Garden Plants for All Short-tongued Bees (including Honeybees), and Hardy in the British Isles

Wild Species and varieties, Native or Well-Established and Non-Invasive in the British Isles

Flowering times key:

Spring flowering (March, April, May)
Summer flowering (June, July, August)
Flowers in the ‘June Gap’
Autumn flowering (September, October, November)
Winter flowering (December, January, February)

Spp = Species
Syn = synonym

“A simple but effective guide to help all pollinators is to select plants with a single, open flower. Most of our honey comes from wild and cultivated crops between May and August therefore gardeners should try to provide a constant nectar source, particularly earlier in spring and later in autumn when there are fewer sources available”. David Packham, Regional Bee Inspector South West. List compiled by Sarah Holdsworth with help from Dr Mick Street and David Packham.


Aesculus hippocastanum

Horse chestnut. Major Nectar + Pollen, April – June. Honey
crop. Excellent for all bees
Acer campestre, Acer spp

Field Maple, and other sppwhich flower in a temperate climate.
Nectar+ Pollen, April – May

Acer pseudoplatanus

Sycamore. Major Nectar + Pollen, April – June. Honey crop.
Excellent for all bees
Alnus cordata

Italian alder, for draining soil. Pollen major February –
Alnus glutinosa

Common alder, for boggy soil. Major Pollen, early March
Castanea sativa

Sweet chestnut.Pollen, June – July
Catalpa bignonioides

Indian bean tree. Nectar + Pollen major, July – August

Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip tree. Nectar major, June, July.
Salix sp

Willow, all species. Major Nectar + Pollen, February – May.
Honey crop. Excellent for all bees
Sorbus intermedia

Swedish Whitebeam. Nectar + Pollen, May – June
Tilia cordata (alsoTilia Platyphyllos,
Tilia mongolica, Tilia maximowicziana, but AVIOD the
cultivars ‘Petiolaris’ and ‘Orbicularis’
which have been associated with bee deaths)

Small-leaved Lime. Native tree in decline. Nectar major late July.
Honey source. The most resistant of the Lime species to Honeydew
mould. Excellent for all bees
TREES –Medium and Small

Amelanchier canadensis, A.lamarkii Snowy mespilus or Juneberry. Pollen, March – May. Edible
fruit June.
Arbutus unedo Strawberry tree. Nectar + Pollen, October – December

Caragana arborescens

Siberian pea tree. Nectar + Pollen,April – May. Resistant to
Cercis siliquastrum Judas tree. Nectar, April – June
Corylus Avellana

Hazel, Cobnut. Major Pollen, early March, April
Cotoneaster frigidus

Himalayan tree cotoneaster. Nectar + Pollen both major, June,
July. Excellent for all bees.
Crataegus monogyna

Hawthorn. Nectar + Pollen, May– June
Crataegus laevigata (And many other Crataegusspp)

Midland Hawthorn.Nectar + Pollen, May – June. Many other Hawthorn
species excellent for all bees.
Eucryphia glutinosa Brushbush. Major Nectar + Pollen, Aug, Sept.

Halesia tetraptera syn Carolina

Snowdrop tree. Nectar + Pollen, May
Koelreuteria paniculata

Pride of India. Major Nectar, July – August

Kunzea ericiodes

Kanuka. Major Nectar + Pollen.
Leptospermum scoparium Manuka. Major Nectar + Pollen, June with another flower flush in
December. Medicinal
Oxydendrum arboretum

Sorrel tree. For acid soil. Major Nectar + Pollen, July –
August. Excellent for all bees.
Prunus padus

Bird cherry. Major Nectar + Pollen, April – May

Ptelea trifoliata

Hop tree. Nectar, June – July
Tetradium daniellii (synEuodia hupuhensis)

Bee tree of China. Major Nectar + Pollen, August – October


Malus domestica

Dessert and Culinary Apples. Nectar + Pollen, mid to late spring.
All open-pollinated, hundreds of varieties. Vigorous M25 or
standard trees recommended.
Malus sylvestris

Wild crab apple. Nectar + Pollen, May. Original species and used
as rootstock
Mespilus germanica

Medlar. Related to Hawthorn. Major Nectar + Pollen, May –
Prunus avium

Bird cherry, gean– wild form. Cultivated form– Sweet
Cherry. Major Nectar + Pollen, April – May. Many
varieties.Excellent for all bees.
Prunus cerasifera myrobalan

Cherry plum. Nectar + Pollen, February – April
Prunus cerasus

Acid/Sour cherry.Major Nectar + Pollen, April –
May.Naturally vigorous trees. Many varieties.
Prunus domestica

Plums and Gages. Major Nectar + Pollen, April – May.All
cultivars benefit from cross-pollination with other varieties.
Prunus dulcis

Sweet Almond. Nectar + Pollen, early spring. Cool climate
cultivars benefit from cross-pollination.
Prunus insititia

Gages and Damsons. Nectar + Pollen, March – April.All
cultivars benefit from cross-pollination with other varieties.
Pyrus communis var. sativa

Pear. Nectar + Pollen, April – May. Several varieties.

