37 Flowering Plants That Will Attract Honeybees

Looking for some plants that will attract honeybees to your garden this season? There are many different flowering plants to choose from, depending on your hardiness zone. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss shares her favorite flowers that will bring bees and other pollinators to your garden.

Blanket Flower with Honeybee Feeding Pollinating


As a beekeeper, I am constantly working toward making my own garden more appealing to my bees. However, I would be lying if I told you that my honeybees are constantly bustling around in my own yard rather than flying to visit my neighbors flowering trees whenever they are in bloom. The truth is, bees like to conserve their energy. 

The best way to attract honeybees to your garden is to provide them with a space where they can collect a lot of pollen and nectar without having to fly a long distance to get to the next flower.

When my blackberries are blooming, for example, I regularly see the little white flowers as my bees fly from one to another, enjoying the sweet nectar they hold, and spreading that golden pollen, ensuring a robust harvest for me in a few weeks.

Bee’s vision differs from ours in terms of what colors they can see. In general, bees are most attracted to flowers in the colors blue, violet, and purple. They are actively agitated by the colors black, brown, and red, as these commonly represent a threat to their environment.

Bees are actually unable to see the color red at all, and it appears as black to them. But don’t pull out your red flowers just yet, red is a hummingbird’s favorite color, and butterflies love it as well

In this article, I will tell you about the plants that I see honeybees visiting most frequently. The real trick, though, to planting a pollinator garden is grouping. The more appealing flowers in one spot, the more likely you are to see those cute little striped pollinators. 

African Blue Basil

The African Blue Basil flower has beautiful purple spikes with long stamens and delicate petals. The basil leaves are green and purple in color, with a slightly fuzzy texture. The stems are sturdy and woody, branching out from the base to support the flowering spikes.
This is an edible ornamental plant that bees prefer for its lavender flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Ocimum kilimandscharicum x basilicum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 24”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-10 as annual, 10+ as perennial

African Blue Basil is an ornamental basil. Although it is edible, it doesn’t have the same pleasing flavor as other types… unless you’re a bee! Bees love this plant and will seek it out and favor it even in a garden full of other, more fragrant flowers. It has lavender flowers that form in clusters at the ends of the stems. 

Although it is supposed to be perennial above hardiness zone 10, I live in zone 8 and was delighted to see that my African Blue Basil is growing back this spring.

We had an especially long, hard freeze for this climate, which is a testament to the hardiness of these plants. This basil blooms throughout the summer and fall, and it is always covered in pollinators of all types. It is a true must-have for any pollinator garden.


A close-up of Alfalfa flowers which are tiny and purple, clustered together at the end of the stems. The leaves are small, pointed, and green in color, while the stems are thin and flexible. There are green grasses in the blurred background.
This plant has purple blossoms that draw pollinators and enhances the condition of the soil.
botanical-name botanical name Medicago sativa
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 2’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-9

Alfalfa is a plant that depends on the honeybee as much as they depend upon it. Honeybees are one of two main pollinators for alfalfa crops.

Because of its prolific nature, alfalfa is a main staple in the diet of honeybees as well. Because it continues to bloom during the hotter months of the summer, it is a great source of pollen and nectar when many other flowers are finished blooming for the year.

Alfalfa is very drought tolerant and produces lots of bright purple flowers, which bees can see from quite a distance. It is also considered a cover crop, as it improves the quality of the soil, so it is a great crop to rotate through your vegetable beds to revive the soil.

Alsike Clover

The Alsike Clover plants shown have small, pinkish-white blooms that resemble miniature roses. The leaves are lance-shaped, and vibrant green in color. The stems are long and slender, rising up from a cluster of leaves, and are topped with delicate flowers.
Alsike clover is highly regarded as the optimal clover for honey production.
botanical-name botanical name trifolium hybridum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 2’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Bees will visit most types of clover, but Alsike is probably their favorite and is also great for other plants in the garden. Clover plants are nitrogen fixers, which means that they gather nitrogen to the soil.

This makes them an excellent cover crop, in addition to their bountiful supply of nectar, which the bees go wild for. 

Alsike clover is considered the best clover for honey. They bloom for a very long time. Flowers begin to appear in the spring and last through the summer. This clover does well in wetter soil types and is exceptionally cold-tolerant.

