Bee Friendly Plants

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Bees of all kinds provide an invaluable service by pollinating plants around us, but unfortunately, bee numbers have dropped significantly in recent years, with a third of all bee populations in the UK currently in decline

Bees pollinate flowers and crops, being the largest pollinators in the world of food crops. They are the most important pollinators of the world, contributing to complex ecosystems that allow thousands of different species to coexist. 

However, whether you have a garden big or small, there’s plenty you can do to help bees thrive. And it seems people are looking to do just that – what with a huge spike in Google searches for ‘bee friendly plants’  this Summer (June 2021) compared to  five years years ago (669% rise), according to Google Trends.

Meanwhile, people are also taking to Instagram to upload their best bee friendly plants too, so we did a little research to find out what the most bee friendly plants are, according to Instagram! 


The World’s Most Instagrammed Bee Friendly Plants

 

Roses come in at number one of the most instagrammed bee friendly flowers, with a staggering 28.5 million posts. Roses are not only romantic to humans but bees also love them, their vibrant colour attracts bees for their pollen and nectar. Species Roses – Rosa canina, R. pimpinellifolia, R. rubiginosa, R. rugosa. Species roses are great for

bringing wildlife into your plot, their nectar and pollen rich flowers are far better for pollinating insects than more modern double flowered varieties and the hips will be popular with birds.

In second place is lavender, lavender is a big favourite of bees because their favourite colour is purple. Purple is bees’ favourite colour because they tend to have more nectar than other coloured flowers. Purple flowers also tend to give off more ultraviolet (UV) light than other flowers, UV light is invisible to the human eye, but the UV light on flowers helps guide insects to them, like landing strips, so that their pollen can be redistributed so that more flowers grow.

Ivy is the unsung hero of bee populations, research by the University of Sussex has demonstrated that ivy is highly beneficial for bee populations, providing high quality nectar that is 49% sugar.  

Another plant with a purple flower like lavender are bluebells, meaning they are one of the bees’ favourites. Having these flowers in your garden will help boost your bee population as they will love the vibrant colours and plentiful nectar. 

In fifth place come snowdrops, snowdrops provide bees with a fresh supply of pollen and nectar to get them through the winter, due to them flowering at a time where other flowers do not. 

Perennials are purple so attract lots of bees, they have high quantities of both pollen and nectar too, helping provide bees with the supplies they need to create their honey and boost the bee population.

In seventh comes echinaceas, these plants are extremely useful to bees during the summer months due to their long blooming period, becoming a staple source of nectar for bees for many months.

Primroses act as an early food source for bees, helping queens establish their colonies. Bees have a symbiotic relationship with flowers, where both parties benefit; the bees consume pollen which is a vital part of their diet, and the flowers benefit from the bees feeding off of them as the bees transfer their pollen to other flowers allowing them to reproduce. 

Honeysuckle’s sweet smell is known to attract bees and this plant comes in at number nine of the top ten most instagrammed bee friendly plants list. Honeysuckle is a great addition to any bee friendly garden.

Finally, in number 10 we have Geraniums, these plants provide long-lasting, purple flowers from June to August and are known for attracting a variety of species of bee. 

 

Having a wide variety of bee friendly flowers and trees is the perfect way to create your bee haven. 

If you don’t have a garden you can still help the planet become more bee friendly, add plants to your balcony or windowsill! 

 

Methodology:

Using an extensive list of pollinating bee friendly plants we searched the hashtags for each one on Instagram to give us our ranking.

 

The Best Bee Friendly Plants, According To Top Plant Expert 

But what are the best bee friendly garden plants?

Well our experts here at Hopes Grove Nurseries have listed their top ten below:

  1. Escallonia – these are great nectar plants when in flower, perfect for not only bumble bees, but also for moths and butterflies.

  2. Pyracantha – A firethorn hedge will make your garden very popular with birds when the berries become colourful later in the season, especially the red ones! These hedges are wildfire friendly, providing bees with colour, flowers and pollen.
  3. LavenderLavandula angustifolia, L. intermedia, L. stoechas. One of the very best plants if you want to attract bees and butterflies, plant a variety of types for a long flowering season to keep them coming. The purple colour of lavender flowers attracts bees as purple is known by bees for meaning the flowers are rich in pollen.
  4. Buckthorn – both Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) and common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) are the larval food plants for the Brimstone butterfly. Plant them within a mixed native hedge and include some evergreens so that the bees have somewhere to hibernate.

  5. Flowering CurrantRibes Sanguineum. An excellent early season nectar source for solitary and bumble bees, and butterflies too.

  6. Daisy BushOlearia. This tough, evergreen shrub can withstand even the harshest of elements and still produce beautiful white flowers in the summer months. A beautiful addition to any outdoor space and a great source of nectar and pollen for bees.

  7. Evergreen Holly Hedging A beautiful evergreen producing beautiful white flowers in the summer months, evergreen holly is ideal for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. In the winter months, the shrub produces bright red berries that brighten up a winter garden and provide a food source for birds of all sizes.

  8. Berberis Hedging – Ideal as a formal or informal hedge, the small yellow April flowers of the berberis hedge are an excellent early source of pollen for bumblebees and butterflies.

  9. Chaenomeles Flowering Quince. Make your sunny garden popular amongst bees and small insects from March through the summer with the flowering quince. Producing beautiful flowers of all colours in early spring, and edible fruit in early autumn.

  10. Lonicera ShrubsWinter Honeysuckle. An easy to grow, Winter flowering shrub provides bees and other garden pollinators with a source of nectar, and adds a splash of colour to a winter garden, from December through to March.

 

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