If you live in a region where fall weather is mild, dig in and set some perennials in place. Come springtime, they’ll be ready to burst forth and bloom. Pretty, yes. But planting flowers serves another purpose: They attract bees and other pollinators to your garden.
Do it for the bees.
With plentiful flowers that are particularly enticing to bees, these perennials are great for tucking into edges near your vegetable garden. They’ll attract bees and other pollinators to the area, boosting the pollination process in your garden, too. And at a time when our honeybee population is struggling, offering them a little bit of a buffet in your backyard seems like a good thing to do!
Also known as coneflower, you might be more familiar with echinacea as a health supplement. Turns out, that supplement is made from this plant that sports gorgeous pink blossoms. More on how to grow echinacea here.
This is not the neon-bright geranium your grandma used to grow. Cranesbill geraniums are a delicate looking, low-growing perennial that flower in the pink and purple range.
While humans are generally more interested in the leaves of mint, the flowers are desirable to bees. Mint can be invasive, though — be sure to plant it in an area where it can run rampant or in a pot where it will remain contained.
This low growing perennial attracts pollinators with purple or pink flowers that seem to float above the leaves on long stems. They’re a great cut flower, too — just be sure to leave some for the bees and butterflies.
There are both annual and perennial varieties of salvia. They’re all great for attracting bees, but if you choose a perennial variety you’ll enjoy the benefits for many seasons.
Commonly known as Bee Balm, Monarda is a member of the mint family. In addition to attracting pollinators to your garden, Monarda can be used to flavor drinks and is used medicinally. There are both annual and perennial varieties of bee balm and many different types of flowers.
You know this as a go-to herb in your spice cupboard, but the small flowers on thyme are very attractive to bees. Thyme grows low; try the variety “Mother of Thyme” for a great ground cover that will make the bees happy and be useful to you as well. Basil is another herb that really attracts bees.
You know it for its fragrance; bees love it for the flowers. The flowers differ in shape from variety to variety, but all are attractive to honey bees. Lavender is also considered a culinary herb and can be used to flavor some of your kitchen creations.
There are many, many varieties of aster to choose from. The star-shaped flowers come in purples, pinks, and whites and often bloom in the fall, making it a great nectar source when many springtime flowers have stopped blooming.
Grown for its many medicinal benefits, the flat flower clusters of yarrow are a favorite landing spot for butterflies as well as bees. It’s a low maintenance perennial that tolerates heat and drought well, too.
Buckwheat is not a perennial; in fact, it’s a very fast to bloom annual that’s kaput in just a couple of months. But if you want to attract bees to your yard in a hurry, I highly recommend that you add it to your repertoire. Read about my success with buckwheat here.