Badly treated by the use of pesticides, bees, butterflies, bumblebees, hoverflies and other pollinating insects are sometimes too rare in the garden. Plant flowers that attract them to encourage biodiversity and promote the pollination of your plants.
How to attract bees with plants?
Bees feed mainly on nectar and pollen from flowers and their survival depends largely on the availability of these resources in their environment.
For their food balance, pollinating insects need to forage on a wide variety of floral species. Maintaining and enhancing floral diversity (trees, shrubs, annuals, etc.) is essential for the health of bees and other pollinators. The standardization of landscapes and the artificialization of territories have contributed to a reduction of available resources.
The protection and development of flowered areas, with species attractive to bees, on agricultural land (crops, grassy strips, fallow land), private and public gardens, roadsides, areas managed by communities, industrial and commercial areas, are all responses to improving the living conditions of bees.
11 plants insects will pollinate
This wild herbaceous plant that blooms all summer long forms clumps up to 90 cm high. The cup-shaped, purple or purplish-pink flowers attract beetles, but also butterflies and bees.
Easy to grow, the mallow tolerates all types of soil as long as they are well drained. Very hardy, it embellishes beds, borders or natural meadows and is very well suited to fallow areas which it embellishes with its long-lasting flowers.
A marvel of design, the wisteria is a beautiful climber that can form a solid trunk over time. Very hardy, vigorous and fragrant, it unfurls its delicately drooping clusters of mauve, blue or white flowers, depending on the variety, in spring and sometimes even in summer.
Butterflies and bees love it, as well as bumblebees which take advantage of the early flowering of this splendid plant.
Ideal for trellising a facade or creating an arbor, the wisteria appreciates drained soil with an acidic tendency and full sun.
Over time, rosemary becomes a small shrub that can reach 1.5m in height, which allows it to be used in low hedges, borders, but also in the center of a bed or rock garden. The delicate blue flowers appear as early as February and last for many months, much to the delight of the bumblebees, bombyls and bees that frequent them assiduously.
In the most southern regions, it is not rare that it blooms even in winter, feeding the pollinators still present. Easy to grow, it likes all types of soil, whether alkaline or acid, as long as they are very well drained. Full sun is necessary for its harmonious growth. Note that there is a creeping variety, very interesting to cover large rocks or low walls with brio.
The plants found in Provence are definitely attractive to pollinating insects! We no longer need to introduce lavender, this plant with its aromatic silvery foliage, just like its bluish flower spikes that have made many famous painters happy.
Depending on the species and variety, you can expect to see flowers from April to September that will attract bees and butterflies to your garden. If you want to vary the pleasures and bring a note of originality, think of cultivars with white flowers like ‘Edelweiss’ or with pink flowers like ‘Miss Katherine’.
Lavender thrives in full sun and dry, well-drained soil. It is ideal for beds, flowerbeds, borders or rock gardens, but you can also plant it in the vegetable garden and orchard where it will attract bees.
Agastache blooms from May until frost in large blue or purple erect spikes which bring a beautiful verticality in the beds and flowerbeds.
It appreciates all types of soil as long as they remain cool. In full sun or half-shade, it spreads its vast clumps which can reach 1,5 m height.
Butterflies and bees love it, plant it without restriction, you can also make infusions or use it as a condiment plant in cooking!
If it is known under the vernacular name “bee grass”, it is not for nothing! Meadowsweet offers its creamy-white flowers to pollinating insects from June to September.
It thrives in rich and humid soils, which makes it an ideal subject not far from a pond, or in a humid area. Being able to reach 1 m height, this beautiful plant also has therapeutic properties allowing to relieve the stomac pains, rheumatic, but also to fight against the spasms, the aches or the cramps.
Wild plant, sometimes assimilated to a “weed” in Provence where it grows spontaneously in rocky areas and wastelands, the borage spreads its beautiful gentian blue star-shaped flowers from May to October. Melliferous, it attracts pollinating insects in large numbers, it also offers shelter to many butterflies that come to lay their eggs.
Very vigorous, this annual is never diseased and spontaneously reseeds itself in the ornamental garden as well as in the vegetable garden. It gives a wild touch to flowerbeds or beds and enhances rock gardens. If your soil is rich, fresh and very well drained and your garden is exposed to full sun, it will certainly be at home!
Whether hardy or exotic, annual or perennial, wild or ornamental, the many species and varieties of sage attract pollinating insects to their blue, red, purple or white flowers.
With sage, you can look forward to a long blooming season from spring until the first frost. The low varieties are well suited for borders or beds, while the taller ones always look good in the center of a bed or in a mixed border.
Eupatorium loves cool, heavy, clayey soil and grows well on the banks of a pond or stream. From July to October it has purple stems with feathery pink corymbs that attract butterflies and bees.
This beautiful perennial plant with strong development can reach 2,20 of height for 60 cm of spread and likes as well the full sun as the half-shade in the warmest areas.
Thyme comes in many varieties, some of which have bright variegated foliage and a lemongrass scent. In the vegetable garden, it attracts pollinating insects with its small pale pink flowers from June to September.
Plant it in well-drained soil and in full sun for it to grow well. In the ornamental garden, it will do wonderfully in dry rock gardens or to decorate a mound or even the crevices of a dry stone wall. This aromatic plant is a must in the kitchen but also in your natural pharmacy for its antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
11. Buddleia mint
This hardy species has long oval deciduous leaves, grayish to silvery with a pubescent reverse. It smells like… mint!
We advise you to plant it in a wild corner of the garden near water or a pond. Beware, mint spreads strongly thanks to its trailing rhizomes!
How to attract other pollinating insects?
You have to offer them food and shelter! The shelter is especially for wild bees and bumblebees. There are many species, of varying sizes and not all have the same needs. Some species make their nests on flat surfaces of sandy or earthy soil: leave them a small space with little vegetation in your garden.
Others prefer hollow stems or holes in wood: whether for a garden or a balcony, you can make an insect nesting box with natural materials (wood, bamboo and elder tree stems, straw…).
As far as cover is concerned, you need something for all pollinators! Plant in your garden local melliferous species, rich in pollen and nectar. Don’t hesitate to diversify the species for the pleasure of your eyes and to offer a choice to insects, from spring to fall. Of course, these actions will have little effect if you use insecticides.