Bee & Butterfly Friendly Plants

We've just dug up an overcrowded border & are now looking to plant new bee & butterfly friendly plants, be it shrubs, climbers, flowers etc.

I'm a novice at gardening so not too sure on what plants to plant. The border is approximately 5.2m long & 1m wide & is south facing so gets a lot of sunlight all year round.

There is a wall about 2m high at the rear of the border which we have fixed trellis across the top half.

Any help would be most grateful!!!



  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 14,526

    Hi. Here is a link that should assist you:

    If the link doesn't work just copy and paste it into your browser.

    May you find a lucky four leaved clover in your garden today. There is a 1:10000 chance!
  • When I started planning my new borders I wanted to make them wildlife/bee friendly as well. There is a great variety available both in seed and plant form and nearly all of the major online suppliers mark their products so you will be able to spot them when you look and find out if they are suitable for your soil etc. A few of the ones that I like flower wise and perennial wise are:

    Alyssum saxatile 'Gold Dust'
    Campanula Clips
    Dianthus 'Rainbow Loveliness'  

    Foxgloves - any colour

    Lupins - any colour


    Lavender 'Munstead Dwarf'

    I'm sure the more knowledgeable plants people on here will be able to suggest many more but it's a few to get you started.

  • Muddle-UpMuddle-Up Posts: 9,275


    If you have room, Abertawescott, plant a few buddleias ( I think they're now called 'buddlja' in some catalogues )  - it's not known as the 'Butterfly Bush' for nothing!  Lots to choose from, easy shrubs, do well in full sun or partial shade.  Bees seem to prefer purple shades, and so do butterflies!

    Verbena bonariensis - also mauve/purple - again, bees and butterflies love these.  It's not hardy for me in the NE, but may be further south.  Tall and airy, lovely plant.

    Lavender, yes, as Grannys Bonnet recommends above.  And the aquilegias ( easy from seed, even now, although they may not flower till next year - perennial, lovely ).  Foxgloves, yes, lupins, yes, especially for bees.

    Good old snapdragon - Antirrhinum - bees adore these!  Annuals but smashing, old-fashioned plant in loads of colours!

    There are so many bee and butterfly-friendly plants, you're spoiled for choice!

    Here's a foxglove in my garden a few years back....with Friend!

    I don't like change. 
    It wears holes in my trouser pockets.
  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 311


    I keep honeybees and try and plant a succession of things so that they have food sources from early spring onwards. Snowdrop and aconites are both great early plants .... and will disappear underground by late spring leaving a space for something else to follow.

    Phacelia tanacetifolia, poppies and Limnanthes douglasii(also known as poached egg plants) are all easy from seed and will seed about for future years. Borage is also very popular with bees and butterflies. 

    Finally, you can't beat sedums for late summer.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 11,081

    Knautia macedonica" melton pastels" and Cephalaria gigantea are  loved by bees.

    Jasmine or honeysuckle "Graham Thomas" would be good on the trellis, as would any wisteria or Single flowered clematis.

    Any umbellifer is good for hoverflys, bronze fennel is easy from seed, Anthiscus sylvestris "Ravenswing" adds a change of colour. Ammi Majus sown late this year will form big early flowering plants for next year.

    It's not a mess, it's a nature reserve.
  • LesleyKLesleyK Posts: 4,030


    Centaura Montana is a magnet for bees too and it just keeps going if you deadhead it.  The only downside is that it can seed itself about fairly generously.

  • jabsyjabsy Posts: 53

    every time I've passed a Cotoneaster in flower the bees seem to be addicted to it, it's usually the plant where I've seen the most bees together.  

    I love Foxgloves and try to grow as many as i can. 

  • Alan Clark2Alan Clark2 Posts: 607

    Cotoneaster horizontalis is perfect for growing against a south facing wall, and bees love it. 

    Purple toadflax is also extremely good for bees.

    If you go to a garden centre or gardens open to the public you can see for yourself what the insects like best. There are plenty of plants to choose from.

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,122

    If you go to the RHS website they have a PDF file you can download which contains so many plants you'll he spoilt for choice.

  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 829

    In addition to what has already been mentioned, alliums particularly Christophii, garlic chives, ordinary chives and hollandicum. Also catmint, the thymes, and most other herbs. Good shrubs are  escallonia, teucrium fruticans, some caenothus', honeysuckle and loads more.

    A good tip is to visit nurseries and garden centres on warm sunny days and see what plants pollinating insects are visiting. Also in general, go for single flowers and avoid the doubles as maby insects can't find their way in.

  • shazza 3shazza 3 Posts: 30

    hello, I've bought quite a few nice plants in Morrison's and it usually tells you on the lables that they are good for insects/bees/butterflies. also wyvale put good info on their plants/labels as well. don't forget when you plant your shrubs, to keep them well - watered for the first year to help them establish a good root run. have a look on the RHS website which gives lots of information on this subject.

    good luck and enjoy image 

  • Mark56Mark56 Berkshire, UKPosts: 1,386

    pyracantha bush is my most visited by bee's. 4-5 on it as we speak. Salvia & obviously lavender, they quite like my hardy geraniums and delphiniums as well. 

    Last edited: 08 June 2016 17:45:55

  • Mark56Mark56 Berkshire, UKPosts: 1,386


  • ecokidecokid Posts: 137

    In regards to butterflies specifically, i've found sedum, yarrow and erysimum ( Bowles Mauve esp) to be especially enticing. There are smaller versions of buddleia if you dont want a giant.

    As others have said cotoneaster is a bee magnet - but my raspberries are even more popular. image

    Last edited: 08 June 2016 23:30:27

  • At this time if year my Ceanothus literally buzzes as you walk past it. They grow pretty fast if you want a large shrub for the area.

  • Sophie17Sophie17 Posts: 342

    Poached egg plants are definitely a winner in my book. So far this year the bees have gone nuts for my alliums, the Lupins, snapdragon (I was surprised) my spring flowering hebe, foxgloves, blueberries, violas and have just started sniffing round my lilies 

  • CeresCeres Posts: 1,492

    Cranesbills (hardy geraniums) and nepeta. They are covered in bees at the moment (or they would be if it wasn't raining). I'm suffering a touch of deja vu here as I am sure I typed the same thing last year.

  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 4,862

    Even though it was mizzly and wet earlier my Weigela Bristol Ruby were both covered in bees this morning. My lupins have been alive with bees this year too.

  • Louise BLouise B Posts: 81

    I'm a novice too but when I was looking to attract bees I had the most success with a load of giant catmint. It seemed to always be flowering and always full off bees.

    I've tried loads of advertised bee friendly plants with little interest from bees.

    As for butterflies, someone helpfully told me if you want loads of butterflies you don't just need to feed them but provide them with plants hey like to lay their eggs on and for the caterpillars to eat. Do some research into which butterflies you can hope to see and where they like to lay their eggs. I was told that nettles are a good start xx

  • I have a large-ish garden and have made a special effort to design with butterfly and bee-friendly plants where possible. Of all of the plants in my garden, the cotoneaster is by far the best when it comes to attracting bees. The whole thing is literally crawling with bees between May and July. My butterfly bush is best for butterflies. It deserves it's name.

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