15 Succulents That Attract Bees and Other Pollinators

Looking for some succulent plants that will attract bees and other pollinators? There are plenty o f different options depending on your growing climate. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss shares her favorite succulents that will welcome bees and other pollinators to your garden.

Honey Bee on Pink Ice plant


When building a pollinator sanctuary, many gardeners seem to neglect succulent plants, as they are not typically advertised as pollinator favorites. However, many of these plants produce flowers that are a nectar and pollen-rich source of food for pollinators and don’t require much water or care to do so. 

In the heat of the summer, when many flowering plants are struggling to hold onto enough water to sustain their foliage, many succulents are bursting with flowers. One of the main building blocks of creating a pollinator garden is to have a wide variety of plants that bloom at different times throughout the year. Pollinators return to the spaces where they know they can rely on a supply of food. 

Flower color is another consideration to make when building your garden, as different pollinators are attracted to different colors. Bees, who rely heavily upon ultraviolet light when seeking a food source, are attracted to flowers that reflect this type of light. 

Bees are most attracted to flowers that are blue, purple, yellow, and white. They see red as black, which is a color that signals danger for them. Hummingbirds and butterflies, however, are most attracted to red flowers, so don’t leave them out altogether. Armed with this knowledge, let’s discuss some succulent plants that will make a great addition to your pollinator garden. 


The aloe Vera plants are growing in brown soil with green grasses surrounding them. Its green leaves are thick and pointed, with slightly spiky edges. The branches of the Aloe Vera plants are sturdy.
Aloe is a genus of plants that includes several hundred species, the most well-known of which is Aloe Vera.
botanical-name botanical name Aloe
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

There are several hundred species of aloe. The most commonly known is Aloe vera, commonly used in skin care products and burn care. Many people go several years without knowing that their Aloe plant is actually a flowering plant. Aloes do not bloom until they mature, which takes about four years

Aloe plants produce their large, often fragrant inflorescences in the fall. The flower’s high nectar content and fall blooming habit make them very popular among pollinators. Many types are entirely pollinated by bees, while others are mainly attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.


A close-up of Echeveria plants which have plump, succulent leaves. The leaves are round and smooth, with a light green color and a slightly pointed tip. They have a slight red tint at the edges, giving them a unique and beautiful appearance.
Echeveria plants produce a lovely coral-colored inflorescence that arches gently in the summer.
botanical-name botanical name Echeveria
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 2”-24”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-12

It doesn’t get more user-friendly than Echeveria. These beautiful succulents have plump leaves that form pretty rosettes in a large variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Few of my plants bring me as much joy as my Echeverias in bloom.

In summer, these plants send up a tall, gently arching inflorescence. The flowers are a gorgeous coral color and bloom in a single row from midway to the end of the stem in succession. They are stunning in their simplicity. Echeveria’s flowers will draw hummingbirds and butterflies to the garden


 Echinocactus plants have round, bulbous, green bodies covered in sharp, yellow spines. There is a small green plant growing beside them. A large gray rock sits nearby.
Most species in the Echinocactus genus are covered with golden-yellow spines and have a spherical shape.
botanical-name botanical name Echinocactus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height Up to 3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-12

The Echinocactus genus includes such popular plants as the Golden Barrel cactus and Turk’s Head cactus. While it is technically a cactus and not a true succulent, it behaves in a similar way and has the same needs, and it produces wonderful flowers, so I’m including it here! Most species are spherical and covered with golden-yellow spines. 

Echinocactus produce brightly colored, funnel-shaped flowers. The Golden Barrel species produces bright yellow flowers that open around the top like a crown. The flowers are a favorite for bees and butterflies, and the fruit that they produce once pollinated is a feast for local birds.

Elephant Bush

A close-up of Elephant Bush plant, with its thick branches and leaves. The leaves are oval-shaped and light green in color. The branches of the Elephant Bush are slender and red in color, with a woody texture.
This succulent can produce an abundance of small, bright pink flowers with plenty of indirect sunlight.
botanical-name botanical name Portulacaria afra
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Part Sun
height height 8’-15’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Elephant bush is a pretty plant that resembles a small-leafed jade plant. In the ground, it can grow up to 20’ tall, but in a container, it will remain a more manageable size.

This plant flowers prolifically when it is kept in the right conditions. As a houseplant, it is unlikely to produce flowers. But if you’re looking to attract pollinators, you probably aren’t here to talk about houseplants.

Lots of bright, indirect sunlight will encourage the elephant bush to produce tons of tiny, bright pink flowers. In their natural habitat, they can flower so profusely that the blooms obscure the foliage. The flowers are chock full of pollen, so they are highly appealing to bees.

Ice Plant

A close-up of several flowers that have a vibrant shade of pink, with delicate petals that are slightly curled at the edges. The leaves are slender, pointed, and light green in color.
Its vibrant blooms create a beautiful display, making it an appealing meal for passing insects.
botanical-name botanical name Delosperma
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height up to 3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Ice plant is a very cold tolerant flowering succulent and is mostly perennial. They tend to fare better in drier climates and do not like humidity. They grow nicely both in the ground and as container plants, as they tend to trail, spilling over the edge of their containers.

