Reader Question: Attracting Bees to Your Garden


Today’s Reader Question comes from Jack in Warsaw, VA:

I enjoyed reading your post about dandelions and their role in providing nectar sources for bees. I would like to encourage bees in my garden; can you provide a list of plants that I can use to entice them? I prefer plants that come back year after year.

attracting bees to your gardenJack, I’m glad that you see the benefit of attracting bees to your garden. Without them, our plates would be pretty empty and the garden would be depressing. But with them, we are able to enjoy delicious tomatoes, savory peppers and crispy cucumbers. Let’s dig right into plants that can be used for attracting bees to your garden.

  • Hollies like Ilex x ‘Nellie R. Stevens’
  • Butterfly Bushes (Buddleia davidii)
  • Salvia of all sorts (Salvia greggii, Salvia nemerosa)
  • Catmint (Nepeta cultivars like ‘Dropmore’, ‘Six Hills Giant’)
  • Mints – do NOT plants these in the ground or they will take over your garden
  • Sedum – especially the fall blooming types like ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Matrona’
  • Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum)
  • Veronica – they seem to like the incana cultivars like ‘Sunny Border Blue’
  • Boltonia asteroides
  • Asters
  • Beebalm (Monarda didyma and its cultivars)
  • Anise Hyssop (Agastache spp.) – any Agastache species will be covered in bees
  • Sunflower – Helianthus annuus is the tall annual type but there are lots of perennial sunflowers
  • Lavender
  • Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)


Sorry that these are out of order alphabetically…I was just typing them as they came to me. Also, don’t forget that bees love clover. If you have clover in your lawn, allow it to flower before mowing. Consider too that clover is a plant that takes nitrogen from the air and fixes it in the roots…that’s a sustainable plant! Jack, I hope that this offers you some insight into plants that bees love. Mid-Atlantic Gardening readers, feel free to chime in with your favorite plants for attracting bees to your garden. Leave me a comment below or e-mail me at Happy gardening!

March 15, 2012Permalink 2 Comments

2 thoughts on “Reader Question: Attracting Bees to Your Garden

  1. Hi Stacey,
    Great article! I also enjoy bringing in the bees to my garden. Right now they are all over my carolina jessamine vine. Another favorite in the yard right now is the blooming peach and plum trees.

    • Thanks Alan! I was amazed to see the bees swarming on a Corkscrew Willow today. I took pictures of the blooms to see if I could understand their fascination with them. To me, they’re unimpressive but the bumblebees and honeybees obviously disagree!

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