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Hi all,

An open question, as per the heading.  Which white-flowered annuals or perennials do people think are the best for bees and other pollinating insects??

To qualify they need to flower steadily over a good long period and be genuinely attractive to bees or other pollinators. To get things going I'll suggest a few of my current favourites:

Cosmos bipinnatus 'Purity'

Scabiosa caucasica 'alba'

Scabiosa drakensbergensis

Which are other peoples favourites??

Look forward to seeing your suggestions.


Our white Hesperis Matronalis is frequently visited by bees and other pollinators. 

Also the white campion Silene Alba 

I am growing winter savory this year, which is meant to be good for bees, but it's not flowering yet, but very excited. Saw it on a tv program and it was covered in bees.


Thanks Doves and Magical Meercat,

I've got all those and agree with your recommendations.

I also neglected to mention Centranthus ruber album (the white form of Red Valerian) in my first post. It flowers all summer long and is a magnet to bees, particularly the long-tongued species.  Last Thursday (29 May) I was lucky enough to watch a Humming-Bird Hawk Moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) feeding on Centranthus ruber in my back garden.  Top moth.  Superb!!

Keep those suggestions / recommendations coming.

Good question Natter Jack

How about white buddleia....white profusion?  

My acteas seem to attract bees, etc., in late summer with their scenfed white flowers.  Hene salicifolia ...white form....has interest too in mid summer.

White matthiola ..stocks....attract bees too.  

Not really hot on bees and butterflies but I also,grow Gaura Corries Gold......lovely delicate pure white flowers on long slender stems. ,should attract butterflies!  


raspberry  lots of flowers loads of pollinators and a bumper crop. I've just reported one of the rare bees that has set up under my shed and I'm convinced that they set up hive for my raspberry and blackberry's. They don't bother me but there pollinating my garden and my hole garden is full of them every day hope that they stay as there fascinating to watch.but at first it was daunting doing my weeding near the hive and raspberry but they don't bother me at all all there interested in is my pollen and maybe a drink from my water barrel. and last week I recorded a kestrel thats took fancy to my apple tree as a feeding post. I dont know where its nesting but I saw it last year too


Lots of Tiarellas/Heucheras/Heucherellas have almost white flowers. I've had a tiarella flowering for almost two months - just going over now and the brighter yellowy/acid green Heuchera 'Lime Marmalade' and 'Alabama Sunrise' are about to flower. Bees love them.

The Acteas are great too as Verdun said. My new ones are growing well so hope to see flowers forming soon, and I also have white Buddleia.

I grow nicotiana sylvestris which is a magnet for bumbles & moths.

Keyser Soze

I also wish to attract more bees and butterflies, in particular the hummingbird moth!

I planted one miniature buddleia last year and there was a significant increase in butterflies.

I managed to pick up a half price hibiscus syriacus called "White Chiffon". These are supposed to attract bees and butterflies and the flowering period is August to October.

I have read that the more exotic types attract hummingbirds so they seem like the right sort of thing.


Singing Gardener

My white salvia is attracting a lot of bees at the moment.

Thomas Wilkinson2

I was going to say a white buddleia, but Verdun beat me to it! I've seen a few of those near where I live and they look pretty majestic and always seem to have a butterfly or two hovering around them. 


My Verbascums (think its "flush of white") are usually covered as soon as the sun pops out  - though this year they are looking a bit down in the dumps after being moved from garden to garden.

Pottie Pam

Athough not a perennial as you asked Natter Jack, my winter flowering honeysuckle was a magnet for early bees when there was'nt much else about.

 There's also white foxgloves too.


Some cotoneasters are very attractive to bees though the flowers are not impressive, but they are white.  


I inherited  a couple of cotoneasters here- the flowers aren't even open yet but they're 'humming' with bees. The blackies love the berries later too so it's a very useful shrub even if it's not the most spectacular.



How about a white lavender?. Lavender is a guaranteed bee magnet. Also white comfrey is another.  


I think you can't beat shrubs. I have a white lilac, well its a tree now, but as that finishes the Fuzzy Deutzia (Pride of Rochester) comes into flower, and the whole thing is literally vibrating with bees. 

Borage is also a bee magnet and there is a white form. We had a sowing of radishes which bolted and went to seed, masses of tiny white flowers which were smothered in butterflies, bees and all sorts of other pollinators.

They also like foxgloves and aquilegias

Shasta are a butterfly, moth and bee friendly white. The leucanthemum x Superbum ( yer really) is a good open flower which is what the butterflies prefer as their wings can flutter on take off.

Long flowering period too.

Thanks everyone. Some great suggestions there. I've already got a few but there are certainly a number of things for me to seek out.

Invicta2 and Fairygirl mentioned Cotoneasters and I totally agree. I've got one which I think is Cotoneaster franchetii, but I've never been certain.  The flowers are really really small, but the whole plant is alive with bees for about 3-4 weeks with a distinct humming.