Anise Hyssop

A close-up of Anise Hyssop plants which have dense clusters of tiny, light purple flowers forming spikes at the top of stems. The leaves are a bright green color, with a lance-like shape and a slightly fuzzy texture. The stems are strong and sturdy, able to support the weight of the flowering spikes.
Since this plant quickly self-seeds, it should be trimmed out to prevent having it take over the entire yard.
botanical-name botanical name Agastache foeniculum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Part Sun
height height 2’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Anise Hyssop is another plant that I see covered with bees on a daily basis. Much like African Blue Basil, this plant has a very long blooming season. The leaves have a wonderful scent, and it makes wonderful filler in a cut flower bouquet. Its pale purple flowers are very attractive to many different types of bees

Anise hyssop is not to be confused with other types of anise. You won’t harvest any of those tasty pods for baking from this plant, but it will draw bees from far and wide.

It is cold hardy and reseeds itself readily, so it needs to be thinned out in the spring unless you want a yard full of it, and these offshoots are easy to transplant.


Several Aster flowers feature large, showy blooms composed of many delicate purple petals and yellow centers. The leaves are small, and bright green in color. The stems are sturdy, flexible, and green in color.
With 90 native species in North America, these plants serve as a food source for pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Aster
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 1’-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Another purple flower that blooms well into the hottest summer months and into the fall, aster is a pollinator favorite. It draws bees and butterflies with its promise of an ample nectar supply. In addition to bees, I see monarch butterflies visiting my aster daily as they prepare for their winter migration.

There are around 90 species of the plant that are native to North America, making them not only a pretty, delicate ornamental but also a major food source for pollinators.

They are versatile in their environmental needs, and they readily reseed, so they will come back every year.

Autumn Fire Sedum

A close-up of the Autumn Fire Sedum flower reveals its rich and vibrant hues of red and pink. It is made up of tiny, delicate petals, arranged in a circular pattern. The green leaves in the blurred background provide a nice contrast to the fiery blossoms.
Sedum’s pink flowers bloom late and attract bees, despite being hard to see.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum telephium ‘Autumn Fire’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 15”-18”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Plants in the sedum family are considered succulents, and these perennials produce beautiful clusters of pink flowers late in the year, all the way up to the first freeze of the winter. Their pink flowers are not easy for bees to see, but they will find their way here and be generously rewarded by this late bloomer. 

While there are many varieties of sedum, this one is a particular favorite of pollinators because it provides a lot of nectar at a time when food is scarce. Planting this will help honeybees stock up for winter. 

Bee Balm

Several Bee Balm plants are shown. The vibrant pink flowers are tube-shaped, with a curved upper lip and a wider lower lip, and they sit atop thin, green stems. The leaves are slightly serrated and dark green.
To prevent fungal infection, it’s essential to plant it in an area with good air circulation.
botanical-name botanical name Monarda
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 1’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 1’-4’

Bee balm is one of the biggest growers in my garden. This plant will quickly fill in space and produce wonderful flower heads covered in small tubular flowers that are very attractive to pollinators.

They come in white, pink, red, and purple, with purple being the obvious choice for bees and red being a huge hummingbird attractor. 

Although bee balm will survive in part shade, it will flower best in full sun. The leaves are prone to fungal infection, so be sure to plant them where they will get plenty of air movement. It can be planted in spring or fall, with spring being the best time to divide and transplant. 

Black Cherry

A close-up of deep purple berries that stand out against the green leaves that surround them. The berries are round and shiny, and they appear to be clustered together in groups on thin, brown branches. The leaves are oval-shaped with pointed tips, and they have a smooth, shiny texture.
Native to North America, the Black Cherry is a large and stunning tree that blooms massively during springtime.
botanical-name botanical name Prunus serotina
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 50’-80’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Black Cherry is a beautiful large tree that is native to North America and is a huge bloomer in the spring. Like other cherry trees, this one is a member of the rose family, and its delicate white flowers are bountiful in late spring and very attractive to bees. 

The flowers bloom on long racemes, each one producing scores of tiny blooms. It is a very cold hardy tree and produces plenty of lovely fall color as well.

The honey produced by bees that feed on black cherry is dark in color and has a thinner consistency. Be careful about this tree around livestock, though, as its leaves contain a form of cyanide, which is toxic to animals and people. 


