Planting for Bees & Butterflies
There's nothing quite like the sight of happy bees and butterflies enjoying our gardens. Not only do they make us feel distinctly more summery, but they're also a crucial part of our eco-system: as critical pollinators, they contribute to the healthy growth of fruit and veg, as well as a wide range of plants. Without these efficient pollinators, much of the food we eat and the plants we grow would die out and the food chain would suffer greatly.
With 35 bee species under threat of extinction in the UK, helping them to flourish is more important than ever. Welcome bees and butterflies to your garden by planting pollinator friendly plants - here are fourteen of our favourites.
1. Helianthus (Sunflowers)
Easy to grow and beautiful to look at, Sunflowers are also incredibly attractive to bees and butterflies – and their healthy growth depends on pollinators. Their large central disk is filled with pollen, while the bright petals attract wildlife.
These colourful annuals come into bloom during the summer months and are brilliant for drawing bees and butterflies to your garden. They're easy to grow and the variety of colours available makes them a good option for most colour schemes.
Bees love roses – opt for single, or semi-double petalled varieties as these produce more pollen and allow bees to reach the stamens in the centre. Roses with more petals may be beautiful, however the shape of their petals can mean the pollen-rich centre is inaccessible to pollinators.
4. Lavandula (Lavender)
Its lovely scent and appearance make it a popular choice for gardeners, but lavender is also much loved by bees and butterflies. It is nectar rich and can be grown in borders or containers, making it a versatile option.
5. Echinacea (Cornflower)
Also known as a coneflower, the colourful appearance of the Echinacea genus is what attracts bees and butterflies, who also enjoy the nectar and pollen to be found in its large centre.
A popular summer border plant, Asters boast a long flowering season and are rich in both nectar and pollen – making them perfect for bees and butterflies!
The shrubby salvia produces flowers in a variety of colours, with blues and purples a common choice. Salvias are also rich in nectar, attracting bees and butterflies in their droves!
8. Digitalis (Foxgloves)
A cottage garden favourite, the self-seeding foxglove is also popular with long-tongued bumblebees. Its deep flowers can often be found buzzing with bees enjoying the nectar found within.
9. Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
With the common name of Butterfly Bush, Buddleia is a natural choice when it comes to planting butterfly friendly plants and attracts a wide range of butterflies.
A member of the Apiaceae family, Eryngium (or Sea Hollies) are particularly attractive to bees and other pollinators. With a spiky appearance and purple-silver colour, they’re also an eye-catching addition to the garden.
With its purple clusters of small flowers and tall, wiry stems, Verbena bonariensis is a favourite with bees and butterflies throughout summer and into autumn.
12. Agastache (Giant Hyssops)
Bees and butterflies can often be found buzzing around the colourful pink and purple blooms of Agastache. This flowering herbaceous perennial produces lovely spires of flowers - and, as a bonus, does well in dry conditions.
A tall herbaceous perennial which produces long spires of tiny flowers throughout the summer months, Veronicastrum is rich in pollen and nectar – making it a popular choice for bees and butterflies.
14. Sedum (Stonecrop)
Also known as stonecrop, this hardy plant genus is popular with bees and butterflies thanks to its flat flowers, which make gathering nectar and pollen a breeze.
All of the above are available in the Garden Centre and Growing Nursery throughout the year (please call ahead for availability on 015395 63630) for anyone hoping to plant a bee and butterfly friendly garden. Our friendly staff are always on hand to answer any queries you may have about the best plants for pollinators.