Organic Gardening

12 Pollinator Flowers to Attract Honey Bees to Your Garden

Hello, fellow plant lovers! If you’re anything like me (and since you’ve landed here, you probably are), then you know just how much time and care you take into growing your garden. 

One way of helping it thrive is by planting flowers that are known to attract honey bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to your garden. 

Cornflowers for bees
Cornflowers for bees

Not only does planting pollinator-friendly flowers help everything in your garden grow faster, but it helps support our ecosystem. 

These flowers provide food, shelter, and other resources for honey bees and wildlife. 

Whether you’re planting pretty pink flowers or purple flowering weeds, these are all the best honey-bee-friendly plants I recommended adding to your garden: 

1. Perennial Salvia (Salvia officinalis)

Salvia 2

Perennial salvia is more commonly known as garden sage. These Mediterranean plants often feature green leaves and stems with purple flowers. 

Garden sage is not only beautiful to look at but is often used in cooking dishes. 

If you’re interested in growing your own purple perennials, this plant is easy to grow and maintain with its full sun requirements and drought tolerance.

Here’s what you need to know about taking care of it: 

Botanical Name:  Salvia officinalis
Growth Rate:  1-2’ tall, 2-3’wide
Native Range:  Northern Mediterranean
Hardiness Zones: 4-10
Dangers: Non-toxic to humans, dogs, and cats, however, it can be unsafe if taken in large doses over a large amount of time
Soil Needs:  Moist but well-draining soil
Exposure: Full sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Root rot and wilt
Propagation: Divide cuttings between spring and winter
Fertilizer: While they do not require regular amounts of fertilizer, using aged-compost can help provide it with the nutrients it needs
Pests: Slugs, spider mites, spittle bugs
Blooming Period: Early summer
Pruning: In the spring, cut stems back by half
Water needs: Water once every 1-2 weeks. If top half in of soil is dry, time to water
Salvia Growing Guide Chart

2. Lavender (Lavandula)


Who doesn’t love the sweet aroma of lavender? 

This plant is a great addition to any garden with its purple flowers providing just the right touch of color you’re looking for. 

These plants are easy to maintain, needing only minimal water and full sun exposure. Just keep this one out of the reach of your pets, as it can be toxic to both dogs and cats.

Check out the chart below for some helpful insight: 

Botanical Name:  Lavendula
Growth Rate:  1-2’ tall and 1-2’ wide
Native Range:  Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Europe, Africa, Mediterranean, and India
Hardiness Zones: 5-11
Dangers: Non-toxic to humans although may cause allergic reactions; toxic to dogs, cats, and horses
Soil Needs:  Dry, well-draining soil
Exposure: Full sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Root rot, crown rot, alfalfa mosaic virus, xylella, and shab, bortys
Propagation: Divide cuttings during mid-to-late summer when the plant is actively growing
Fertilizer: Apply a slow-release fertilizer once a year in the spring
Pests: Spittlebugs, whiteflies, aphids, and four-lined plant bug
Blooming Period: Summer
Pruning: In late summer or fall, prune at least one-third of the growth
Water needs: Water once a week until the flowers are harvested; if you’re not sure, wait until the first several inches of soil have dried out.
Lavender Growing Guide Chart

3. Bee balm (Monarda didyma)

Bee balm
Bee balm

This beautiful red flower with a minty fragrance provides a pop of color to any garden it’s added to. 

These plants can often be found along stream banks and moist, wooded areas. They’re non-toxic and easy to maintain. 

It needs its soil watered between 6-8 inches deep every 7-10 days, especially during dry periods.

Here’s what you need to know about taking care of bee balm: 

Botanical Name:  Monarda didyma
Growth Rate:  2-4’ tall and 2-3’ wide
Native Range:  Canada and the northern U.S.
Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Prefers moist, well-draining soil
Exposure: Full sun or partial sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Powdery mildew and Erysiphe
Propagation: Divide cuttings or take seeds in early spring
Fertilizer: Apply a ½ cup of general, slow-release fertilizer in the spring
Pests: Aphids, spider mites, thrips, and whiteflies
Blooming Period: Mid-summer to fall
Pruning: Cut it down to just above the soil in the fall or winter after it has died back.
Water needs: Every 7 to 10 days; soak to a depth of 6 to 8 inches
Bee Balm Growing Guide Chart

4. Joe-pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

Joe pye weed 1
Joe-pye weed

This plant is more ornamental than anything else. Its vanilla-scented pinkish-purple flowers will easily attract honey bees to your garden. 

It’s important to remember to be careful with the care of this one in regard to ongoing care. Not only does it need to be constantly moist, but it can also be toxic to anything that tries to eat it. 

