Attract Bees

Bee Friendly Plants UK

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Plants that will attract these fascinating and useful garden visitors usually have simple, tubular or daisy-like flowers, especially in pinks and purples; avoid double-flowered varieties. Butterflies also like fruity scents. Remember that their caterpillar stage needs different food plants. Nettles are well-known as the food of tortoiseshells, but long grass and other weeds support many species.

Bees are necessary for gardens. They pollinate and bring life, playing an essential role in growing all sorts of crops.

Unfortunately, bees in the UK are under threat, so it’s down to us avid gardeners to help them out. There are ways in which we can prepare our gardens to attract bees, encouraging them to pollinate all the year through.

Here are the top bee and butterfly friendly plants that will attract the critters into your garden.

English Lavender “Hidcote

This compact lavender with thin, silvery-grey leaves and dark purple flowers is an evergreen shrub useful for edging. Dense spikes of fragrant, tubular flowers, borne at the ends of long, unbranched stalks, appear during mid- to late summer. Like all lavenders, the flowers dry the best if cut before they are fully open.

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Click here for your beautiful lavender plant!

Aster “Andenken an Alma Potschke

This vigorous, upright, clump-forming perennial carries sprays of large, daisy-like, bright salmon-pink flower heads with yellow centres from late summer to mid-autumn, on stiff stems above rough, stem-clasping, mid-green leaves. Suitable for cutting, or in late-flowering displays. “Harrington’s Pink” is very similar, with paler flowers.

Daphne “Eternal Fragrance

Non-stop blooms from April to October make Daphne “Eternal Fragrance” unbeatable for flowers and fragrance. This rare semi-evergreen Daphne flowers on new growth, so they just keep coming! With a compact, slow growth habit and deliciously sweet fragrance, this elegant shrub is perfect for planting in containers close to a doorway, where you will fully appreciate the fabulous heady fragrance as you pass. Height and spread: 90cm (36″).

Bee Friendly

Click here to add this “eternal fragrance” to your garden!

Buddleja “Davidii

All cultivars of buddleja, the butterfly bush, are fast-growing, deciduous shrubs with a wide range of flower colours. As the popular name suggests, the flowers attract butterflies and other beneficial garden insects in profusion. The long, arching shoots carry lance-shaped, mid- to grey-green leaves, up to 25cm (10in) long. Conical clusters of bright, fragrant flowers, usually about 30cm (12in) long, are borne at the end of arching stems from summer to autumn; those of “Royal Red” are the largest, up to 50cm (20in) long. These shrubs respond well to hard pruning in spring, which keeps them a compact size for a small garden.

Bottlebrush Plant “Callistemon Citrinus

This attractive cultivar of the crimson bottlebrush is an evergreen shrub usually with arching branches. Dense spikes of brilliant red flowers appear in spring and summer, amid the grey-green, lemon-scented leaves which are bronze-red when young. Grow at the base of a sunny wall to give protection from the winter cold.

Bee Friendly

Click here to attract bees to your bottlebrush plant!

Caryopteris x Clandonensis “Heavenly Blue

A compact, upright, deciduous shrub, grown for its clusters of intensely dark blue flowers which appear in late summer and early autumn. The irregularly toothed leaves are grey-green. In cold areas, position against a warm wall.

Daphne “Perfume Princess

Pretty pink springtime flowers clothe the stems of this robust shrub and fill the garden with an exquisite perfume. Although slow growing, Daphne “Perfume Princess” is well worth the wait, forming a medium-sized shrub with an attractive rounded habit. This hardy evergreen shrub has increased in popularity in recent years, providing year round interest as a specimen plant in borders and containers. Height and spread: 120cm (47″).

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Click here for your very own “perfume princess“!

Gardenia “Kleim’s Hardy

Exotic single white blooms with an intoxicating fragrance that is simply divine. Gardenia “Kleim’s Hardy” is the first of its kind that can be grown outdoors all year round. Its glossy evergreen foliage provides the perfect backdrop for the beautiful blooms in summer. A beautiful, compact shrub for sheltered borders and containers. Height and spread: 90cm (36″).

Bee Friendly

Click here for this exquisite bloom!

Hardy Gardenia “Crown Jewels

Who’d have imagined you could grow a tough, hardy outdoor Gardenia a few years ago? Large pearly white, waxy double blooms, contrasting dramatically against rich, glossy evergreen leaves. This hardy shrub will be a prized specimen from the moment it’s delivered to your door. And do not underestimate the fragrance, Gardenia “Crown Jewels” has one of the most reliable, most intoxicating scents that will fill patios, gardens and your home all summer long.

Bee Friendly

Click here to add some “crown jewels” to your garden!

Patio Lavatera Mallow “Barnsley Baby

These upright and showy, flowering shrubs with stiff stems and sage-green leaves usually bloom from midsummer to autumn in pinks and purples. Although they are short-lived, they proliferate on any well-drained soil, including thin, dry land, which makes them a welcome addition to any garden where quick results are desired. They also perform well in coastal areas, being able to tolerate salt-laden winds, but the shrubs will need staking if grown in a site exposed to wind. In cold regions prone to severe frost, plant them against a warm, sunny wall.

Bee Friendly

Click here to order a “Barnsley baby” for your patio!

Dwarf Patio Lilac “Palibin

Dwarf Lilacs are like a dream come true; compact, bushy plants, smothered in tiny scented flowers from late spring. The “Palibin” stays small and neat, making it perfect for patio pots and small gardens. The abundance of fragrant spring flowers is astounding. Position them next to well-used doorways where the sweet fragrance will be really appreciated. Height and spread: 1.5m (4.9′).

Bee Friendly

Click here for a dwarf lilac!

