helping bees in the city

only search Urban Bees

Plants for Bees and other pollinators

Trees for Bees and other pollinators

Plants flowering in
February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October


click to download PDF Bees only eat nectar and pollen from flowering plants and trees. As they collect their food they pollinate the plants, allowing them to reproduce. Towns and cities can provide a diverse source of forage in gardens, parks, tree-lined streets and railway sidings if bee-friendly flowers are grown from early spring to late autumn.

This is not an exhaustive list, but a simple, year-round guide of the most attractive, easy to grow garden plants to bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies. It includes natives and non-natives, from early flowering bulbs, shrubs and climbers, which provide vital early pollen for bumblebees and solitary bees, through to late flowering shrubs whose nectar boosts stores for honeybees. Some solitary bees also collect nest material from flowers such as Stachys bzantina (Lambs’ ear).

Bees like blue, purple, violet and white flowers best, grown in large clumps in a sunny, sheltered spot. They do not like double headed varieties whose nectar and pollen has often been bred out. Wild flowers like dandelions, clover, dead-nettles and alkanet provide welcome food for our urban neighbours. And the roof of a garden shed carpeted with sedum, heathers and lavenders will be a feast. Ivy, privet and holly are among the most abundant sources of food if they are allowed to flower.

Bee-friendly flowers make urban areas more attractive places in which to live and work. If we make cities better for bees and pollinators, they are better for us too.

Plants flowering in February
Helleborus niger
Christmas rose
Eranthis hyemalis
Winter aconite
Galanthus nivalis
Snowdrop
Crocus tommasinianus
Crocus
Mahonia aquifolium
Oragan grape
Lonicera fragrantissima
Winter honeysuckle
Plants flowering in March
Primula vulgaris
Primose
Pulmonaria
Lungwort
Bergenia
Elephant’s Ear
Aubrieta
Erysimum (esp.
‘Bowles’s Mauve’)
Wallflowers
Taraxacum officinale
Dandelion
Erica carnea
Heather
Cyclamen
Plants flowering in April
Rosmarinus officinalis
Rosemary
Myosotis
Forget-me-not
Ajuga reptans
Bugle
Lunaria annua
Honesty
Pentaglottis
Alkanet
Ribes
Flowering currant
Lamium
Dead-nettle
Choisya ternate
Mexican orange blossom
Cirsium rivulare atropurpureum
Brook thistle
Ceanothus
California lilac
Plants flowering in May
Lotus corniculatus
Bird’s foot trefoil
Allium
Digitalis purpurea
Foxglove
Nepeta
Catmint
Symphytum officinalis
Comfrey
Trifolium repens
White clover
Cotoneaster
Pyracantha
Firethorn
Ilex aquifolium
Holly
Plants flowering in June
Stachys byzantina
Lambs’ ear
Limnanthes douglasii
Poached egg flower
Ligustrum japonicum
Privet
Lonicera periclymenum
Common honeysuckle
Lavandula angustifolia
Common lavender
Escallonia
Geranium (esp. Jolly Bee/ Rozanne/ Johnson’s Blue)
Cranesbill
Cerinthe major
Honeywort
Malva sylvestris
Common mallow
Plants flowering in July
Verbena bonariensis
Echium vulgare
Viper’s bugloss
Echinacea purpurea
Purple coneflower
Monarda didyma
Bergamot/Bee balm
Trifolium pratense
Red clover
Lavandula intermedia grosso
Lavender ‘grosso’
Allium sphaerocephalon
Round-headed leek
Borago officinalis
Borage
Centaurea nigra
Knapweed
Buddleia davidii
Butterfly-bush
Plants flowering in August
Cosmea
Cosmos
Alcea rosea
Hollyhock
Hebe brachysiphon
White gem
Echinops
Globe thistle
Agastache foeniculum
Anise hyssop
Helianthus annuus
Sunflower
Eupatorium
Hemp agrimony
Calluna vulgaris
Ling heather
Parthenocissus tricuspidata
Boston Ivy

Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Virginia creeper

Plants flowering in September
Sedum spectabile
Ice plant
Hedera helix
Ivy
Aster amellus
Michaelmas daisy
Origanum vulgare
Wild marjoram
Salvia nemorosa
Woodland sage
Solidago
Goldenrod
Anemone x hybrida
Japenese anemone
Actaea
Bugbane
Plants flowering in October
Choisya ternata
Orange Mexican blossom (2nd flowering)
Penstemon
Abelia
Bee bush
Caryopteris x clandonensis
Bluebeard
Rudbeckia hirta
Black-eyed Susan
Colchicum autumnale
Autumn crocus

Plants for Bees and other pollinators

Trees for Bees and other pollinators

NOTE Urban Bees' bee-friendly plant list was devised by watching bees in various gardens, parks, urban green spaces and garden centres throughout a year and from researching plant lists such as the RHS Perfect for Pollinators Plant List. Its aim is to help you transform a small garden into a pollinator paradise throughout the year by recommending flowers and shrubs - some of them considered wildflowers or weeds - that are easily grown and are very attractive to bees. Many have been chosen because they flower for several months or more than once a year. We hope that by using this guide your garden will be buzzing with bees from February to October.