There are around 270 species of bee in the UK and each has a huge role to play in pollinating the country's plants, helping them to grow, breed and produce food. These pollination effects are believed to be worth £691 million to the UK’s food industry, but due to environmental damage including habitat loss and the use of pesticides, 17 species have already become regionally extinct in the east of the UK, with a further 25 species at risk.
However, there are things we can all do to help. The UK’s largest independent online florist, Serenata Flowers, has shared the 8 flowers to plant to attract bees. Whether you've got a vast field for a back garden or a single plant pot outside a window, planting just one of these pollinator-friendly flowers will do good and help save the bees, saving us humans at the same time.
“Bees are a crucial part of our eco system and we should be doing everything we can to support them, whilst they carry out their important job of pollination. A simple window box with some easy-to-grow herbs like rosemary or a small planter to nurture irises can offer a tasty lunch spot for a busy bee and enable them to keep doing the great work they do.”
Lucia Polla, Marketing Manager at Serenata Flowers
These tiny flowers are often one of the first to push through the snow each year, and as spring arrives, are a fantastic source of food for bees during the colder months of the season. Honeybees mix the fresh pollen with honey to create bee bread which they then take back to the hive to feed the colony.
We’re not the only creatures who enjoy the vibrant purple colour and relaxing scent of lavender - bees have been found to love it too. Create a window box display centred around lavender to attract pollinators and as a bonus you’ll enjoy the refreshing scent of lavender every time you open the window. This hearty plant should return to flower each year and is incredibly low maintenance.
These dramatic flowers are a timeless classic and are a feast for bees. Sunflowers can grow to enormous heights and act like beacons for buzzing bees who can’t get enough of their nectar and pollen. What’s more, once the flower is finished blooming you can save the seeds for planting later or add some to your dinner.
Zinnias are a honeybee’s favourite food. Low to the ground and often found with an abundance of colourful buds, these flowers are sure to attract bees to your garden. Blooming in the late summer and early autumn, Zinnias will add colour to your garden in the late season and keep the bees returning for months.
Offering a huge landing pad, these flowers attract bees in their dozens and unlike many flowers, produce large quantities of nectar throughout the day. The bright colours are an extra attraction for our buzzing friends and will keep your garden looking vibrant. These plants can survive very cold winters making them the ideal bee-magnet for a British garden.
The striking purple and white colouring of Iris's helps them stand out against foliage and attract bees. They can flourish in shallow soil and even in light shade, making them ideal balcony plants and well suited to gardens that have limited hours of sunlight, such as in built up areas.
Before it ends up on supermarket shelves, Rosemary sprouts small purple blooms which bees can’t get enough of. This delicious smelling plant and herb makes a great addition to window boxes, and flowers all year round.
Apple Blossom is the favourite flower of queen bees, the bees responsible for laying eggs and keeping the population thriving. Enjoy the spring months trying to spot the royal visitor as she stops for her lunch.