BIG BEE WEEKEND – MY BIG BEE PLANT LIST to bring our lovely weekend bee focused group event to a slow down….

Keep reading for the list –

My Favourite pollinators friendly plants, based on what I have observed carefully over the years as a gardener for wildlife using both cultivated and wild plants.

** I am being very harsh with this list and only putting my 10/10 and 9/10 plants on here – there are loads more who nearly make the list and are very worthy, but this is my absolute top of the top notch plants for pollinators list**

I have scored them like this:

1) ‘Mobbed’ with pollinators almost right through the flowering period (abundance and variety of visitors). For example; Bramble comes into this category.

2) Sometimes ‘mobbed’ but definitely less full than those that score 10/ visits in spits and spots but still very popular indeed with a constant back and forth of pollinators.

3) Other factors – where a plant is maybe a 9, I have sometimes added a point if I know for instance, that the quality of pollen and nectar is really good (legumes for instance) or value at a time of year when there is little else to forage on and so on.

🙂 Wild plants, cultivated plants, herbs, shrubs and trees, in my experience of neutral through to chalky soil:

Comfrey – Yes 10/10

Pulmonaria – Yes 10/10

Stachys (both cultivated and wild) – Yes 10/10

Bramble flowers -Yes 10/10

Foxgloves (a variety of species including Digitalis purpurea and Digitalis ferruginia) – Yes 10/10

Mint – Yes 10/10

Rosemary – Yes 10/10

Thyme – Yes 10/10

Chives – Yes 10/10

Hysopp – Yes 9/10

Sage – Yes 9/10

Lemon balm – Yes 10/10

Oregano – Yes 10/10

Borage – Yes 10/10

Ribes – Yes 10/10

Poached egg plant – Yes 10/10

Lavender – yes 10/10

Cerinthe major purperascens – Yes 10/10

Loosestrife – Yes 10/10

Tansy – Yes 10/10

Common daisy – Yes 10/10

Red valerian/white valerian – Yes 9/10 (look out for hummingbird hawk moths) Edit – now raised to 10/10 for other good moth activity.

Buddleia – Yes 10/10

Teasel – Yes 10/10

Wild honeysuckle – Yes 10/10

Muscari – Yes 10/10

Linaria (all) – Yes 10/10

Wild thistle species (all) – Yes 10/10

Heather (calluna vulgaris) – Yes 10/10

Deutzia – Yes 10/10

Phacelia – Yes 10/10

Dahlia (open faced) – Yes 10/10

Hellenium – Yes 10/10

Geranium phaeum _Yes 10/10

Geranium macrorrhizum – Yes 10/10

Astrantia – Yes 9/10

Geranium Orion (The list is long with geraniums and you can mostly assume they are very good but those three are my top ones) – Yes 10/10

Centaurea montana – Yes 10/10

Nasturtium -Yes 10/10

Knautia (all sp inc wild) – Yes 10/10

Ivy flowers – Yes 10/10

Cistus – Yes 9/10

Heauchera – Yes 9/10

Cirsium rivulare atropurpureum – Yes 10/10

Echinops – Yes 10/10

Dog rose (& open faced roses) – Yes 10/10

Dandelion – Yes 10/10

Climbing hydrangea – Yes 10/10 ( I have observed this is popular with Tree bumblebees)

Sunflower – Yes 10/10

Hellebore – Yes when a winter bee flys past! V important 10/10

Mahonia – Yes when a winter bee flys past (as above) 10/10

Hedge woundwort – Yes 10/10

Black horehound – Yes 10/10

Veronicastrum _ yes 10/10

Bugle – Yes 10/10

Ground Ivy – Yes 10/10

Vetch (all species) – Yes 10/10

Wild carrot – yes 10/10

Knapweed (all) – Yes (I particularly notice leaf cutter bees like this to forage on in my community garden) 10/10

Monkshood – Yes 10/10 (with caution)

Cherry blossom – Yes 10/10

Crocus – Yes 10/10

Lupin – Yes 10/10

Monarda – Yes 10/10

Hemp agrimony – Yes 10/10

Cephalria – Yes 9/10

Fennel – Yes 10/10

Hollyhock – Yes 10/10

Santolina – Yes 10/10

Nepeta – Yes 10/10

Calamintha – Yes 10/10

Cynara cardunculus – Yes 10/10

Agastache – Yes 10/10

Echinacea – Yes 10/10

Nectaroscordum siculum – Yes 10/10

Allium purple sensation (and all other such as sphaerocephalon) – Yes 10/10

Aster – Yes 10/10

Penstemon – Yes 10/10

Sanguisorba – Yes 10/10

Phlomis – Yes 10/10

Sedum – Yes 10/10

Verbasum – Yes

Feverfew – yes 9/10

Cosmos – Yes 9/10

Verbena bonariensis/rigida – Yes 9/10

Calendula – Yes 9/10

Campanula – all varieties – Yes 10/10

Red campion – Yes 9/10

Red clover – Yes 10/10

Wisteria – Yes 10/10

Eryngium – Yes 10/10

Sainfoin – Yes 10/10

Hawthorn – Yes 10/10

Willow – Yes 10/10

Gooseberry – Yes 10/10

Tomato – Yes (bumbles) 10/10

Raspberry – Yes 10/10

Japanese wineberry – Yes 10/10

(Most fruit, and veg; like runner beans!)

Cotoneaster – Yes 10/10 (particularly see the Early bumblebee on horizontalis sp a lot)

Hebe – Yes 10/10 depending on species.

Convolvulus – Yes 10/10

Privet – Yes 10/10

Broom – Yes 10/10

Coronilla – Yes 10/10

White Dead nettle – Yes 10/10

Salvia (varity of) – Yes 10/10

Perovskia – Yes 9/10

Aquilegia – Yes 10/10

Black medic – Yes 10/10 (I have noticed Red-tailed Bumblebees really like this)

Ox-eye daisy – Yes 10/10 (This has attracted a number of interesting beetles in my garden too)

Buttercup – Yes 10/10 (all species)

I have raided my visual memory for each of these plants, so if you want to vote for another 9/10 or 10/10 do say and we’ll compare it against some of the best to see if it makes the list! I am quite sure there will be others – as I am doing this ‘on the fly’ a little bit! Pardon the pollinator pun! 🤣

AT SOME POINT – I will put my list into some kind of order to create a savable Bees Knees PDF