Close-up of multiple blackberry fruits hanging from thin, thorny stems. The fruits are small and round, and they appear to be clustered together in groups. The green leaves in the blurred background are large and slightly serrated, with a rich, deep green color.
Masses of small white flowers on blackberry plants attract bees and increase yield of companion crops.
botanical-name botanical name Rubus subj. Rubus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-8

I love a plant that feeds both my family and my bees. Blackberries, and most other berries for that matter, are very attractive to bees and other pollinators. This is one of the plants that I see alive with honeybees in the spring. 

The masses of small white flowers provide a plentiful and accessible food source for the bees, and they also encourage the production of tons of delicious berries.

Planting blackberries with other food crops will increase the yield of the companion crop, as bees will come for the blackberries and stay for other sources of pollen and nectar. 

Black-Eyed Susan

A close-up of the Black-Eyed Susans reveals several golden yellow flowers with dark brown centers. The petals are slightly curved, with the tips of the petals pointed downwards. The stems are thin and green, and the leaves are elongated and slightly jagged, with a bright green color.
These fascinating flowers produce an ultraviolet pigment that bees can detect and are attracted to.
botanical-name botanical name Rudbeckia hirta
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 18”-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Black-eyed Susans are a wonderful source of nectar for all types of pollinators. Both honeybees and other native bees can commonly be found feasting on the hundreds of tiny flowers produced in the dark center of these relatives of sunflowers.

That’s right, the dark center of these flowers is a maze of up to 300 tiny individual flowers, which provide bees with a wonderful and accessible nectar source. 

Although bees typically avoid the colors black and brown, these interesting flowers produce an ultraviolet pigment, which bees can detect and are very attracted to.

Black-eyed Susans are very drought-tolerant, and sturdy plants that require very little maintenance. They are a great addition to the pollinator garden.

Blanket Flower

A close-up of the beautiful Blanket Flowers in full bloom, with their striking red and yellow petals. The flowers are relatively small and have a distinctive cone-shaped center. The thin stems, which support the flowers, are also visible.
In early summer, these beautiful bursts of color can brighten your day.
botanical-name botanical name Gaillardia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 12”-18”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

These pretty pops of color will warm your heart when they show up in early summer. Although they are not related to daisies, they bear a strong resemblance to that group of flowering plants.

It is on the Perfect for Pollinators list at the Royal Horticultural Society and is commonly seen teeming with honeybees in the early afternoon.

Blanket flower is an annual, but it freely reseeds itself, so you needn’t worry about replanting every year. They are happiest in full sun and well-drained soil, and they are very drought-tolerant once established. They are native to North America and commonly found growing wild throughout the Southern Plains and Gulf Coast. 


A close-up of vibrant blue-purple Borage flowers, with their delicate, star-shaped petals. The green leaves of the plant are covered in fine white hairs and appear to have a slightly rough texture.
The plant not only attracts beneficial insects like honeybees, but it also repels certain common garden pests.
botanical-name botanical name Borago officinalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full to Part Sun
height height 3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

This herbaceous perennial is a wonder in the garden. Its pretty blue flowers attract pollinators far and wide so much so, that it is commonly used as a companion plant in vegetable gardens. Not only does it attract pollinators like honeybees, it actually deters some common garden pests. 

Borage has been known to boost honey production, so it has been a commonly grown plant for many beekeepers.

It has a long blooming period, from late spring through the fall, making it a wonderful food source for honeybees throughout the warm months. Borage is also commonly used as a medicinal herb for humans.

Butterfly Bush

Butterfly Bush features beautiful pink flowers that have long, tubular shapes and frilly edges. The leaves of the plant are elongated, slightly pointed, and have a green color. The branches are woody and sturdy.
The Blue-Chip variety of butterfly bush produces lovely blue-violet flowers with a vanilla scent that bees love.
botanical-name botanical name Buddleja
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Part Shade
height height up to 15’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-11

Butterfly bush isn’t just for butterflies. Honeybees love this pretty perennial, too! Bees will be most attracted to those flowering in shades of purple, violet, and blue, although orange and yellow will draw honeybees as well. These colors are more visible to them than deeper pinks and reds. 

Bees do a wonderful job of pollinating butterfly bush helping to reseed itself and spread, creating more food for themselves and butterflies. The Blue Chip variety produces wonderful blue-violet, vanilla-scented flowers that bees find very appealing.


