10 Best Flowers for Bees

Bees are vital pollinators, and by planting bee-friendly flowers in your garden, you can provide these industrious insects with the nectar and pollen they need to thrive.

Through trial and error and a bit of research, I’ve compiled a list of plants that are not only a treat for the eyes but also a good food source for bees. 

The 10 flower plants on this list are some of the best you can plant to attract and support bees in your garden.

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Choosing the Right Flowers for Bees

Understanding Bee Preferences

Bees are particularly attracted to flowers that provide abundant nectar and pollen, which are crucial for their survival. 

They tend to prefer flowers with bright and vibrant colors, especially purple, as these can be seen more clearly. 

Native plants are often more beneficial than non-natives because they have co-evolved with local bees.

bee friendly garden

Selecting Plants by Flowering Season

It’s important to include a variety of plants that bloom at different times to ensure the bees have a consistent food source. 

I aim for a mix of annuals and perennials to cover all seasons, especially during the summer months when bees are most active.

bee on a pink flower


1. Purple Coneflower

Botanical name: Echinacea purpurea
Bloom time: Summer to early fall
Sun: Full sun to light shade

This drought-tolerant perennial is a bee magnet, with its large purple flowers providing nectar throughout the summer.

easy perennial flowers

2. Sunflower

Botanical name: Helianthus spp.
Bloom time: Summer to fall
Sun: Full sun

Sunflowers are not just beautiful; they’re fantastic for bees, offering both pollen and nectar. They’re easy to grow and do best in a full sun position.

full sun annual

3. Black-eyed Susan

Botanical name: Rudbeckia hirta
Bloom time: Summer to fall
Sun: Full sun to light shade

With bright yellow petals and a dark center, these native perennials are excellent for attracting bees.

Yellow perennial flowers

4. Goldenrod

Botanical name: Solidago spp.
Bloom time: Late summer to fall
Sun: Full sun to light shade

Goldenrod is an excellent late-season food source for bees.

With their abundance of tiny, pollen-rich florets, goldenrod plants provide a critical energy boost for bees as they prepare for the approaching winter.

golden rod flower

5. Lavender

Botanical name: Lavandula spp.
Bloom time: Late spring to early summer
Sun: Full sun

Lavender plants are highly sought after by bees for their fragrant, nectar-rich flowers, which provide a bountiful food source. 

The long blooming period of lavender, coupled with its alluring scent, makes it a favorite among bees and ensures a steady supply of nectar throughout the growing season.

herbs with flowers

6. Catmint

Botanical name: Nepeta spp.
Bloom time: Spring to fall
Sun: Full sun to light shade

Bees adore the tubular-shaped flowers of catmint and it’s a hardy perennial that’s easy to grow and care for.

bee on a catmint flower

7. Beebalm

Botanical name: Monarda spp.
Bloom time: Summer
Sun: Full sun to light shade

The vibrant colors and distinctive shape of beebalm flowers are irresistible to bees. This perennial also offers medicinal properties.

bee on beebalm flower

8. Joe Pye Weed

Botanical name: Eutrochium purpureum
Bloom time: Late summer to fall
Sun: Full sun to light shade

A native plant with large, purple flower clusters that bees find particularly attractive, Joe Pye Weed thrives in moist conditions.

joe pye weed

9. Borage

Botanical name: Borago officinalis
Bloom time: Summer
Sun: Full sun

Borage produces edible flowers that bees cannot resist. This annual replenishes itself by reseeding each year.


10. Chive Flowers

Botanical name: Allium schoenoprasum
Bloom time: Spring to early summer
Sun: Full sun to light shade

The purple, pom-pom-shaped flowers of chives are not only a favorite of bees but also add a subtle onion flavor to dishes. It’s a perennial that returns each year with minimal care.

chive flowers


So there are 10 of the best flowers to plant in your garden to enhance the well-being of our precious bee population. 

By incorporating a variety of bee-friendly blooms, you can create a vibrant and thriving ecosystem that not only beautifies your surroundings but also provides essential sustenance for these vital pollinators. 

Whether you have a small balcony or a sprawling yard, every effort to support bee-friendly flora contributes to the conservation of these beneficial insects.

Are you on Pinterest? Check out my Flower Gardening board for more ideas. You can also find me on Facebook.

best flowers for bees

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more