to August
  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare) – suitable for the herb bed and the balcony – blooms from July to September
  • Peony (Paeonia) – ideal for garden planting – flowers from May to June
  • Primrose (Primula spec.) – ideal for the garden and balcony – blooms from March to June
  • Rose (Rosa spec.) – perennial shrub – blooms from May to August
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – suitable for the herb bed and the balcony – blooms in May/June
  • Allium (Allium spec.) – ideal for the garden and balcony – blooms from May to August
  • Snowball (Viburnum opulus) – perennial shrub – blooms in May
  • Silk Flower (Asclepias syriaca) – patio, balcony and rock garden plant – flowering period between June and August
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – suitable for balconies, rock gardens and herb beds, flowers from May to October
  • Globeflower (Trollius europaeus) – likes to stand at the edges of ponds – blooms from May to June
  • Meadow knotweed (Polygonum bistorta L.) – grows wild in damp meadows – bee-friendly during the flowering period from May to August

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