Add bee friendly perennials to make your garden buzz with bees. Perennials that attract bees are those that provide generous amounts of nectar. Plants that produce numerous blooms and blooms that are long lasting are especially attractive to bees. Bee friendly perennials can provide a feast for many other pollinators as well. It is best to plant a variety of bee attracting perennials that bloom in Spring, Summer, and Fall. We’ve have found perennials that bloom early in the year, mid year and into the Fall. A selection like these can keep your garden buzzing with bees for most of the year. Join the worthwhile effort to save the bees by providing a few bee friendly perennials in your garden.
Observe Your Garden
How do you know if your garden is bee-friendly? Well, maybe you’ve noticed that bees tend to be more active in the morning. They are less active later in the day. So, if you step outside into your garden during the morning hours, listen for the buzzing sound of bees? You may want to check your garden over a period of a week or two. If you do not hear or see bees, it could be that your garden plant selection does not provide enough nectar. Check to see if you have plants that bloom throughout the three warmer seasons. Consider adding a few perennials to provide nectar during most of the periods during the Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons.
Keep a Garden Journal
Check your garden from time to time throughout the seasons. Maybe even keep a journal, noting if you notice any bees and specifically which plants they favor. If there is a particular time of year (other than Winter) that you don’t see bees in your garden then make a note of that. Then consider adding a perennial that blooms during that period when you didn’t see any bees. Attract bees by providing plants that will entice them to not only come to your garden but stay permanently. Maybe even add a bee hotel and a reliable water source for bees.
If you are searching for some bee friendly perennials to add to your garden, take a look at these beauties. We listed them in blooming period order from late Winter/early Spring to the mid Fall season.
Bee Friendly Perennials Blooming Late Winter into Early Spring
Gold Heart Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart or Dicentra spectabilis
Gold Heart Bleeding Heart has golden yellow foliage. Pink and white heart-shaped blooms appear in late Winter to early Spring. Deer resistant Gold Heart grows in zones 3 to 9 and tops out at 18 to 24 inches. Classic Gold Heart Bleeding Heart attracts bees and hummingbirds. Bleeding Heart likes a part Sun and part shade to full shade garden. Plant this perennial as a border plant, in containers, as a specimen, or as a focal point in your garden. Golden Heart blooms can be used for cut flowers.
Bee Friendly Perennials Blooming Early, Mid, and Late Spring
2. Hepatica acutiloba
Native Hepatica acutiloba has white to lavender blooms with an occasional pink bloom. Blooms appear in early to mid Spring. Hepatica acutiloba grows in zones 4 to 9 and likes a part Sun and part shade to full shade garden area. Bee friendly Hepatica acutiloba reaches between 4 to 6 inches tall. Hepatica likes soil conditions that are normal, acidic, or wet. This woodland wildflower will spread and slowly naturalize over time.
3. Mertensia Virginica or Virginia Bluebells
Mertensia Virginica or Virginia Bluebells bloom in shades of pink then becoming light blue as they mature. Virginia Bluebells grows in zones 3 to 8, reaches 2 feet tall. Blooms appear in April and May. Short lived blooms, Bluebells likes part Sun and part shade to full shade. Striking Virginia Bluebells attracts bees particularly female bumblebees. Butterflies and moths are also attracted to Bluebells. Plant in woodland soil conditions – a slightly wet soil. By midSummer, Virginia Bluebells will go dormant.
4. Scarlet Flame Phlox or Moss Phlox
Scarlet Flame Phlox or Moss Phlox, Creeping Phlox has bold magenta red blooms in April and May. Sun loving Scarlet Flame Phlox grows in zones 3 to 8 and tops out at 4 inches. Scarlet Flame Phlox attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to the garden. Use Scarlet Flame along a garden border or on a rock wall for stunning color in mid Spring.