Fragaria x ananassa

Garden strawberry. Pollen, April – July
Fragaria vesca

Wild strawberry. Pollen, May – June. Good ground cover
Ribes nigrum

Blackcurrant. Major Nectar + Pollen, April – May, honey
crop. Excellent for all bees
Ribes rubrum

Redcurrant, Whitecurrant. Major Nectar + Pollen, April –
May. Honey crop. Excellent for all bees

Gooseberry. Major Nectar + Pollen. March – May. Honey crop.
Excellent for all bees
Rubus fruticosus and hybrids

Blackberry and hybrid berries. Major Nectar + Pollen, May –
Rubus idaeus

Raspberry. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – August. Honey crop.
Excellent for all bees
Rubus loganobaccus

Loganberry. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – August. On a par
with Raspberry. Excellent for all bees.

Aralia elata, A. spinosa

Japanese angelica, and Hercules Club. Both deciduous, Nectar
major, August – September
Berberis spp, B.darwinii

Berberis. Range of evergreen species, Nectar + Pollen, April –
Buddleja globose

Orange ball tree. Nectar, June
Callicarpa bodinieri

Callicarpa. Nectar, July
Calluna vulgaris

Heather, Ling. Evergreen dwarf, Major Nectar + Pollen, August –
September. Excellent for all bees
Ceanothus spp

Ceanothus. Range of large evergreen species, Nectar + Pollen,
April – November
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Buttonbush. Major Nectar, August.
Chaenomeles spp

Quince. Nectar + Pollen, February– April
Cistus spp

Sun rose (aka Rock Rose). Range of evergreen species, some but not
all hardy, Major Nectar + Pollen, May-July
Clematis cirrhosa

Climber. Pollen, December– February
Clematis montana

Climber. Nectar + Pollen, April – May
Cotoneaster spp, C.adpressus, C.conspicuus

Range of evergreen species, Nectar + Pollen, May – July
Cytisus scoparius

Broom. Pollen, May – June
Deutzia spp

Range of deciduous species, Pollen. Summer.
Erica cinereal, Erica tetralix

Heaths. Bell heath often grows wild with Heather. Major Nectar +
Pollen, March – September. Excellent for all bees
Escallonia macrantha One of the few hardy species of this genera, Nectar + Pollen, June
– September
Fushia magellanica

Fushia. Nectar, June – September

Hebe spp., Hebe elliptica

Range of evergreen species, Nectar + Pollen, July, August
Hedera helix

Ivy. Evergreen climber. Major Nectar + Pollen, September–
November. (Does NOT harm trees!) Good ground cover too.
Helianthemum spp, H. nummularium

Rock Rose. Small evergreen shrub, Pollen, May – July
Hydrangea petiolaris

Climbing hydrangea (not the ordinary garden hydrangeas), Nectar +
Pollen, June – August
Hypericum calycinum

Rose of Sharon. Major Pollen, June – September
Hyssopus officinalis

Hyssop. Small evergreen, Nectar + Pollen, June – October
Ilex aquifolium

Holly. Nectar, May – June
Kolkwitzia amabilis

Large deciduous shrub, Nectar + Pollen, May – June.
Lavandula angustifolia

English Lavender. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – August
Ligustrum ovalifolium

Garden privet. Major Nectar, August – September

Lonicera fragrantissima

Winter-flowering Honeysuckle. Deciduous Nectar + Pollen. December
– March
Mahonia aquifolium, M. japonica

Large evergreen shrub, Nectar + Pollen, November – April
Perovskia atriplicifolia

Russian sage. Major Nectar + Pollen, July – October

Pyracantha coccinea

Firethorn. Major Nectar + Pollen, May – June
Ribes sanguineum

Flowering ornamental currants. Nectar + Pollen, April
Rosa spp, R.canina

Single flowered species like Dogrose. Pollen, June – July

Sarcococca confusa

Sweet box. Evergreen. Nectar + Pollen, December – March
Symphoricarpos albus

Snowberry.Major Nectar + Pollen, June – August
Symphoricarpos occidentalis

Wolfberry. Nectar + Pollen, June – August
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Coralberry. Nectar + Pollen, June – August
Teucrium fruticans

