Five Plants to Attract Honey Bees

One way to help increase honey bee populations is to choose flowering plants that honey bees like. You’ll make the honey bees happy and your fruits and vegetables will thank you too. Here are five flowers that are sure to bring these little friends to your garden.

Ornamental Onion (Allium sp.)

Early summer flowering bulb that you plant in the fall. There are many species of alliums including garlic. I like to plant Allium giganteum, which produces a baseball-sized purple bloom. Alliums grow best in full sun.

Allium giganteum Gladiator

‘Cat’s Meow’ Catmint (Nepeta faassenii)

A charming perennial (zones 4 – 9) that will bloom again in early fall if sheared lightly after the first flowering. Plant in full sun. The variety ‘Cat’s Meow’ is a top-performer with sky blue flowers.

Catmint Cat's Meow

Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa)

A fall blooming perennial (zones 4 – 9) prized for its sprays of golden yellow flowers. I’m particularly fond of the variety ‘Fireworks’. Grow in full sun. Tolerates drought.


Zinna (Zinnia x hybrid)

These brightly hued annuals will attract all types of pollinators to your garden. Sow the seeds directly in the garden after the last frost date in spring.

Pink Zinnias

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

This ultimate bee-friendly perennial (zones 4 – 9) is a great companion plant for vegetables and fruits that rely on bees for pollination. Bee balm will grow in full sun to partial shade.

Red Monarda

Good to Know

A single honey bee visits up to a hundred flowers on each foraging trip while she collects nectar for the hive. Yet she’ll only make around a tenth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. It’s estimated that the whole colony has to tap two million flowers to make one pound of honey. Talk about teamwork!
Rhonda Fleming Hayes (@thegardenbuzz) author of the forth coming book Pollinator Friendly Gardening: Gardening for Bees, Butterflies and Other Pollinators. To learn more about pollinating insects join Rhonda every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. CST for #pollin8rchat on Twitter.