A close-up of Clematis flowers composed of delicate, bell-shaped petals in shades of pink and white. The leaves of the plant are large, heart-shaped, and green which provide a beautiful backdrop to the flowers. In the background, we can see the lush green grasses where the Clematis plant is growing.
Although it can grow in partial shade, it produces more flowers in direct sunlight.
botanical-name botanical name Clematis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full to Part Sun
height height 8’-12’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Clematis is a pretty, flowering vine in the buttercup family. It is fast growing and produces plenty of flowers in colors of white, pink, red, blue and purple.

It will grow in partial shade, however. As with most flowering plants, the more sun it gets, the more flowers it will produce. These make a wonderful trellis plant.

Clematis is well-loved by all types of bees, and honeybees in particular, will revisit this vine again and again. Bees are particularly attracted to the varieties which have downward-turned flowers. Diana’s Delight is a definite honeybee attractor, with its purple-blue flowers. 

Common Dandelion

A close-up of a single yellow flower of the Common Dandelion growing in a field of green grasses. The flower has a spherical shape with pointed petals and is held aloft by a slender stem.
Consider leaving some dandelions in your lawn for the bees before pulling them as weeds.
botanical-name botanical name Taraxacum officinale
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 2”-15”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Before you pull these so-called flowering weeds from your lawn, consider leaving a few for the bees. Not only are dandelions a great source of food for honeybees, they are also edible for humans.

Dandelion greens are an excellent source of vitamin C. While they are generally considered to be nuisance weeds, they are early bloomers and provide the bees with a food source before many plants are in bloom.

By late May, it is ok to mow these flowers away, but in the earlier spring months, it is great to leave them for the bees. The pristine lawns that are prized today do not leave much room for these important plants. Would you believe that at one time, these plants were favored as a ground cover for their usefulness? It’s true!

Coral Bells

A close-up of coral bell flowers that are bell-shaped, delicate, and pinkish-red in color. Its branches are slender, rough, and dark red. There are green plants in the blurred background.
Newer hybrid varieties produce frequent fresh flower spikes.
botanical-name botanical name Heuchera
sun-requirements sun requirements Part Sun
height height up to 3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Coral Bells are a great way to place pollinator plants in spaces that are not quite as sunny. These partial shade plants have pretty scalloped leaves in shades of red, purple, and green and produce tall spikes with panicles of deep red flowers. They perform best when they receive 4-6 hours of daily sun.

Newer hybrid varieties of Coral Bells send up fresh flower spikes on an almost weekly basis, creating a veritable buffet for pollinating insects. They provide a valuable nectar source for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. 

Cowpen Daisy

The cowpen daisy flower has vibrant yellow petals that surround a brown center, where a bee is resting. Its green leaves are broad, smooth, and grow in an alternate pattern on the branches. The branches are slender and have a brown hue, creating a beautiful contrast with the bright yellow flowers.
Bees and butterflies both love the plant’s bright yellow flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Verbesina encelioides
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 2’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Native to 30 North American states, Cowpen Daisies are an important source of pollen in the fall. Honeybees store pollen for the winter. This source of protein sustains the hive and helps give them the best start in the spring when the spring nectar floor begins. 

It might be difficult to find this plant in nurseries, as it is a native plant in most areas of the United States, and therefore it’s not always considered desirable.

However, if you happen upon some, snatch it up, and the pollinators will flock to it. The cheerful yellow flowers are a favorite among bees and butterflies alike.

Dutch White Clover

Close-up of several Dutch white clover flowers that are small, round, and white in color. Its stem is slender, tall, and green.
Dutch White clover is a great option for a lawn as it is both cold and drought-tolerant.
botanical-name botanical name Trifolium repens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full to Part Sun
height height 6”-12”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

This white flowering plant will do great things for your yard. While it can be unpopular for those who prefer a manicured lawn, clover lawns are very popular among die-hard pollinator gardeners. About ⅓ of my lawn consists of this pretty plant, and the honeybees just adore it.

Clover is very cold tolerant, and once established, it is drought tolerant as well. Clovers are nitrogen fixers, as well as great food for the bees.

This means that they draw nitrogen into the soil, enriching the soil for neighboring plants. All of these benefits are wrapped in a lovely little package, as Dutch White clover rarely grows taller than 6”, making it a wonderful alternative to a traditional lawn.


