Best Bee-Friendly Flowers (Evidence-Based)

Best Bee-Friendly Flowers (Evidence-Based)

Spring is in the air and many gardeners are beginning to think about what to plant.

But beware – many cultivated garden plants have been carefully bred for their colour and flower size not their pollen and nectar loads and the results is that many are sterile and no good for bees.

Echium vulgare (vipers bugloss)
No. 1 – Echium vulgare (vipers bugloss)
Photo courtesy of rosybee

So which garden plants are best for bees? Which flowers produce the most nectar and pollen per square metre over the year?  These are the types of question that rosybee (online plant nursery in Oxfordshire that sells plants for bees) set out to answer and the results were published in the March 2015 edition of the BBKA News.

Borage (Borago officinalis)
No. 2 – Borage (Borago officinalis)

This research ranked garden flowers by taking the average number of bees observed per square meter and multiplying this by the number of weeks the plant was in flower.  Of the 45 flowers tested the research ranked Echium vulgare as the best plant for bees and the next three were Borage, Hyssop and Helenium autumnale.

Helenium autumnale
No. 3 – Helenium autumnale

Below is a snap shot of the results but the full report is well worth a read (link to research).

Best Bee Friendly Flowers
Best Bee-Friendly Flowers (rosybee research)

I think the borage will work best for me (photo further up) and I have tracked some down. It can be used as a herb too.  I’ll take photos with bees on it in due course and encourage neighbours to take cuttings.

Hyssopus officinalis
No. 4 – Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) – Photo courtesy of rosybee

Read More

  • If you live in the UK and want some bee-friendly plants delivered to your door, then the rosybee website and plants are well worth a look.  It is also inspiring to read about their creation of a 6 acre bee haven using sustainable methods – a dream of many beekeepers!
  • Internal page on Bee Friendly Plants & Flowers

Author: Roger

regaining my sanity through beekeeping

3 thoughts on “Best Bee-Friendly Flowers (Evidence-Based)”

  1. Roger, You can easily collect seed from your borage for sowing the following year, or if left undisturbed it will happily self seed. Good luck!

  2. 5000 (how do they count them?) borage seeds planted. I hope they take. Still awaiting a first inspection but have seen both hives flying. Expecting aggression!

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