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Plant inspiration - bee friendly

Hi everyone
I’ve got a number of small gaps in my flower beds and looking for some inspiration for plants that will attract pollinators. What are your favourites?!
The areas are either full sun or partial shade. My soil is sandy acidic. I don’t have space for large shrubs. I’m looking for something relatively low maintenance and will be ok to plant now (late May). The border in question is a large and currently includes dwarf azeleas/rhododendrons, pestemonon, lavender, peonies, iris, wallflowers, salvias, agapanthus. Bit of a mix of stuff really!
thanks in advance for your help! 



  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
    Linaria, helianthus Lemon Queen (tall), oregano, eryngium, erigeron, all good for sun, all perennials, all long flowering. Hardy geranium for shade, like Rozanne that flowers all season long, bees love it.
  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,149
    Catmint (nepeta). It attracts bees all summer.
  • Guernsey Donkey2Guernsey Donkey2 Posts: 6,713
    Lavender, although it can sprawl if not controlled, as well as bees we even have humming bird hawk moths visiting our lavender in mid summer.
  • Julia1983Julia1983 ShropshirePosts: 139
    edited May 2019
    Second vote for lavender, ours is a bee magnet. Ours like chives too, a bit smaller and very pretty. 
    Edit, sorry you said you already had lavender in your original post. How about a different type of lavender? We have the French and English types, flowering at different times so a longer season for the bees :) 
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,561
    Nepeta, salvia and agastache are the bees top three here. They also went potty for the later flowering Tithonia, those big orange landing pads were irresistible.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,305
    Salvia greggii (several choices here if you scroll down a bit )

    Ours are covered with bees all summer and autumn ... and they’re so easy. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • ForTheBeesForTheBees Posts: 168
    This lady has published five years of plant watching, providing more qualitative information that the usual binary good/bad, including breakdown by bumblebees, honey bees and solitary bees.

    Stuff that hadn't ready been mentioned:
    Lesser calamint is both at the top of her list and it doesn't attract cats like many of the similar plants.
    Anthemis tinctoria for solitary bees
    Scabious; either something in the Scabiosa or Knautia families.
    Verbena bonariensis

    Plant with specific bee targets:
    Lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina) - grow this to try and tempt some wool carder bees in to your garden
    Campanula harebell (C. rotundifolia) or Peach-leaved bellflower (C. persicifolia) - these will attract bees, plus we have a bee, harebell carpenter-bee (Chelostoma campanularum) that primarily feeds on campanual plants. 

  • bullfinchbullfinch SurreyPosts: 567
    Bumble bees really love the oriental poppies in our garden.
  • Thanks everyone. Some great ideas there. Looking them up now ahead of a trip to the garden centre tomorrow! Exciting!
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