Delosperma blooms in spring and summer, and flowers range in color, including red, white, purple, and yellow.

Many types of pollinators are attracted to the ice plant’s bright display of nectar-rich flowers. It puts on quite a show and makes a convenient meal for passing insects with its bounty of blooms.

This plant is particularly attractive to honey bees and serves as an excellent food source for them. Be careful when planting, though, as iceplants can be considered invasive in some regions.


A close-up of Kalanchoe showcases its stunning clusters of orange flowers. The flowers are tightly packed together, forming a dense and intricate floral arrangement. Each individual flower boasts eight overlapping petals with a delicate, waxy texture that glimmers in the light.
K. blossfeldiana is a highly sought-after variety due to its stunning winter floral exhibit.
botanical-name botanical name Kalanchoe
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright Indirect Light
height height 6”-12”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12

Kalanchoe is a fun genus of flowering succulents that are always popular around the winter holidays, as this is their blooming season. This makes them very desirable to pollinators, as little else is in bloom when kalanchoe is.

There are many different species and flower formations. Most send up a tall flower spike with a large cluster of flowers at the top. 

While some flowers are bell-shaped and downward-hanging, others are upward-facing and have single or double-petal forms. They come in a wide variety of colors and flower formations, as well as leaf formations. K. blossfeldiana is one of the most popular varieties for its spectacular floral display in winter. 


A close-up of a Leatherpetal flower. The petals are a rich shade of light burgundy and are long and narrow, giving the flower a unique shape. The center of the flower is filled with smaller, overlapping petals.
Their flowers come in various colors, ranging from yellow to pink and red, and have star shapes.
botanical-name botanical name Graptopetalum
sun-requirements sun requirements Light Shade to Full Sun
height height 1’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-11

Graptopetalum goes by the common name Leatherpetal and is also known as Ghost Plant. The genus includes 19 species and is native to Central and North America, where some species can survive winters in zone 7, while others are not tolerant of freezing weather.

Ghost plants are easy to grow and form an attractive mound of organized rosettes in predominantly blues and greens.

Some varieties flower in spring, and others in the summertime. Their flowers are star-shaped and vary in color from yellow to pink and red. Some produce very delicate inflorescences, while others bloom quite spectacularly. Honey bees are attracted to these flowers and will seek them out for their sweet nectar.


A close-up of a Liveforevers bloom featuring its light green and red petals that contrast beautifully with the small stones surrounding them. The flower boasts a cluster of narrow petals that curve delicately at the tips.
This plant family is fashionable among succulent collectors because of its comparatively rare status.
botanical-name botanical name Dudleya
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Part Sun
height height 1’-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Dudleyas are members of the stonecrop family and native to the North American Southwest and Guadalupe Island. There is a lot of variation across the genus, but the species hybridize easily.

This group of plants is not as common as some of the others on the list, but it is popular among succulent collectors for its relative obscurity.

The flowers produced by Dudleyas are varied, similar to the leaf formation and appearance. In fact, one species can produce different flower colors. Canyon Dudleya is known to produce blooms in yellow, orange, and red. They are mainly pollinated by hummingbirds and bees, so you can expect to see many visitors when Dudleya is in bloom.

Ox Tongue

A close-up of an Ox Tongue showcases the plant's thick and sturdy leaves. Each leaf is large and oval-shaped, with a deep green color and white spots. The plant is nestled in a brown pot, adding warmth to the overall look.
Lightly shaded locations are ideal for Gasteria plants since they get most of their sunlight indirectly or through filters.
botanical-name botanical name Gasteria
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright Indirect light
height height up to 2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Gasteria is a rarer succulent genus that resembles small aloe or haworthia plants. They are native to South Africa and prefer to live in lightly shaded areas where they receive most of their sunlight indirectly or filtered.

This makes them a great houseplant. However, if flowers are what you are after, they are unlikely to bloom indoors.

In winter and spring, mature Gasteria plants produce tall, graceful inflorescences. Their bell-shaped flowers are coral and green, and sunbirds pollinate them in their native environments. In captivity, they are attractive to hummingbirds. 


A close-up of Pigmyweeds featuring its small and delicate leaves. The leaves are narrow and pointed, with a bright green color. The branches are thin and wiry, with small buds scattered throughout, promising future growth and beauty.
Caution must be exercised with pets that graze in the garden, as crassula is poisonous to animals.
botanical-name botanical name Crassula
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Part Sun
height height up to 6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12

Crassula is a very popular genus of succulents to keep as houseplants. They include about 200 species, with the Jade Plant being one of the most well-known.

As most succulents do, they prefer soil that drains well and plenty of bright light. Although direct sun is not a must, these plants will do just fine with indirect sunlight for most of the day.