Several Fireweed plants feature flowers that have pinkish-purple. These flowers have tall, delicate stems with long, green leaves growing on them. In the background, large green trees add to the natural beauty of the fireweed.
It is part of the Evening Primrose family and can withstand extremely low temperatures.
botanical-name botanical name Chamaenerion angustifolium
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 4’-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-7

Fireweed honey is known as the champagne pf honeys with its pale color and delicate flavor with just a hint of spice. It is the main honey-producing crop in Alaska, where it grows prolifically. Its pink and purple flowers are very attractive to honeybees and other native bees as well. 

Fireweed gets its name from its tendency to proliferate in areas that have been damaged by wildfire. The seeds lay dormant and are encouraged to germinate after wildfires have passed, though. It is a member of the Evening Primrose family and is very cold-tolerant.


Close-up of foxglove flowers featuring tall stems with bell-shaped flowers that are pink and purple in color. Their leaves are large and green in color. In the background, more foxglove plants can be seen, adding to the natural beauty of the scene.
Foxgloves have tall stems with graceful racemes that can hold many tubular-shaped flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Digitalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full to Part Sun
height height 18”-60”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Foxgloves are some of the prettiest flowers in the garden, in my humble opinion. These biennial plants don’t look like much in their first year, forming a low mound of long green leaves, with no flowers appearing until the second summer. When they do send up flower spikes, they are lovely and impressive. 

Tall racemes atop graceful stems can bear dozens of tubular-shaped flowers.

Bees like to crawl inside of these large bell-shaped blooms, where they collect nectar and pollen, moving on to pollinate successive blooms. Bumblebees are particularly fond of foxgloves. Flowers come in shades of pink, purple, and white, as well as yellow and red.

Garden Speedwell

A close-up of the Garden Speedwell plant in full bloom, with a cluster of tiny pink flowers on tall, slender stems. The leaves of the plant are opposite and ovate, with a serrated margin, and are a bright green color. The stems of the plant are thin and slightly hairy, giving it a delicate appearance.
Garden Speedwells are not only beneficial for pollinators but also add vibrant colors to your flower beds.
botanical-name botanical name Veronica longifolia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full to Part Sun
height height 2’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-10

Speedwells are beautiful and showy plants that produce a bounty of graceful purple flower spikes throughout the summer months.

Their vertical growth habit makes them a wonderful texture to add to the flower bed, and they attract tons of pollinators, including honeybees and butterflies. They are able to grow and flower in full sun and part shade and like rich, moist soil types. 

Aside from their value to pollinators, Garden Speedwells are just plain lovely and add tons of color to your flower beds. Their gently curving spires stand tall above the crowd. Regular deadheading will lengthen the bloom time for these plants, making them flower into the early fall. 

Globe Thistle

A close-up of several Globe Thistle plants with their striking blue-purple flower heads surrounded by spiky bracts. The stems of the plants are sturdy and upright, covered in stiff hairs, while the leaves are deeply lobed and slightly hairy. The foliage is a lush green color that contrasts beautifully with the vibrant flowers.
These flower heads are perfectly round and visually enhance gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Echinops
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 36”-48”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

If you love to watch bees of all kinds, and don’t mind a plant that reseeds bountifully, plant some Globe Thistle in your garden and watch the pollinators flock to them.

Globe Thistle’s tall stems are topped with spiky blue-violet flowers that are, you guessed it, spherical. The spikes that grow on these round heads each open to a small tubular, nectar-filled flower. 

The perfect roundness of these flower heads is a wonderful visual addition to the garden, and you will relish the influx of bees that they bring to the yard. These interesting blooms last for about 6-8 weeks. They require very little water and plenty of sunlight.


A close-up of a Goldenrod plant, with its vibrant yellow flowers blooming on long branching stems. The green leaves are narrow and lance-shaped, with serrated edges. There are other yellow flowers in the blurred background.
Besides being beautiful, they make a stunning addition to any floral arrangement.
botanical-name botanical name Solidago
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 3’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-8

I have wonderful childhood memories of gathering armfuls of goldenrod with my mother in the early fall months. These golden tipped, pollen rich plants provide a very important source of protein for overwintering honeybees. Not to mention they are dramatic and gorgeous in a cut flower arrangement.

In many places where Goldenrod is native, it is considered a weed, as it seeds itself and spreads readily. But it is simply stunning as a background plant in a flower garden, and it will definitely bring the honeys to your yard. 