Bee Friendly Perennials Blooms Early to Late Summer
5. Asclepias Gay Butterflies Mixture or Milkweed
Asclepias Gay Butterflies Mixture is a mix of brilliant blooms in shades of fiery red, orange, and yellow. Milkweed blooms appear in June and July. Deer resistant Asclepias Gay grows in zones 4 to 9 and grows 24 to 30 inches tall. Thrives in full Sun, Asclepias Gay attracts many types of beneficial insects such as butterflies. Bee friendly Milkweed attracts hummingbirds. A spectacular perennial for any garden.
6. Delphinium Percival or Perennial Larkspur
Summer blooming Delphinium Percival or Perennial Larkspur has slender spires of densely packed white florets on lacy foliage. Delphinium Percival grows in zones 3 to 8 in full Sun to mostly sunny gardens. Topping out between 4 to 6 feet tall, Delphinium Percival attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds. Rabbit resistant Delphinium is bee friendly and make outstanding cut flowers. The floral spikes are striking and adds elegance to any garden. Beneficial for all pollinators.
7. Echinops Ritro or Globe Thistle
Echinops Ritro or Globe Thistle has silvery foliage that deeply cut shaped lances with globes of blue. Summer blooming Globe Thistle grows in zones 3 to 8 and topping out at 4 feet. Give globe thistle a nice full Sun to mostly sunny garden spot with normal, acidic, or sandy soil. Striking bold blue globe blooms are an excellent cut flower or used in dried floral arrangement. Highly ornamental Globe Thistle and delivers Winter interest to the garden over the cold months. Beneficial for all pollinators. Tolerant of hot dry sites and seaside/salt conditions. Deer resistant thistle attracts butterflies, and is bee friendly.
8. Salvia New Dimension Blue or Meadow Sage
Salvia New Dimension Blue or Meadow Sage have intense deep violet blue blooms that appear from early to late Summer. Deer and rabbit resistant Meadow Sage grows in zones 5 to 8 and tops out at 8 to 10 inches. A bee friendly perennial that likes Sunny garden areas and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Long blooming Meadow Sage can be used on a slope or bank, as edging or borders, or in containers. Tolerant of hot dry sites and beneficial for pollinators, New Dimension Blue can be sheared after the Summer blooming ends. This Summer shearing will encourage mid to late Fall repeat blooms! Double the fun with this gorgeous perennial!
Bee Friendly Perennials Blooms Mid to Late Summer
9. Baby Joe or Dwarf Joe Pye Weed
Baby Joe or Dwarf Joe Pye Weed has purple blooms with a sweet fragrance in mid to late Summer. Deer resistant Baby Joe grows in zones 4 to 8 in full Sun to half Sun and half shade. Topping out between 2 to 3 feet tall, Baby Joe is bee friendly, attracts birds, hummingbirds, and butterflies. The native Baby Joe can be planted in containers or used as cut flowers. The Dwarf Joe Pye tolerates wet sites and salt conditions. Rabbit resistant Baby Joe will provide your garden with Winter interest.
Bee Friendly Perennials Blooms Early Summer to Early Fall
10. Rudbeckia Prairie Sun or Gloriosa Daisy
Rudbeckia Prairie Sun or Gloriosa Daisy has beautiful peachy orange petals with yellow tips and green centers. Sun loving Prairie Sun grows in zones 5 to 8 reaching 30 to 36 inches tall. Prairie Sun makes an excellent cut flower that blooms from early Summer to early Fall. Long blooming Prairie Sun is bee friendly, attracts butterflies, and is beneficial for pollinators. This robust perennial can be planted in either normal, clay, sandy, or acidic soil conditions. Tolerant of seaside/salt or road salt conditions. Use in containers for your patio or porch, Prairie Sun is deer resistant.
11. Monarda Jacob Cline or Bee Balm
Monarda Jacob Cline or Bee Balm has large frilly red flowers that appear from early Summer until early Fall. Bee friendly Jacob Cline grows in zones 4 to 9, reaching between 4 to 5 feet tall. Long blooming Jacob Cline is both deer and rabbit resistant. Plant this bee balm in full Sun to part Sun and part shade with soil conditions that are either normal or clay. Beneficial to pollinators, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds – a perfect garden perennial to attract wildlife, too. Jacob Cline is tolerant of wet garden sites.
