Planting Tips For A Bee-Friendly Garden

Shutterstock / manfredxy ©

As we enjoy the summer sunshine and look forward to our holidays, spare a thought for our hardworking bees, who toil away all summer!

While some may see bees as a nuisance in the garden (and the occasional swarm should be safely removed by a professional beekeeper), it’s important to understand the vital role these busy little insects play in our ecosystem.

On top of producing honey, beeswax and propolis, honeybees are the perfect pollinators. They are capable of pollinating on a much bigger scale compared to other insects. In fact their work is crucial for fertilising the majority of our vegetable, fruit and arable crops.

Close up view of the working bees on honey cells;

Pic: Shutterstock

Plan for continuous flowers

Bees are under threat in our modern world, with several species being placed on the endangered list. It’s important that we do everything we can to help nature along and ensure that our gardens, no matter how big or small, provide a perfect pitstop for these vital creatures to refuel.

Whether planting in the ground or in containers, your garden or balcony can be a haven for visiting bees. The Original Factory Shop is on hand to provide a guide on how to best plant your garden to support bees.

3 pots of flowers, daisies, pansies and carnations, hung on garden fence in wire baskets

Pic: Shutterstock

For more inspiration on home, garden and fashion essentials, head over to The Original Factory Shop Blog which will be offering up an array of advice and handy tips to get you through the year.

Different ways to help bees

By adding in a few suitable plants and shrubs which flower at various times, you can help ensure that visiting bees can easily feed in your garden. They may even pollinate your own crops and help with that bumper harvest in your fruit and veg patch!

Getting to the heart of it

Double flowers often have so many petals that bees cannot reach the central part of the flower, where nectar and pollen are found. Roses and dahlias, which are often elaborate, also have beautiful single-flowered varieties available, so focus on those.

Other highly bred flowers may not produce nectar at all – beautiful, but disappointingly empty for bees.

Choose single, not double roses. Pic: Shutterstock

And bees’ favourite colour is…

The colour purple is more visible to bees than any other colour! Some of the best plants for bees have purple flowers for example Lavender and Buddleia. Don’t worry if you don’t want a mauve mood throughout, as other coloured flowers will still attract bees too.

Bee Friendly Plants and Shrubs


Coming in a large variety of species, lavender can thrive in dry conditions. Not only can you take care of bees with this plant, but you can also add a touch of Provence and a delightful summer fragrance!

bee on lavender flower's in a field filled with colours and fragrance no people stock photography stock photo;

Pic: Shutterstock


Another very fragrant addition to the garden, this attractive, hardy shrub will add a flurry of flowers and the heady scent is a real treat on a summer evening.


More popular than ever this showy onion relative will not only delight with globe shaped bursts of colour, but our winged friends will also be buzzing with delight!

Lemon coloured lupins, purple alliums behind, neat mounds of trimmed bushes, sun shining through trees

Alliums (background) and lupins. Pic: Susie White

 Roses (single)

There is a trend here. Flowers that smell nice to us are generally pretty popular with bees too! The single rose varieties not only add a touch of class to any garden or patio, but they are also another easy nectar source for bees to feed on.


These blue beacons will be a welcome feast in the spring, once the bees are highly active again. They can be naturalised in borders, in shade under trees or grown in containers on a patio or balcony.

Homegrown and aromatic herbs in old clay pots. Set of culinary herbs. Green growing sage, oregano, thyme, savory, mint and oregano with labels;

Pic: Shutterstock


This kitchen herb essential will be carpeted with flowers in spring and summer, making it a valuable plant for an extended period of time for bees to frequent.

Best flowers for bees all year round

  • Bluebells, crocus, and primrose are great spring flowers for bees
  • Foxgloves, thyme, and hardy geraniums are ideal for early summer
  • Lavender, sedum and buddleia are ideal for the height of summer
  • Winter honeysuckle, hellebores and winter clematis will help in the darker months
Pink and white Christmas rose or hellebore, Helleborus niger plant growing in a garden, UK

Hellebores offer valuable nourishment for early emerging bees. Pic: Shutterstock

Things to remember

Here are a few key pointers for year-round bee care in your garden…

  • Think of the seasons and try to keep something flowering all year round
  • Some bees will emerge early in winter if it is mild
  • Spring to autumn is the most active bee period
  • Provide water to help keep bees hydrated – this could be a shallow dish with marbles/stones
  • Avoid using pesticides! Focus on organic methods wherever possible.

Look out for wildlife-friendly gardening advice every week in My Weekly, and every month in the My Weekly Special. From supermarkets and newsagents, or why not subscribe for a great saving on the shop price!