Joe-pye Weed

Several Joe-pye weeds feature unique flowers, with clusters of small pink-purple blooms adorning the top of each stem. The green leaves of the plant are large and lance-shaped, and the branches are sturdy and covered in rough bark. The foliage is a lush green color, which complements the delicate pink flowers perfectly.
It produces flowers in various colors, such as pink, white, and purple.
botanical-name botanical name Eutrochium purpureum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full to Part Sun
height height 4’-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Joe-pye weed is a great plant for any lover of wildlife. In addition to being very attractive to pollinators, it is a host plant for the larvae of several types of moths, and birds enjoy the seeds produced by pollinated flowers.

It blooms late in the summer and continues into the fall, making it a wonderful treat for honeybees late in the year. 

Joe-pye is not particular and can thrive in full or partial sunlight. It is not picky about soil pH and doesn’t even mind soil that has poor drainage. The flowers come in pink, white, and purple, and the honey produced by these flowers is a beautiful, deep amber shade.


Close-up of Lavender plants featuring delicate purple flowers blooming on slender, woody stems. The leaves of the plant are narrow and elongated, with a green color that contrasts beautifully with the purple blooms.
Lavender can produce delectable honey and enhance various culinary dishes.
botanical-name botanical name Lavandula
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 1’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

I’ve heard many people claim that lavender is difficult to grow, but my personal experience is that with enough neglect, you will be beating it back with a weed whacker.

Lavender likes a lot of sun just enough water, and zero fertilizer. It is semi-evergreen, so in most places, it will look nice throughout the winter, and the flowers smell amazing.

Bees flock to lavender. They love it so much that I rub the essential oil on my bee keeping gloves to keep them happy as I move through their hives. Lavender makes delicious honey and is a wonderful addition in the kitchen.


A close-up of a Milkweed plant shows star-shaped, pink and white flowers with a bee gathering nectar. Each cluster of flowers is connected to a long green stem. The stem has clusters of small, pointed leaves that have a light green color.
Despite being rich in nectar, honeybees usually discard the pollen of milkweed flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Asclepias
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height up to 5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Milkweed is not typically a flower that one plants to look at the milkweed. Rather, it is a very attractive plant to several kinds of pollinators, honeybees included.

Milkweed flowers are very rich in nectar, although honeybees will typically discard the pollen. Their many small, tubular flowers provide bees with a lot of energy.

In addition to their attractiveness to honeybees, milkweed plants are the larval host for the monarch butterfly. Plant these in your garden, and you are certain to have some beautiful visitors. Milkweed is toxic to humans and animals though. So, keep out of reach of curious pets. 

Pincushion Flower

A close-up of the Pincushion Flower reveals large, round, purple flowers with centers that look like a pincushion. The flower sits on a sturdy, green stem that is covered in tiny hairs. The stem is surrounded by narrow, pointed leaves that are a deep green color.
Pincushion flower is a great addition to a garden for pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Scabiosa columbaria
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 6”-12
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Scabiosa, also known as pincushion flower for the pin-like appearance of their stamens, are a wonderful addition to the pollinator garden.

These plants are virtually disease-proof, and deer will leave them alone altogether. Pollinators, however, adore them, and honeybees are especially drawn to the blue varieties. 

Pincushion Flower doesn’t like very hot climates, so south of hardiness zone 8 they are unlikely to thrive. They begin blooming in late spring, and with consistent deadheading, they can continue to produce flowers until the first frost. The flowers carry a lot of nectar, so they are very attractive to bees and butterflies.

Purple Coneflower

A close-up of a Purple Coneflower displaying a large, pinkish-purple flower that has a raised cone-shaped center. The stem of the flower is slender, and green in color.
Due to its ample pollen and nectar production, it is a preferred choice for various bees and butterflies.
botanical-name botanical name Echinacea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 3’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Purple Coneflower is an interesting plant that has been found useful for many purposes over the years. Not the least of which is to attract pollinators.

The flowers are made up of a central cone surrounded by purple petals, which are actually infertile flowers in and of themselves. The actual fertile flowers are small and cover the central cone-like small spikes. This is where the plentiful nectar resides and where you will find the honeybees hanging out.

Echinacea are very easy to grow and require little care. They are very attractive to many types of bees as well as butterflies because they are a great source of both pollen and nectar. They typically bloom during the summer dearth, making them a valuable food source for honeybees.

