Gardens can be a haven for bees and butterflies by planting shrubs and flowers known to be attractive to bees, butterflies and pollinators. Maintaining a natural area with nettles, grasses and wildflowers is good, but not always practical. There are many plants which look good and are attractive to bees and butterflies. If you can plant to provide flowers from very early spring when the first solitary bees emerge to late autumn.
There are a wide range of plants, shrubs and herbs listed below on this page which are attractive to bees, butterflies, and pollinators which are also easy to grow and provide great colour in the garden.
If you want to identify what sort of bee is in your garden, this is a great free guide from Friends of the Earth with good clear descriptions and illustrations.
There are six pages with information about plants and shrubs which are attractive to bees and butterflies.
- How to Help Bumblebees and plants to attract Bumblebees
- 10 Best plants for Bees and Butterflies
- Plants for Butterflies
- Spring Flowering plants attractive to Bees
- Plants for Bees
- Creating a wild flower area
- Plants and shrubs attractive to Birds
There are also plants attractive to bees, and further information on plants attractive to butterflies.
Bees and butterflies seek out nectar, it's all about food.
Butterflies often prefer a large flower head to land on, bees climb into foxgloves but like open flowers as well. Bees see colour differently, and are attracted to blues (and yellow which they see as blue) Most herbs are bee magnets, oregano and chives are often covered with masses of bees and insects.
There are some plants which strongly recommended: the common Buddleja which is known as the butterfly bush but really does get covered in butterflies. Equally attractive is the late summer flowering Sedum which can be planted around the base of the Buddleja to provide a butterfly feast.
Bees cannot get enough of Oregano, Alliums, Foxgloves and Veronicastrum, see the image at the foot of this page and if you look closely you will see the bees dotted on the plant. There are more ideas on plants for bees.