12. Geranium Rozanne or Cranesbill
Geranium Rozanne or Cranesbill has sweet blue blooms with white centers that bloom from early Summer to early Fall. Bee friendly Geranium Rozanne grows in zones 5 to 8, tops out at 20 inches tall. A long blooming Cranesbill that likes a full Sun to part Sun and part shade garden area. Deer resistant Geranium Rozanne can be planted on a slope or bank, in garden containers, or used as a ground cover. Heat tolerant perennial that attracts butterflies and is beneficial for pollinators.
Bee Friendly Perennial Blooms Early Summer to Mid Fall
13. Agastache Firebird or Hummingbird Mint, Hyssop
Agastache Firebird or Hummingbird Mint, Hyssop has aromatic gray-green foliage with copper orange coral tubular flowers. Sun loving Agastache Firebird grows in zones 6 to 10, reaches 2 to 3 feet tall. Bee friendly Agastache Firebird blooms from early Summer until mid Fall. A fragrant, long blooming perennial that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Tolerant of hot dry sites and resistant to both deer and rabbits. Plant in a container or in a border garden. Stunning and striking beauty in this coppery orange perennial!
Bee Friendly Perennial Blooms Mid Summer to Mid Fall
14. Autumn Joy Sedum or Stonecrop
Autumn Joy Sedum or Stonecrop has bright pink flowers on large heads that blend to copper tones as cooler weather arrives. Blooms from late Summer until mid Fall. Sun loving Autumn Joy grows in zones 3 to 9 reaching between 20 to 24 inches tall. Deer and rabbit resistant Autumn Joy is a versatile perennial that is easy to grow and low maintenance. Can be planted in containers, used in mass plantings, or for small garden spaces. This sedum can be grown in normal, sandy, or dry soil conditions. Attracts birds, butterflies, and is bee friendly with its long blooming floral clusters. Work extremely well in rock gardens and is pest, disease resistant. Adds great Fall color to your gardens.
Bee Friendly Perennial Blooms Late Summer to Mid Fall
15. Anemone Honorine Jobert or Windflower
Anemone Honorine Jobert or Windflower has white elegant flowers with frilly yellow stamens and chartreuse centers. Blooms from late Summer to mid Fall providing nectar for beneficial pollinators to feed on. Honorine Jobert grows in zones 4 to 8, reaching 3 to 4 feet tall. This perennial does well in a full Sun to part Sun and part shade garden area. A deer and rabbit resistant Windflower that attracts butterflies and pollinators. Tolerant of wet site garden conditions Honorine Jobert can be planted in normal, clay, or acidic soil conditions. Awarded the 2016 Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year! designation.
Bee Friendly Perennials to Help Save the Bees
These are 15 bee friendly perennials that can make your garden buzz with bees. Creating a garden no matter how small, for pollinators such as bees is vital to their survival. Consider adding a variety of plants that bloom all three seasons long. The key is to have a continuous supply of nectar for bees and other pollinators over the course of several months. The longer the plants bloom the better. The more blooms the plant produces the better. In this case, more is better. We as gardeners are in a unique position to help save the bees. The simple solution – plant more bee friendly plants. Be sure to keep a garden journal. Note any bee or wildlife sightings in your garden journal.
Increase your home’s wildlife value by adding bee friendly perennials. Provide a bee hotel or two to encourage bees to nest and stay in your garden. In fact, adding habitats and structures for beneficial wildlife in your yard or garden will only improve your home. Plant native plants when possible to support our native wildlife. Provide clean water for local wildlife. Participate in this effort to sustain our beautiful native wildlife.
If you have a bee friendly garden or thinking about adding one, let us know about it. If you try any of these bee friendly perennials to help save the bees, let us know how you make out. We’d love to hear about your bee friendly perennials in your garden or yard.
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