Russian Sage

Russian Sage plants showcase small, white flowers growing along the branches. The flowers are surrounded by long, thin leaves that have a grayish-green color. The branches of the plant are long and slightly curved.
It is an excellent contributor to honey production by aiding the bees in their nectar collection.
botanical-name botanical name Perovskia atriplicifolia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 3’-5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Russian Sage, rather than being an actual sage, is actually a member of the mint family of perennial herbs. It resembles salvia in that it is composed of tall spikes topped with clusters of purple flowers. It prefers soil with good drainage and a lot of sunlight to keep it blooming and keep it standing upright.

This pollinator favorite is a wonderful nectar provider, which means it helps the honeybees make their honey. It is not desirable to deer or rabbits, so it is a reliable food source for pollinators. The flowers begin blooming in mid-summer and continue until the first frost.


A close-up of a Sunflower highlights a large, yellow flower with a brown center that is made up of many small seeds. The stem of the flower is thick and sturdy, with large, broad leaves that have a rough texture and a dark green color.
To sustain the declining bee population, planting sunflowers can be helpful.
botanical-name botanical name Helianthus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height Up to 10’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Recent studies have shown that sunflowers near beehives assist in controlling the population of varroa mites, which are the single greatest killer of honeybee colonies.

As if this were not enough of a reason to plant them, they are also chock full of nectar and pollen, so they provide both energy and protein to the colony. 

The pollen from sunflowers protects the immune systems of bees, so planting them means helping to sustain the dwindling number of bees. Because bees do not see red, steer more toward yellow and white varieties to get the greatest number of honeybee visitors. 

Sweet Almond Bush

The Sweet Almond Bush's flowers bloom in clusters of delicate white petals, surrounded by vibrant yellow stamens. The thin stems of the bush support the abundance of blooms while the leaves feature an elongated, slender shape with a green hue. The smooth stems and leaves give the bush a refined and elegant look.
Sweet Almond Bush is a necessary addition to any pollinator garden in zones 8 or farther south.
botanical-name botanical name Aloysia virgata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Part Shade
height height 5’+
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

If you happen to live in hardiness zone 8 or farther south, this is an absolute must for your pollinator garden. Sweet Almond Bush is a shrubby plant that will act as a perennial in zones 8-9, dying back to the ground during the winter.

I can tell you from experience that it will grow back bigger and better every year. This is one of those plants that doesn’t quit. 

The long, thin panicles of white flowers are extremely attractive to pollinators. They bloom throughout the summer and fall. They also emit a heavenly fragrance that I would compare to confederate jasmine or gardenia in terms of intensity, but the actual scent is like that of fine almond-scented soap. It’s the kind of plant that you just can’t resist taking a sniff of any time you walk by.

Sweet Basil

Sweet Basil's flowers are small and white, situated atop a series of slender stems that stretch upwards. The leaves have a slightly serrated edge and a green color. The stems of the herb are light green and sturdy, capable of supporting the plant's growth.
Its delightful scent and flavor make it a perfect ingredient for almost all Italian dishes.
botanical-name botanical name Ocimum basilicum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 1’-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-10

Basil is one of the most widely used herbs in the cuisines of many different cultures. It’s delicious fragrance and flavor lend themselves to nearly every single dish that comes out of Italy, and it’s also a favorite in South Asian dishes. Humans aren’t alone in our love for this sweet-smelling herb. Honeybees go crazy for it.

When left to bolt, Sweet Basil produces small, light purple flowers that provide a highly desirable source of nectar and pollen for honeybees. Sadly, once it flowers, Sweet Basil is less desirable for human consumption, but there is no harm in growing an extra Basil plant for the bees.

Virginia Strawberry

Virginia Strawberry's small, red fruits hang from the thin branches of the plant, resembling miniature hearts with their plump shape.  The green leaf has a unique three-leaf shape, adding visual interest to the plant.
Virginia Strawberry produces small white flowers that are highly appealing to pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Fragaria virginiana
sun-requirements sun requirements Part Shade to Shade
height height 4”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

If you’ve ever seen these little plants you might think of them as weeds, but Virginia Strawberry is the type of wild strawberry from which our cultivated strawberries were hybridized from. They are small plants, and they grow primarily in the shade, which is great because not many pollinator plants do.

The small white flowers of Virginia Strawberry are very attractive to pollinators and have a very long blooming season. These cute little plants will bloom beginning in March all the way through to November. These are also the larval food of the Gray Hairstreak butterfly.

