The Best Flowers & Trees to Plant for Honey Bees

Updated February 21, 2017

Honey bees play a vital role in pollination throughout the world. By attracting honey bees, you are helping the conservation effort for this now endangered insect. In order to create a bee-friendly garden, you simply need to plant flowers and trees that not only attract bees, but will also survive well in your particular climate and soil. While these flowers and trees can vary greatly for this reason, there are several plants and trees that do well in most North American climates.


Sunflowers come in many varieties. Sunflowers that attract the most bees are the varieties that produce pollen, rather than the varieties that produce only nectar. Sunflowers rely on honeybees for pollination, so the more you attract, the more the sunflowers will thrive in your garden. Generally, sunflowers thrive in temperate climates that have well-drained soil and full sun.


Mimulus, which are also known as monkey flowers, are flowering annuals and perennials. They grow well in most environments in the United States, and have even been known to thrive in deep shade. The plant's flowers produce a nectar in the deep corollas, which will attract long-tongued honeybees and European honeybees.

Sea Holly

Sea hollies are summer-blooming flowers that are tolerant of many conditions throughout North America, including salty, dry and sandy soils. The flowers require full, afternoon sun, but because of the blue flowers they produce every summer, they are highly attractive to honeybees, especially Megachilidae. The sea holly do not grow well in heavily shaded areas with wet or poorly drained soil.

Chaste Tree

The chaste tree is a medium-sized deciduous tree that flowers in the summertime. The tree thrives in wooded environments, and can tolerate most soil conditions except for extreme drought. Depending on the climate, the chaste tree will attract both the bumblebee and the European honeybee.


The borage plant is an annual herb that blooms blue flowers in midsummer. The plant requires full sun, and does well in almost all temperate climates in North America, as long as it is protected from strong winds. Due to its colour and nectar, the star-shaped blue flowers are highly attractive to honeybees.

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About the Author

Jessica Jewell is a writer, photographer and communications consultant who began writing professionally in 2005. Her chapbook, "Slap Leather," is forthcoming from dancing girl press. Her recent work has appeared in "Nimrod," "Harpur Palate," "Copper Nickel," "Rhino," "wicked alice," "Poetry Midwest" and "Barn Owl Review." Jewell was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University.