Tree germander. Major Nectar + Pollen, July – November
Ulex europaeus

Gorse. Major Pollen, February – June
Viburnum tinus

Laurustinus. Pollen, October – April

Achilea filipendulina, A.millefolium

Fern-leaf yarrow and yarrow. Nectar + Pollen, July –
Agastache foeniculum

Anise hyssop. Major Nectar, June – October. Excellent for
all bees
Ajuga reptans

Bugle. Nectar + Pollen, May – July, good ground cover.
Althaea officinalis

Marshmallow. Major Pollen + some Nectar. July – September
Anchusa azurea

Garden anchusa or Italian bugloss. Major Nectar, June –
Anchusa officinalis

Alkanet. Major Nectar, June – September.
Anemone nemorosa

Wood anemone. Pollen, March – May
Arabis alpine

Alpine rock-cress. Pollen + Nectar both major, March – May
Armeria maritime

Thrift. Major Nectar, May – July. Excellent for all bees
Aster spp

Michaelmas daisy. Major Nectar + Pollen, July – October.
Excellent for all bees
Astrantia maxima, A. Major

Masterwort. Pollen, June – August
Aubrieta deltoidea

Major Nectar + Pollen, April – May
Campanula spp

Bellflowers. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – September.
Excellent for all bees.
Cardamine pratensis

Cuckoo flower or Lady’s smock. Nectar + Pollen, April –

Centaurea Montana

Perennial cornflower. Major Nectar + Pollen, June –
Centaurea nigra

Common knapweed. Major Nectar + Pollen, source of honey in
Ireland. June – September
Centaurea scabiesa

Greater knapweed. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – September
Dandelion (Taraxacumofficinale)

Native weed deserving a place undisturbed. Major Nectar + Pollen,
March – October
Dictamnus albus

Burning bush. Nectar + Pollen, May – July
Echinops spp

Globe thistles. Nectar + Pollen, July – August

Eryngium spp

Sea-holly. Nectar + Pollen, July – August

Erysimum spp

Wallflower. Nectar + Pollen, April – June.
Eupatorium cannabinum

Hemp agrimony. Nectar + Pollen, July – September

Helenium spp

Sneezeweed. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – October

Gaillardia spp

Blanket flower. Nectar + Pollen, June – September
Galega orientalis

Goat’s rue. Pollen, May – August

Geum spp

Avens, various species. Pollen, May – September
Geranium phaeum

Dusky cranesbill. Nectar + Pollen, May – September
Geranium pratense

Meadow cranesbill. Nectar + Pollen, May – September

Gypsophila paniculata

Baby’s breath. Nectar, July – August
Helleborus spp

Hellebore. Pollen, December – March

Hypericum perforatum

St John’s Wort. Major Pollen, May – August

Knautia arvensis

Field scabious. Major Nectar + Pollen, July–August
Leonurus cardiac

Motherwort. Nectar, July – October
Lotus corniculatus

Bird’s-foot trefoil. Major Nectar + Pollen, June –
September. Excellent for all bees.
Lythrum salicaria

Purple loosestrife. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – August

Malva spp, M. Arborea

Lavatera species and tree mallow. Major Pollen + Nectar, June –
Marrubium vulgare

White horehound. Major Nectar, June – September. Medicinal
Monarda punctata

Spotted bee balm. Nectar, July – September. Medicinal
producing thymol.
Nepeta cataria Native Catnip, Catmint. Major Nectar + Pollen, June –

Nepeta racemose, N. x faassenii

Garden Catmints. Major Nectar + Pollen, May – September

Paeonia spp

Peony, single flowered forms. Pollen, June – July

Papaver orientale

Oriental poppy. Major Pollen, May – October
Polymonium caeruleum

Jacob’s ladder. Major Nectar + Pollen. June – August
Onybrychis viciifolia

Sainfoin. Major Nectar + Pollen, May – September. Excellent
for all bees.
Sedum spectabile

Stonecrop. Major Nectar + Pollen, July – September.
Excellent for all bees
Solidago virgauea

Goldenrod, native spp. Major Nectar + Pollen, July –
October. Excellent for all bees
Stachys recta