Wild Golden Glow

The Wild Golden Glow flowers have a bright yellow hue with long petals that curve gently toward the center. The plant's green leaves are thin and pointed, arranged alternately along the stem. The stem itself is strong and upright, supporting the weight of the flower and the busy bee perched on top.
This plant has a tendency to spread and can become invasive if planted in confined areas.
botanical-name botanical name Rudbeckia laciniata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Full Shade
height height 3’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Wild Golden Glow is an amazingly versatile member of the Rudbeckia family. They are closely related to the Black-eyed Susan. These plants will grow in full shade or full sin, although their preference is somewhere in the middle.

Golden Glow is rhizomatous, so it tends to spread and can become invasive if you plant it in small spaces. Plan to give this one some space to spread out.

Like all species of Rudbeckia, this is a pollinator favorite. It is a great source of pollen and nectar, and planting this in your garden will draw all sorts of bees, butterflies, and beetles. It has the appearance of small sunflowers growing on a sort of shrub. It’s really a wonderfully cheerful plant that needs very little care. 


The Wingstem's flowers are small and daisy-like with vibrant yellow petals and a dark center. The long, narrow leaves of the plant have a rough texture and a green color, arranged in a spiral pattern around the stem. The stems of the Wingstem are sturdy and covered in small, fine hairs.
The center of the flower holds ample nectar, surrounded by a spherical structure.
botanical-name botanical name Verbesina alternifolia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full to Part Sun
height height 3’-8’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Native to Illinois, the wingstem is a rhizomatic plant that attracts a wide variety of pollinators. It is bale to thrive in full sun or part shade and produces interesting yellow flowers with a spherical structure in the center which houses plenty of nectar. This plant can grow up to 8’ tall and produce hundreds of flowers.

Wingstem is a woodland plant that likes rich, moist soil. It spreads quickly, so this one needs to be planted in a space that can handle that. It reproduces both by the underground rhizomes as well as seeds that has a high germination rate. 

Witch Hazel

Close-up of Witch Hazel's flowers which are small and delicate, with thin, yellow petals that form a star-like shape. The brown branches of the plant extend in various directions, creating a twisted and winding appearance.
Although some types of this tree also have orange or red flowers, yellow is the most common.
botanical-name botanical name Hamamelis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Filtered Shade
height height up to 30’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

You might recognize this plant for its use in skincare products. It is commonly used for its gentle astringent and antiseptic properties. It is also a fall-blooming tree that produces plenty of nectar and pollen, food for honeybees when little else is blooming. 

While its yellow flowers can get lost in its fall foliage, the bees will be very attracted to this brightly colored tree.

Some varieties also produce orange or red flowers, but the most common color is yellow. Fall blooming plants are vital for honeybees who collect the pollen and nectar to store for winter. 


A close-up of Yarrow's flowers that are small and delicate, with a cluster of tiny white petals that form a flat-topped shape. The stems of the plant are thin but sturdy, supporting the abundance of blooms. The leaves of the Yarrow are feathery and green, adding a delicate texture to the plant's overall appearance.
Yarrow is a beloved flower among honeybees because of its fern-like leaves and colorful blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Achillea millefolium
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-10

With its delicate fern-like leaves and clusters of brightly colored flowers, yarrow rounds out our list as a honeybee favorite.

Yarrow plants produce lots of flowers that come in the form of broad, flat clusters, which are very appealing to pollinators for their ease of harvest. Yarrow comes in a variety of colors, including white, yellow, red, pink, and purple. 

As always, bees will be most attracted to the purple varieties, but white and yellow are also appealing colors that will draw honeybees. The red variety is very attractive to butterflies. Yarrow grows quickly, becoming a thick, bushy mass of lacy foliage and pops of nectar and pollen-rich blooms.

Final Thoughts

Honeybees are extremely important to both our environment and many of our food sources. They play a lead role in pollinating many of the food crops that we depend upon for healthy and nutritious foods, not to mention they make honey!

Planting a pollinator garden can be a wonderfully fulfilling hobby. I highly encourage you to plant some of these plants in your garden, especially if you like to grow your own vegetables. Pollinator attractant plants will increase the yield and quality of your vegetable garden.

A small, brown and white butterfly alights on a pink and white striped zinnia bloom.


31 Nectar-Rich Flowers for Pollinators

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A bee forages for nectar and pollen in a cluster of pink and white flowers.


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