Check out this helpful care guide: 

Botanical Name:  Eutrochium purpureum
Growth Rate:  5-7’ tall and 2-4” wide
Native Range:  Canada and the Eastern U.S.
Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Dangers: Toxic to humans and dogs
Soil Needs:  Moist but well-draining soil
Exposure: Full sun and partial sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Powdery mildew
Propagation: Sow seeds during the autumn season; divide plant in late spring
Fertilizer: Use a slow-release fertilizer if you have poor soil
Pests: None
Blooming Period: August to September
Pruning: In winter, cut foliage back to 4 to 8 inches above the ground
Water needs: Evenly moist soil at all times. Don’t allow it to be dry for more than a few days at a time.

5. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan’s are known for their golden or orange colors with dark brown cones. 

They’re a prairie plant that occupies the eastern United States. With their vibrant colors, they will easily brighten up a summer day when in bloom. Plus, they look like daisies! 

These are easy to grow and will stand out in any garden.

Here’s everything you need to know about taking care of these flowers that look like daisies:

Botanical Name:  Rudbeckia hirta
Growth Rate:  1-3’ tall
Native Range:  Eastern U.S.
Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Dangers: Non-toxic but can cause skin irritation
Soil Needs:  Moist, well-draining soil
Exposure: Full sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Downy mildew, powdery mildew, leaf spots, and stem rot
Propagation: Divide plant in early spring as new growth emerges
Fertilizer: Apply a slow-release fertilizer in the spring
Pests: Leafhoppers, tarnished plant bug, lacebugs, thrips, and cucumber beetles
Blooming Period: Summer
Pruning: Pruning not required, but removing dead leaves and flowers in autumn and early spring will prolong its flowering period
Water needs: Water if the top inch of soil is dry
Black-eyed Susan Growing Guide Chart

6. Borage (Borago officinalis)


Borage is identifiable by its beautiful blue flowers. In fact, this unique-looking flower stands out for its shape and color. It’s also a pretty low-maintenance flower that does well in the summer months, as long as it has access to rich, well-draining soil. 

Eager to plant borage in your garden? Here’s how to take care of it: 

Botanical Name:  Borago officinalis
Growth Rate:  1-3’ tall, 9” – 2’ wide
Native Range:  Mediterranean
Hardiness Zones: 2-11
Dangers: Toxic
Soil Needs:  Well-draining soil
Exposure: Full sun or partial sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Leaf spots, powdery mildew, root rot, and stem rot
Propagation: Sow seeds in late spring
Fertilizer: Fertilizer is not required
Pests: Snails and slugs
Blooming Period: Summer
Pruning: Cut back to half size in the middle of summer to encourage reblooming
Water needs: Water at least every few days; nce mature, allow soil to dry in between waterings.
Borage Growing Guide Chart

7. Sunflower (Helianthus)


Who doesn’t love a classic sunflower? This stunning flower can grow up to 10’ tall and is always a fan favorite among gardeners because of how easy it is to grow and maintain. 

Sunflowers do best when planted in moist, well-draining soil and have access to full sun. In terms of sun exposure, they do best when exposed to at least six hours of full sun per day. 

There’s a reason why sunflowers are one of the most popular flowers available. Here’s everything you need to know about planting these in your garden: 

Botanical Name:  Helianthus
Growth Rate:  3-10’ tall and 1-3’ wide
Native Range:  Dry areas in North America
Hardiness Zones: 2-11
Dangers: Non-toxic, but can cause irritation to the skin
Soil Needs:  Moist, well-draining soil 
Exposure: Full sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Rust, powdery mildew, leaf spots, and downy mildew
Propagation: Use stem cuttings that are 4-6 inches long, remove leaves, and plant in soil to propagate any time that frost is no longer a threat
Fertilizer: Apply a low-nitrogen 6-inches away from the stem in early summer
Pests: Sunflower moth, weevils, stalk girdlers, and thistle caterpillars.
Blooming Period: Late summer to early fall
Pruning: Cut down by half twice a year.
Water needs: Once a week until the top 6 inches of soil are moist
Sunflower Growing Guide Chart

8. Wallflower (Erysimum cheiri)


Wallflowers are the perfect addition to any rock garden. Commonly used as a garden border, they love rich, very well-draining soil. 

A big benefit of planting these orange perennials is that they commonly attract bees and butterflies, which is perfect for pollinating your garden. 

Here’s a helpful guide to taking care of these: 

Botanical Name:  Erysimum cheiri
Growth Rate:  6-30” tall
Native Range:  Southern Europe
Hardiness Zones: 7
Dangers: Toxic if ingested 
Soil Needs:  Extremely well-draining soil 
Exposure: Full sun 
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Not applicable
Propagation: Divide root cuttings in early spring
Fertilizer: Not required or recommended; instead use compost
Pests: Not applicable
Blooming Period: Late spring to early summer
Pruning: Trim the plant in early to late fall 
Water needs: Water when the soil has completely dried out
Wallflower Growing Guide Chart

9. Lenten Rose (Hellebores)

Lenten Rose
Lenten Rose

A Lenton Rose yields some of the prettiest flowers you’ll ever see! The blooms are usually a reddish-purple hue, but they can also be green, white, yellow, and blue. 

The big benefit of planting lenten roses in your garden is that they tolerate different weather conditions, from being in total shade to being exposed to full sun. 

