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How to create a bee friendly garden

How to create a bee friendly garden

Pollinating insects like bees and butterflies are crucial to our planet’s ecosystem. Sadly, the number of these pollinator species is in decline, with some even facing extinction. However, there are some simple things you can do to aid their survival, such as planting and growing valuable pollinator friendly plants in your garden

Having pollinator-friendly plants in your garden not only provides wildlife with essential food and shelter, but you also get the added benefit of an extra buzz outdoors – there’s nothing quite like sitting back in the sun and enjoying the gentle fluttering of bees and butterflies. Plus, the show of wonderfully colourful plants feels extra special when you know you’re also doing your bit to help the environment

 There are many plants and flowers suited to pollinators readily available in-store and online, so we’ve pulled together some of the best (and prettiest!) ones to pop into your garden beds, patio pots, or hanging baskets to help those beloved bees and other insects

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Pollinating insects like bees are essential for the environment. We need them for our own food and medicine production, food for other wildlife, plus the growth of many different plants. As they travel between flowers, they pollinate them, which enables plants to set seed or bear fruit

Unfortunately, bees and other pollinators are facing extinction. But don’t worry just yet! You can help pollinators survive by planting flowers which provide them with food and shelter and help with their survival 


Pollinators need sources of nectar and pollen to live. Flowering plants can provide bees and insects with these essential resources that will help them thrive. Check out our list of some of the best - and prettiest - bedding flowers and hardy plants you can plant in your garden to help: 

How to create a bee friendly garden

Lady's Bedstraw (Galium Verum)

This free-spreading flower is perfect for a natural and wild meadow styled garden. It has tiny yellow flowers, and its stems can grow to 1.2m long – perfect for those bees looking for a quick pit-stop

When to plant: Spring or autumn

Flowers: Mid to late summer


These flowers are valuable for helping pollinators in the early season. The pretty, dainty foliage is bold and green, so you have colour all year. Grow more Hellebores by allowing them to self-seed around the garden - each hellebore seedling is unique, so you can grow a range of different colours and shapes for a diverse garden!

When to plant: Spring or autumn 

Flowers: Winter to early spring

Coneflower (Echinacea)

Coneflowers are large flat daises that come in warm colours such as pinks, reds and oranges. They combine well with other late perennial plants and grasses

When to plant: Spring or summer 

Flowers: Late summer

Lavender (Lavandula Angusifolia)

English lavender is more attractive to bees than French or Spanish lavender. Many varieties thrive in pots, so it’s a perfect addition to patios or balconies – it also provides a luxurious and calming scent. Lavender can be left in garden all year, just make sure to prune after the flowering period and it will continue to bloom

When to plant: Spring

Flowers: Summer

Bell Heather (Erica Cinerea)

Another classic garden plant. Its tiny narrow dark green leaves are topped with bursts of small pink, purple or white flowers. Heather’s smell is reminiscent of an early summer day in the countryside

When to plant: Spring

Flowers: Early summer to early autumn

Our plant expert's top tip:

Herbs are very attractive to pollinating insects. Add them between flowers, or dedicate an area outdoors to growing your own herb garden - they also smell wonderful and taste great in meals and drinks

How to create a bee friendly garden

Primrose (Primula Vulgaris)

Primroses provide late winter and early spring colour. These flowers make for great bedding plants and work well in containers and window boxes for smaller gardens or outdoor spaces. They come in many different colours, so you can create the perfect palette for spring gardens

When to plant: Early spring or late winter

Flowers: Spring

Ice Plant (Sedum Spectabile) 

Despite their name, ice plants love full sun and are tolerant to dry spells. Their showy, bushy, clumps of beautiful flat flowers start off white and change to pink with the season

When to plant: Spring

Flowers: Summer to autumn

Wild Foxglove (Digitalis Purpurea)

These stunning and uniquely bell-shaped flowers are easy to grow and are an iconic addition to any romantic garden

When to plant: Spring

Flowers: Late spring to summer

Verbena (Verbena Bonariensis)

Clusters of small purple flowers are found at the end of this plant’s tall stems, which look beautiful and whimsical swaying in the gentle summer breeze. Verbenas are ideal for wild looking natural gardens or cottage gardens. Another hardy plant that enjoys full sun exposure

When to plant: Early summer

Flowers: Late summer to autumn

Aubretia 'Purple Cascade'

Reminiscent of forget-me-nots, Aubretia plants are great for plating around path edges or cascading down walls. Alternatively, the bright purple and pink flowers looks lovely as an infill under tall spring plants like tulips for a fuller looking garden

When to plant: Spring or autumn

Flowers: Spring to early summer


  • Allow lawn weeds like Dandelions to flower every so often

  • Include water sources for wildlife in your garden via a pond or birdbath

  • Avoid using pesticides in your garden where you can, and never spray them on open flowers. If you are going to use pesticides, then spray early morning or late evening when bees and other wildlife aren’t active

  • Provide a nesting site for bees – this can be made by simply attaching a wooden box to a wall or fence and filling it with hollow tubes such as bamboo sticks