Plants for Bees


Why are Bees Important
Imagine a world without strawberries, kiwifruit, apples, nuts, coffee, chocolate or even denim jeans! And that’s only the beginning. One mouthful in three and nearly _ of the diversity of our daily food is directly attributed to Bee pollination. Billions of dollars in NZ export earnings depend on bee pollination. And so do many plants in your garden.

What is happening to our Bees?
Honey bees all around the world are in decline because of Varroa mite infestations and other threats. Pesticide misuse is killing bees. Habitat degradation takes away flowers which supply nectar and pollen, their essential food. Bees are now dependent on humans to protect them.

What can you do about it? – Be Bee Friendly!
Do not spray harmful chemicals ….. check labels
Provide fresh pesticide-free drinking water for bees.
Plant good nectar and pollen sources in your garden to nourish bees ….



Insectory plants with blue, white and yellow flower to attract pollinators such as bees, wasps, moths, flies

Umbelliferous plants – Carrot family –dill, coriander, parsnip, queen annes lace, celery, turnip, anise, fennel, parsley and caraway

Asteraceae family – daisies, tansy, goldern rod, yarrow, cosmos, thistle, dandelion, artichoke, ageratum, marigold, sunflower, calendula, buckwheat, phacelia

Herbal leys – to replenish soil and attract beneficial insects and pollinators- lupin , clover, rye grass , prairie grass, wild flower mixes, lupin, chicory, phacelia, buckwheat, alfalfa

Green Manures & Nitrogen Fixing crops – mustard, lupin, nasturtium, alyssum, beans, vetch, buckwheat,beans, peas

Bee –friendly Kitchen and Herb plants

• Basil (Ocimum basilicum)• Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) • Cucumber, melon (Cucumis spp.) • Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)• Pot marigold (Calendula offi cinalis) • Sage (Salvia offi cinalis) • Squash, pumpkin (Cucurbita spp.)• Sunfl ower (Helianthus annuus) • Sweet corn (Zea mays)Trees, shrubs and climbers• Apple (Malus spp.) • Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) • Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) • Lavender (Lavandula spp.) • Lemon, orange, grapefruit (Citrus spp.) • Pear (Pyrus spp.) • Plum, peach (Prunus spp.) • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Chives and onions (Allium spp.),Borage (Borago officinalis),Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis),Mints (Mentha spp.),Catmints (Nepeta spp.) Creganos (Origanum spp.), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis),Rue (Ruta graveolens) Sage (Salvia officinalis),Thyme (Thymus spp.

Bee-friendly Ornamental Flower Plants

Herbaceous • Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) • Cornflower (Centaurea spp.) • Hollyhock (Alcea spp.)• Michaelmas daisy (Aster novae-angliae) • Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia) • Penstemon (Penstemon spp.) • Salvia (Salvia spp.) • Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) • Zinnia (Zinnia spp.)Trees, shrubs and climbers • Australian gum (Eucalyptus spp.) • Bottlebrush (Callistemon spp.)• Cabbage tree (Cordyline australis • Harakeke, NZ Flax (Phormium tenax)* • Koromiko (Heb spp., e.g., H. macrocarpa • Lemonwood, koru (Pittosporum spp.)* • NZ jasmine (Parsonsia heterophylla)*• NZ Lacebark (Hoheria populnea)* • Pohutukawa, rata (Metrosideros spp.)* • Rewarewa (Knightia excelsa)*• Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) • Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)

Bumblebee on a dandelion

Design garden to include key beneficial insect attractant plants

Plants For Bees through the Seasons


Mahonia, Winter Aconite ,Crocus, Daffodil ,Genista, Dicentra, Pulmonaria (Lungwort), Gorse (Ulex)Rosemary (Rosemarinus), Flowering Currant (Ribes), Primrose (Primula vulgaris).Bluebell (Choose native varieties),Cowslip (Choose native varieties), Snakeshead (Fritillaria meleagris), Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima, Lonicera purpusii),Barberry (Berberis) (Lamium),Bugle (Ajuga), Ground Ivy, Snowdrops (Galanthes) – single flowered varieties,Winter Heathers (Erica carnea),Lenten rose ( Helleborus orienta), Tree Lucerne

Spring & Early-Summer Flowers

Forget-me-not (Myosotis)- pictured above, Foxglove (Digitalis),Crane’s-bill (Geranium),Poppy (Papaver), Chives, Bugle (Ajuga),Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus acris),Borage officinalis,Crocus, Comfrey (Malus),Honey Suckle (Lonicera),Passion Flower (Passiflora),Muscari,Thyme,Sweetpea (Lathyrus),Campanula.Lupin (Lupinus),Rosa rugosa,Sea Holly (Eryngium),Columbine (Aquilegia),Penstemon,Salvia,Hebe,Allium,Agapanthus,Bluebell, , crab apple, daffodil, flowering cherry and currant, hawthorn, hellebore (Helleborus corsicus, H. foetidus), pulmonaria, pussy willow, rhododendron, rosemary, viburnum, thrift (Armeria maritima).,Geranium flower, astilbe, campanula, comfrey, everlasting sweet pea (Lathyrus latifolius), fennel, foxglove, geranium, potentilla, snapdragon, stachys, teasel, thyme, verbascum.

Late-Summer Autumn Flowers

Angelica, aster, buddleia, cardoon, cornflower (Centaurea), dahlia (single-flowered), delphinium, eryngium, fuchsia, globe thistle (Echinops), heather, ivy, lavender, penstemon, scabious, sedum, Verbena bonariensis. Scorpion Weed (Phacelia tanacetifolia),Purple Loosestrife,Sedum,Golden Rod (Solidago),Cornflower,Red Hot Poker (Knifophia),Veronica,Salvia,Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) ,Salvia,Verbascum,Scabiosa,Lavender, Watermint ,Snapdragon (Antirrhinum),Nepeta (Catmint),Bugle (Ajuga),Bergenia ,Hellebores ,Hollyhock ,Bergamot,Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens) ,Verbena,Raspberry (especially the Autumn raspberryCosmos (Cosmos spp.),California poppy (Eschscholzia californica),Sunflower* (Helianthus annuus),Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens),Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) Breadseed poppy (Papaver somniferum),Portulaca* (Portulaca spp.),Blue anise sage (Salvia guaranitica),Profusion and common zinnias* (Zinnia spp.)Ageratum, Agastache, Celosia, Sunflower Dianthus, Marigold,Cosmos, Asters, Sunflowers, Chrysanthemum daisy ,Snapdragon, Amaranthus, lupins, Sage, Basil, Cornflower, Verbena,,Wallflower and Zinnia.

Compiled by Earthcare Education Aotearoa: Localising Food Project
Information in part sourced from Trees For Bees NZ