“All parts of hellebores are toxic when ingested, so exercise caution and keep children and pets away…to prevent problems, wear gloves when handling this plant.”

Carolyn Black, a Master Gardener with PennState Extension School

This, along with their blooming period in the winter, makes them incredibly versatile. 

Though it’s incredibly easy to grow and care for, it’s important that you take proper precautions when handling a Lenten Rose. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the Lenten Rose: 

Botanical Name:  Hellebores
Growth Rate:  12” tall and 24” wide
Native Range:  Asia and Europe
Hardiness Zones: 4-5
Dangers: Toxic to both humans and animals; caused skin irritation when touched
Soil Needs:  Rich, organic soil 
Exposure: Full sun and full shade
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Downy mildew, leaf spot, and Black Death
Propagation: Divide plant in the fall before new leaves emerge
Fertilizer: Apply fertilizer once a year, either in the fall before the ground freezes or in the spring after the blooms have died
Pests: Slugs and hellebore aphids
Blooming Period: Late fall – early spring
Pruning: Prune in either late winter or early spring around the time of new growth 
Water needs: Apply 1” of water to plant per week; once plant is established, only water during prolonged dry spells
Lenten Rose Growing Guide Chart

10. Heather (Calluna vulgaris)


The Calluna Vulgaris, which is commonly named Heather, is a gorgeous, tall pinkish-purple plant that brings immediate attention to your garden. 

In fact, they can grow up to 24” tall, making them a total showstopper. 

Even though it can survive being planted in partial shade, your plant will bloom better when exposed to full sun. 

Best of all, this works great as ground cover if you want to add a little personality to your lawn instead of just having grass. 

Be careful of overwatering it, as it can lead to stem rot. Once the roots are established, Heather is very drought-tolerant. 

Here’s a helpful care guide: 

Botanical Name:  Calluna vulgaris
Growth Rate:  24” tall
Native Range:  Morocco, Turkey, and Siberia
Hardiness Zones: 5-7
Dangers: Toxic if ingested
Soil Needs:  Well-draining soil
Exposure: Partial shade and full sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Stem rot
Propagation: Divide cuttings in July or August
Fertilizer: Add compost; if you want to fertilize, use an acidic fertilizer in either late spring or late winter
Pests: Spider mites and scale
Blooming Period: Late summer 
Pruning: Cut back every spring
Water needs: Water 1-2 times a week until roots are established; then the plant becomes drought-tolerant
Heather Growing Guide Chart

11. Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

Zinnia 2

Zinnia adds the perfect pop of color to your garden! Coming in pink, red, and yellow, these flowers don’t really require a ton of maintenance outside of regular pruning. 

It’s recommended that you trim your zinnia in early summer. If possible, try to prune as early in the day as possible to avoid doing so when the sun is at its brightest. 

Also, when it comes to water, be mindful of overwatering. If this gets too much water, it will fall victim to root rot. 

Here’s everything you need to know about these flowers that bloom all summer: 

Botanical Name:  Zinnia elegans
Growth Rate:  Up to 18” tall
Native Range:  Mexico, Central America, and the Southwestern United States
Hardiness Zones: 2-11
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Rich, well-draining soil that has a lot of organic matter
Exposure: Full sun 
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Erysiphe cichoracearum and powdery mildew
Propagation: Divide after your plant has developed at least 8” of stem
Fertilizer: Apply a high phosphorous-based fertilize every month
Pests: Whiteflies, aphids, and spider mites
Blooming Period: Late spring through early fall 
Pruning: Prune during early summer
Water needs: Apply water so soil approx. 8” down is moist
Zinnia Growing Guide Chart

12. Bachelor’s Button (Centaurea cyanus)

Bachelors Button
Bachelor’s Button

Bachelor’s button, also commonly known as cornflower is a bright blue flower that is simply gorgeous to look at! 

Best of all, they’re also relatively easy to care for, only needing pruning when the blossoms start wilting and only needing water when the top layer of soil is dry. 

Be mindful of how much you’re watering this plant, though, because too much can lead to root rot. Here’s an overview of how to care for this eye-catching plant: 

Botanical Name:  Centaurea cyanus
Growth Rate:  1-3’ tall and up to 2’ wide
Native Range:  Central America
Hardiness Zones: 3-8
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Well-draining, sandy soil 
Exposure: Full sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Fungus and downy mildew
Propagation: Divide in early spring before the last frost of the season
Fertilizer: Not required
Pests: Brachycaudus helichrysi and aphids
Blooming Period: Early summer to late fall 
Pruning: Prune anytime the flowers start wilting
Water needs: Water when the top layer of soil is dry 
Bachelor’s Button Growing Guide Chart

Final Thoughts 

All of the plants mentioned here are great at attracting honey bees and other pollinators to your garden, who can help transfer pollen from plant to plant. This helps your whole garden thrive!

With this care guide, you can choose the best pollinator plants and keep them thriving all year round. 

Originally Posted Here

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