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I've failed to attract bees to my garden for as long as I can remember, but this year I haven't given myself a budget, so am looking for any perennials that attract wildlife, preferably clump forming or ones that seed themself, so I'm able to make even more for free in the long run (like Monty does)...

Anyone got any suggestions?

Lupins, delphiniums, foxgloves, rudbekia, lots of perennials will attract bees and propagate well.
Thankyou Lyon, do you know of any clump forming perennials off hand too? Thanks
Sorry was meant to say lyn, stupid autocorrect!

I know its not clump forming, but Buddleja is always a winner


Jean Genie

Ryan, hardy geranium is always a winner with bees.  Once you have it you can split it to make more. 

I'm making a new border this year specifically for the bees. I already have johnson's blue and have got some pink ones to go in as well. I've also sown a variety of single flowering annuals that the bees prefer. Cosmos, Rudbeckia, Sweet sultan, and some other varieties .

If you have a local poundland shop , they sometimes have bare rooted hardy geraniums . That's where I got my pink ones from.


I have seen 4 species of bee on one head of sedum spectabile.  They also like achilleas, echinops, aconitum, foxgloves and early flowers are needed too so snowdrops, crocuses and so on.


pulmonaria are very good for the early bees


I have loads of this, maybe someone would like a root? maybe a post for the seed swap thread?


If you want to attract bees -get some lavender


Verbena bonariensis attracts bees and other plants and will self seed itself. Achillea is another good one and a later in the season one is echinacea which is easy to grow from seed.

If not much room you could get a dwarf budleiea (buzz) 

WOW! Thankyou very much everyone! I'm off to a garden centre later, so will make sure I buy as many of the suggestions I can find! I feel a huge shopping spree coming on and a hole burnt in my bank account :P


I used to have one bed entirely filled with lavender; the buzzing of the bees on it could be heard in the house! Problem was I used to have to harvest the flowers by torchlight to avoid being stung.

Funny you should say that artjak, because I was going to create a lavender hedge on each side of my garden path and was wondering whether I'd be able to walk through them in the height of summer shen bees are around. Might chance it, what do you think, was it worth it?



You could also look for something like Red Valerian and aquilegia as they flower for months and months.

The key seems to be having flowers available as early as possible, so things like mahonia are also usefull there, flowering from nov-march.


PS Red Valerian is dead easy to grow from cuttings, so if you see one growing in a verge just stop and take some

Caz W

Hi Ryan   I have a Cotoneaster Horizontalis growing against my fence.  It has tiny pink flowers in the spring and it is always covered in bees of every variety!  I also like to attract birds and in the autumn the blackbirds and thrushes can't wait to get its red berries.

Hi guys, thankyou for all your posts...

Well, I've been to the garden centre and it was almost bare, probably the weekend rush, but I bought a few plants anyhow...

3 Pulmonarias, 3 Achillea, Salvia, Foxglove, Sedum, Aconitum, Primrose, Geranium, 3 Hellebores, 2 Aqueligia, Campanula and Polemonium...

This cost me £60, is that good? I did try and get a bargain...

Also, I have absolutely no idea what polemonium is and how to look after it, the picture just looked nice...any help on that would be appreciated thankyou

I'm planning to buy the more substantial plants like buddleia and cotoneaster and red valerian later on.


You have a lovely haul there Ryan...I've got a polenonumiumnomnimnum too


I garden to attract bumble bees and have had loads visit the garden...I would agree with the suggestions you've been given too. A few of the star perennial performers in our garden as far as bees are concerned have been....














Don't forget trusty annuals though, plants like phacelia, marigolds, cerinthe and sunflowers are bee magnets...(and butterflies love them too)