These plants can get rather large over time but are slow growing. Their flowers are typically white or pink and very delicate. They have a sweet, light fragrance that attracts both bees and butterflies. Be careful with this plant if you have pets that like to graze in your garden. Crassula can be toxic to animals.


A close-up of Houseleek leaves that are succulent and plump, with a vivid green hue that gives them a healthy appearance. They are arranged in a rosette shape, with each leaf tightly packed together and overlapping slightly. The leaves are covered in small white hairs that give them a velvety texture.
They are suitable for gardeners residing in colder regions since they have excellent cold tolerance.
botanical-name botanical name Sempervivum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 4”-6”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Houseleeks are the most common plant that goes by the name Hens and Chicks, although this name gets applied to other, similar plants as well. They have excellent cold tolerance, making them a great choice for gardeners living in cooler climates. They are monocarpic, so each rosette dies after blooming, but they reproduce readily.

The flowers can be yellow, green, purple, or pink and typically bloom only after the specific portion of the plant reaches maturity. This plant is a favorite for bees, who also help to pollinate the plant. The flowers are also attractive to hummingbirds, and my favorite pollinators, bumblebees.


The Spurge flowers are small, with bright yellow-green petals that form a star-shaped cluster. The green leaves are narrow and oblong, with a smooth texture and glossy surface.
Their unique appearance and low-maintenance needs make them a favorite among houseplant enthusiasts.
botanical-name botanical name Euphorbia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Part Sun
height height 18”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Euphorbias are a fun genus of plants that include African milk tree and Crown-of-thorns. There is a lot of variation between species, so they can be difficult to describe. They are, however, not difficult to grow and maintain. Their ease of care and quirky looks make them a very popular houseplant.

Many varieties have yellow flowers, making them attractive to bees, while Crown-of-thorns produce red flowers, making them more appealing to hummingbirds. They are quite cold hardy, blooming in the summer and going dormant in the winter. They are perennial all the way to zone 4.


Stonecrop's flowers, with small pink petals, form dense clusters at the top of the sturdy, upright stems. The leaves are fleshy and succulent, with a green color. There are other green plants cultivated around them.
Sedum flowers attract bees and butterflies while also helping to reduce the aphid count in gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 1’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-11

Stonecrop or sedum is a huge genus of succulent plants with more than 400 species. Sedum is exceptionally easy to care for and quite cold-tolerant!

There are low-growing and upright species of sedum. The low-growing types make a wonderful spiller or ground cover. The upright varieties bloom beautifully through summer and into fall.

This fall-blooming habit makes them a great food source for pollinators when few plants are in bloom. Sedum flowers attract bees and butterflies, and they may also reduce the aphid count in your garden. They attract hoverflies which lay their eggs near aphid colonies, and the larvae feast on the aphids. 

Tree Houseleek

Close-up of several Tree Houseleek flowers, with small pink petals forming a rosette shape. They grow in tight clusters at the end of long, sturdy stems.
Aeoniums are popular for their glossy, tightly organized rosette leaves.
botanical-name botanical name Aeonium
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Part Sun
height height up to 5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Aeonium is an interesting succulent genus that contains about 35 different species of monocarpic flowering plants. Monocarpic refers to their habit of dying after they produce flowers.

This might seem troubling, but tree houseleeks, like most monocarpic plants, reproduce easily, so there is always another young plant waiting to take the place of the parent plant. 

Known for their exceptionally glossy leaves, which form a tightly organized rosette, Aeonium can grow quite large when given the space to do so. In summer, the rosettes can produce large, cone-shaped flower clusters. The flowers are small, yellow, and star-shaped. They are very attractive to pollinators, especially hummingbirds.

Zebra Cactus

Close-up of several Zebra Cactus leaves that are thick and fleshy, with a distinctive green and white striped pattern. The edges of the leaves are lined with small spines, adding texture and depth to the plant's appearance. The leaves grow in a rosette shape, creating a striking visual display.
These plants prefer bright light but can’t tolerate full sun.
botanical-name botanical name Haworthia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Part Sun
height height 5”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Zebra Cactus is not a cactus at all. Rather, it is a genus of small succulent plants that resemble aloe plants. They get their nickname from their elongated, pointed leaves, which are fleshy and commonly covered in white textured bands or spots.

Zebra cactus prefers bright light, but full sun can be a bit much for these plants. They do prefer hot weather and sandy soil.

Haworthia plants take about two years to mature, which is when they begin to flower. You can expect to see flowers in summer or fall, but especially during the longest days of summer. They send up a tall spike with small, white blooms at the top.

Blooming implies that the plant is happy and will soon reproduce. In their native environment, they are pollinated by sunbirds, but they will draw local pollinators as well. 

Final Thoughts

When planning your pollinator garden, it’s a great idea to add some of these succulent plants, especially if you live in a climate that is prone to periods of drought. Adding flowering succulent plants to your pollinator garden is a great way to keep the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds coming back to visit.

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