It takes a lot of energy to produce all that honey which is why flowers providing nectar and pollen for bees are so crucial. You probably think there’s plenty of flowers during the summer for bees but actually there’s a lull in forage from naturally occurring wild flowers and trees in June. Beekeepers often refer to this as the “June gap” so what flower varieties could you plant to help bees through this time? Here are a few ideas for flowers to attract bees in summer
‘Monarda’ Bee Balm – These tall flowerheads have deep curved flowers loved by long-tongued bees. They are the same family as mint and make an impressive feature plant for your beds too.
Phacelia – This sweet-scented flower is easy to grow and has the added bonus of putting fertility back into the soil.
Cerinthe Major ‘Honeywort’ – These tubular yellow and purple flowers cluster in a pendant shape and bees adore them.
Lamb’s ear ‘silver carpet’ – This evergreen perennial has small purple flowers which may not seem like much but they attract bees for months on end right into the early autumn days.
Edible plants – The honeybee, and many other types of bee, enjoy pollinating crops too. Many of the produce we grow in our gardens provide flowers that our bee friends that can thrive on including: chives, onions, strawberries, carrots, peppers, blackcurrant, raspberry and blueberry. They love delicious fruit trees as much as we do too. And blue flowering herbs such as lavender, mint, rosemary and sage always prove a hit. Have a look at Rosy Bee as they have many bee-friendly plant ideas on their website
With less and less wild green spaces around, it’s more important than ever to keep our wildflowers going. If your garden is big enough to dedicate a corner to becoming ‘wild’ then that’s fantastic. Even if you have just a small space, wildflowers can still feature. They’re easy to grow and maintain and provide a real wildlife haven not just for bees but other insects and butterflies too. Bees especially love them due to their abundance of flowers in one place. Friends of the Earth have a nice page with lots of bee-friendly flowers to attract bees in summer. There’s so many to choose from but these ones in particular flower over that June gap period we mentioned – so these are really helpful to help save the bees.
- Red and white clovers
- Viper’s bugloss