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bees on yellow purslane flower

Bees are integral to a healthy eco-system. That includes your garden. Create a sense of “bee longing” with these 5 flowers.

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Bees provide significant pollination for an incalculable number of plant species. Their population has seen sharp declines in recent years. Help prevent the environmental damage losing our bees would cause by planting bee-friendly flowers in your garden this summer.

1. Monarda (Bee Balm)

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Mondara, also known as bee balm, is a native of the eastern part of North America, stretching between Georgia, Ontario, and Minnesota, so if you live in this area, be sure to plant bee balm to attract bees to your garden.

Planting as many native species as possible is one way to make your garden inviting to bees. Bee balm has tubular flowers, which array themselves in bursts like fireworks, most typically growing in pinks, reds, and purples. They grow relatively tall (up to 35 inches), so use them to create height in your garden.

2. Sunflower

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It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love the inviting yellow and gigantic blooms of sunflowers, and bees are no exception. Though smaller gardens may not look their best with stalks this tall hanging out in back, enhance a larger garden or give depth to the back yard’s landscaping with stunning sunflowers. They need lots of sun, but aren’t picky about soil and can deal with almost any type of soil short of swampy.

3. Borage

borage

(image: matsuyuki)

Borage is extremely important for bees because it makes nectar. It has vivid blue flowers and is actually edible, so not only will borage offer a spectacular spark of color to your garden, but you can also use it to garnish the food at your garden parties. Borage flowers in June and doesn’t stop until September–sometimes even later–giving you a long period of enjoyment and bees several months of nectar.

4. Lantana

Lantana

(image: matsuyuki)

If your garden slopes at all or you need to plant bedding, then Lantana is your flower. The tiny blossoms grow in sweet little clusters and come in purple, yellow, white, and pink. The plant will grow better up against something, like a fence, because it needs some protection from harsh weather. Bees love the colorful flowers, though not everyone likes the smell of Lantana. Be sure you smell it at the nursery before taking some home.

5. Sweet Alyssum

sweet allysum

(image: Hectonichus)

This annual loves full and partial sun and grows in white, lavender, and pink. It smells sweet and beautiful, which is part of why bees love it so much. The flowers are small but grow plentifully and obscure many of the leaves, making this a great garden border. It also grows low to the ground, so use it near taller plants to create eye-catching levels of height in your garden. Alyssum does best in moist soil. Dry areas with extreme heat aren’t hospitable to this plant.

Welcome, bees!

Each of these flowers, from the towering sunflower to the tiny Lantana blossom, will welcome bees to your yard and will provide your garden with eye-catching color and texture. Help the bee population in your own small way by cultivating these and other plants that encourage pollination and attract pollinators.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.