Ten Best Bedding Plants for Bees

Bees are vital to garden plants. They are essential to the pollination of plants and without them, your garden plants will die. It is, therefore, necessary to support the bee population in your garden by having bedding plants for bees.

Bees in your garden should be supported by a wide range of flowers that attract them. Your garden needs to have a good combination of bedding plants to provide bees with the nectar and pollen they need to survive. Some plants do this better than others.

Best Bedding Plants for Bees

1. French Marigolds

USDA Growing Zones: 3-11

French marigolds come in are brightly colored and cheerful flowers. They have long orange, red, and yellow blooms that can last the entire growing season.

They can be grown in any soil, but they prefer well-drained soil and full sun exposure. When mature, they can be 5 to 18 inches tall.

Bees are attracted to most French marigolds but are more attracted to varieties that come with open centers to get to the yellow florets easily.

French marigolds are easy to grow. They are low in maintenance and suitable for garden beds.

2. Alyssum

USDA Growing Zones: 5-9

Alyssum flowers are often used to blanket gardens. They come with low-growing foliage that rapidly covers the ground with their crossed-shaped flowers with four petals.

Alyssum flowers thrive well in well-drained, moist soil. They can grow up to 9 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Their texture makes them a fabulous annual growing in small beds or containers.

They bloom in the spring, producing clouds of white, purple, and pink flowers. They come with a fragrance that is most evident in the evening.

Alyssum flowers attract bees because of their honey-scented nectar.

3.  Sunflowers

USDA Growing Zones: 2-11

The ever-popular sunflowers are easy to grow from seedlings, seeds, or both. They are fast-growing annuals that grow on upright and sturdy stems. Each stem holds one flower that can grow up to 3 feet wide and 10 feet tall at maturity.

Sunflowers grow orange-yellow petals with a brown or purple disk, but many growers are producing them in many colors, including red and mahogany.

Sunflowers grow in well-drained soils and prefer sufficient sunlight.  They start blooming during mid-summer to early fall.

Sunflowers are irresistible plants to bees.

4. Salvia

USDA Growing Zones: 4 – 10

Bedding Salvias grow upright and with tall spikes consisting of red or blue flowers. There are several species of Salvias, including annuals, shrubs, and perennials. They mostly bloom from late spring to autumn.

Long-tongued bees love the species Salvia cochineal. It comes with tubular flowers in coral and pink, making them attractive to bees. They also have a lovely fragrance that bees love.

Salvias are easy to care for. They can even thrive in rocky, dry soil.

5. Zinnias

USDA Growing Zones: 9 – 11 as perennials; 2 – 8 as annuals

Zinnias have elegant red, pink, white, yellow, orange, and lavender blooms that bees find attractive. They come in short, tall, and spreading varieties.  The large daisy flowers are in pastel and got colors. They can grow up to 4 inches tall and 18 inches wide at maturity.

Zinnia flowers are the favorites of bumblebees, honey bees, and many kinds of solitary bees. Their disk flowers are small compared to the overall size of the flower. Thus smaller bees may find it challenging to get to their pollen and nectar.

Zinnias grow well in well-drained soil with total sun exposure and in the warm summer weather.

6. Snapdragons

USDA Growing Zones: 7-11

Snapdragons grow striking white, violet, yellow, purple, orange, red, and pink blossoms. Their flowers start to bloom at the base of the stalk, gradually moving to the top. This allows the bloom period to last longer.

Snapdragons come in several varieties, and they can grow up to 12 inches across and 48 inches wide at maturity. They grow well in well-drained, moist, and rich soil with partial shade or full sun.

Snapdragons are heavy-lipped, so their pollination is dependent on large bumblebees. The smaller bees cannot open their flowers. Bees find it easiest to find snapdragons with veins or stripes in their blooms.

Snapdragons bloom from early spring up to all summer. You can prolong the blooming time of snapdragons by pinching off the first flower spike. This will allow another branch to grow.

7. Cosmos

USDA Growing Zones: 2-11

Cosmos are free-flowering plants that are easy to grow. They germinate slowly but bloom quickly. They produce flowers throughout fall.

Cosmos flowers grow in various colors including golden yellow, white, orange, pink, magenta, and chocolate. Flowers grow on long and slender stems that are attractive to bees.

Cosmos grow well in well-drained soiled and sufficient sunlight. At maturity, they can grow up to 3 feet wide and 6 feet tall.

Cosmos is one of the best bedding plants that are attractive to bees. Their beautiful flowers allow bees to get to their nectar easily.

8. Wallflowers

USDA Growing Zones: 6-9

Wallflowers are compact, small, and attractive plants that are easy to grow; they are rich in nectar content, too. Most species of wildflowers grow as shrubs and some as ground cover.

Wildflowers bloom almost all year round. They come with pretty flowers with four purple, pink, blue, orange, red, and yellow petals. They can grow up to 3 feet tall at maturity.

Bumblebees love wallflowers because their long flowers are easily accessible, and they have high nectar content.

Wallflowers grow well in well-drained and sandy soil with sufficient exposure to sunlight.

9. Hollyhocks

USDA Growing Zones: 3-8

Hollyhocks are tall and beautiful perennials. They are easy to grow and are great to include in your bee-friendly garden.

Hollyhocks come with blooms that shoot out at the base of their stems, working their way to the top. The flowers cover 1-2 feet of each stalk.

They grow blue, yellow, purple, pink, red, and white blooms from mid-summer to early fall.

Bees love hollyhocks because their flowers come with loads of pollen and plenty of nectar.

Hollyhocks grow well in well-drained and moist soil.

10. Portulaca

USDA Growing Zones: 2 – 10

Portulaca flowers are low-growing and pretty flowering plants. Their orange, yellow, lavender, pink, red, cream, and white flowers will make your garden look visually attractive.

Portulaca flowers close during rainy weather and at night to protect their pollen which is extremely attractive to honeybees.

Portulaca grows up to 8 inches tall at maturity. These flowers grow in well-drained and sandy soil with sufficient exposure to sunlight. They are also highly tolerant of hot weather and drought.

Characteristics Of The Ideal Flower

Annual flowers sold in multi-packs are referred to as bedding plants because they are meant to fill your garden beds with color.

Many of them also provide pollen and nectar for bees and other insects that may help pollinate your vegetable plants or protect them from pests’ infestation.

Bees in your garden should be supported by a wide range of flowers that attract bees. As a rule of thumb, the best bedding plants for bees have these characteristics:

Tubular flowers or single, large open blooms so bees who have longer tongues can easily crawl inside.

Bees are typically attracted to purple but will indeed fly to any appropriate flower in your garden.

They should be nectar- and pollen-rich.

It is good to grow flowers in different forms to increase visual interest in your garden. It will also allow your garden to host many bees.

Final Thoughts

Bees love to collect nectar from plants in your garden. When looking for bedding plants that are attractive to bees, choose varieties with nectar reservoirs that are easily accessible to bees.

Flowering plants with a wide range of colors are attractive to bees and make your garden visually appealing, too.

Jenny Marie
Tribal Writer

Edited By
Patricia Godwin


Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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