Share Your Story

Are you aware of the necessity of bees in your garden? Did you know they were under threat? What plants do you grow to attract them? If you have any thoughts or questions, please add them below, and I will get back to you a soon as possible. Happy gardening!

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  1. Hi there, the bottlebrush plan is interesting because I can see that it can attract bees as this is an important feature of this particular plant. The fact that it’s a bottleneck I suppose and that it is good to go up against the wall with the sun being able to hit it or a good factors in this decision for choosing the best be attracting plants on the market today. Thank you very much

    1. Hi – thank you for visiting my site and leaving a comment. I am pleased you enjoyed learning about the bottlebrush plant, it is perfect for attracting bees to your garden. All the best, Diane

  2. Hello there, thanks for sharing this wonderful post.  Have recently set up my garden which have quite a lot of plant specie but non seem to be attracting butterfly and my daughter loves seeing these wonderful creatures around. I’ll love to have some of these plants in my garden and see how its brings the beauty of butterflies to it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi – thank you for reading my article. I hope I have given some ideas as to how you can attract butterflies to your garden. All the best, Diane.

  3. No, I didn’t know that the existence of bees were in threats over here. We own a small garden here but I didn’t know. One thing I love though are butterflies and it’s probably the main reason why I’d want to get some of this plants but I’ll be helping Bea’s too and that’s a very good thing to do. You have added pictures to your post on the different types of butterfly friendly plants and I really admire that. I will pick a few with my mum and we will plant them. Thanks!

    1. Hi – I hope you enjoyed looking at my website and learnt something new from this article. I am sure you and your mum will enjoy attracting some butterflies to your garden. All the best, Diane

  4. I love the  Daphne “Eternal Fragrance“Non-stop blooms from April _ october wow is not that amazing?I  love it saints and  the colour is very captivating  wow am getting  them right now they are such a great flowers that my husband  and I have been really looking for,since last year and so happy I got it here thanks so much for this post and links to them 

    1. Hi – thank you for visiting my site and leaving a comment. I am sure you will be delighted with the “Eternal Fragrance” – it is a gorgeous plant. All the best, Diane

  5. I see this as a really nice post, not just to those who would learn from it, but also for those who will are into rearing bees or those willing to go into it. For me I have had some of these plants around me while growing up, but from observation, the Patio Lavatera Mallow doesn’t grow in some areas where i have tried planting it. What could be the cause of this problem?

    1. Hi – thank you for visiting my site and reading my article. I am pleased you have tried growing a Lavatera Mallow. If planting directly in the garden, they require to be in full sunlight, in moist, well-drained soil. You may have more success growing it in a pot. Mallows can be slow to show signs of life in early spring, so you’ll need a little more patience than normal before it returns to bud – don’t worry it’s a late riser! All the best, Diane. 

  6. Hello Diane, butterflies happens to be a very wonderful creature and it colors makes me really happy even as an adult and i live sitting outside in my garden and feel nature. You have listed some really wonderful flowers here, and from this list, i only have Daphne in my garden and it was my husband who got it. I will love to add some more of these butterfly attracting plants to it. Cheers.

    1. Hi – thank you for commenting on my article. Butterflies are a true wonder of nature, and having plants to attract them can only enhance the time you spend in your garden. All the best, Diane

  7. Great detailed on that I found very helpful and somewhat coincidental with my needs. thanks for sharing. I will try to make good use of this information here. Most especially, the fact that these plant can have the charming effect of attracting butterflies to the garden. it cannot be more better. Thus, this is great.

    1. Hi – thank you for reading my article and leaving a comment. There is nothing better than enjoying time in the garden with the attraction of butterflies, flitting around the plants. I am pleased you found the subject helpful. All the best, Diane

  8. Bees and butterflies are a vital part of the ecosystem. They might be tiny animals, but their impact on the environment is massive. I once read that if they were extinct, the whole flora would go down with them — quite an interesting fact. I like your list of plants that will help to attract more bees and butterflies. We have a lot of plants and bushes back home. However, I believe we don’t have enough bees around. Lavender might be a good choice. Thanks for sharing. 

    1. Hi – thank you for reading my article and leaving a comment. You are correct in thinking that if bees became extinct, then the whole ecosystem of the planet would collapse. All the best, Diane 

  9. Very interesting article and I really like every bit of details you have shared here. Not all gardens have these kind pf plants listed here but when I visited a colleagues garden and notice how heavenly the garden looks like because of the addition of the butterflies, though no bees. But then, the butterflies alone made it all look dreamy to behold. Hence, i want to make my garden to mirror that too and you have suggested all that here.

    1. Hi – thank you for your nice comments. Butterflies really are a delight to behold. I hope you enjoyed my plant suggestions, and will now have some ideas for your garden. All the best, Diane

  10. Very interesting one I have seen here and I can only be thankful to you for sharing such an interesting post. So full of beauties and details. the reason I found myself here is to add up more beauties to my garden and you have done just that here. Thanks. For a truth, the get plants that can attract bees and butterfly would only make the garden more beautiful and scenty. Great one here because I will try to make use of them often.

    1. Hi – thank you for checking out my site and leaving a comment. I am pleased you found my article interesting, and I hope you are able to attract bees and butterflies to your garden. All the best, Diane

  11. Nobody wants a garden that cannot attract butterflies because they are the life of the garden. they add exceptional touches of beauty and elegance to the garden and though not all flowers can attract hem, getting plants that can attract them would be a plus to us as gardeners. I love the Gardenia Kleim’s Hardy. so perfect for me.

    1. Hi – thank you for reading my article and leaving a comment. You are right, butterflies really do add beauty to a garden. I have several gardenias, their fragrance is lovely. All the best, Diane

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