Yellow perennial woundwort. Major Nectar + Pollen, June –
October. Honey crop in Europe
Succisa pratensis

Devil’s bit scabious. Major Nectar + Pollen, July –
Tanacetum vulgare

Tansy. Nectar + Pollen, July – September
Teucrium scorodonia

Wood Sage. Major Nectar + Pollen, July – September

White clover. Regarded as a weed by some, this deserves to be sown
with all grasses. Major Nectar + Pollen, May – October.
Honey crop. Excellent for all bees
Verbena bonariensis and spp

Argentinean vervain. Nectar + Pollen, July – November
Veronica longifolia and spp

Veronica. Major Nectar + Pollen, March – September.
Excellent for all bees

Alcea rosea

Hollyhock. Major Pollen + some Nectar, July – September
Borago officinalis

Borage. Major Nectar + Pollen, April – October. Excellent
for all bees
Centaurea cyanus

Cornflower. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – August. Excellent
for all bees
Cichorium intybus

Chicory. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – October, honey crop
Cosmos bipinnatus

Cosmos. Nectar + Pollen, July – September
Dipsacus spp

Tease, all species. Major Nectar + Pollen. July – August.
Excellent for all bees
Echium vulgare

Viper’s bugloss. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – July.
Excellent for all bees
Erigeron spp

Fleabane. Nectar + Pollen, July – August
Eschscholzia californica

Californian poppy. Pollen, July – September
Fagopyrum esculentum

Buckwheat. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – August, honey crop
Gaillardia pulchella

Annual gaillardia. Nectar + Pollen, June – September

Helianthus annuus

Sunflower. Nectar + Pollen, July –October. Excellent for all
Hesperis matronalis

Sweet rocket. Pollen, May – July

Iberis umbellate

Candytuft. Nectar + Pollen, July – August
Limnanthes douglasi

Poached egg plant. Nectar + Pollen, June – September
Lobula maritime

Sweet Alison. Nectar + Pollen, July – August
Melilotus officinalis, M.albus

Melilot sweet clover, yellow clover. Major Nectar + Pollen, June –

Myosotis spp

Forget-me-not. Nectar + Pollen (Pollen so minute much is drawn
into bees’ honey stomach), April – September

Nemophila menziesii

Baby-blue-eyes. Easily grown annual, Nectar + Pollen, June –

Nigella damascene

Love-in-a-mist. Nectar + Pollen, May – September
Oenothera biennis, O.glazioviana

Evening primrose. Pollen, June – September
Papaver rhoeas

Common poppy. Major Pollen, May – September

Perezia multiflora

Perezia. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – July

Phacelia tanacetifolia

Phacelia. Major Nectar + Pollen, April – December

Reseda odorata

Mignonette. Major Nectar + Pollen, May – September

Salvia pratensis

Meadow sage. Nectar + Pollen, June – August

Salvia verbanaca

Wild sage. Nectar + Pollen, June – August

Scophularia spp

Figwort. Nectar. June – September, excellent for all bees.
Trifolium dubium

Lesser trefoil. Major Nectar, June – July
Verbascum olympicum

Greek verbascum. Major Pollen, June – August

Allium cepa

Onion, left to flower. Major Nectar, June – August
Allium porrum

Leek, left to flower. Major Nectar, June – August
Allium schonoprasum

Chive, left to flower. Major Nectar, June – August
Asparagus officinalis

Asparagus, left to flower. Major Nectar + Pollen June –
Brassica spp

Brassica species left to flower, Nectar + Pollen, April –
Cucurbita pepo, C.maxima

Marrow, courgette, pumpkin. Major Nectar + Pollen (especially
large pollen grains; sought after) June – August. Excellent
for all bees
Cynara cardunculus

Cardoon. Nectar + Pollen, June – September
Cynara cardunculus var scolymus

Artichokes, left to flower. Nectar + Pollen, June –

Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel. Nectar + Pollen, June – August

Mentha spicata

Spearmint. Nectar + Pollen, May – October

Ocimum basilicum

Basil, flowering encouraged by not picking leaves or stems. Nectar
+ Pollen, July – September.
Origanum vulgare

Wild marjoram. Nectar, July – September
Phaseolus coccineus

Runner bean. Nectar + Pollen, March – July

Raphanus spp

Radish. Major Nectar + Pollen, June – July
Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary. Nectar + Pollen, April – June

Salvia officinalis

Sage. Nectar, June – August
Satureja Montana

Savory, perennial. Nectar + Pollen, June – July

Thymus polytrichus, T.vulgaris

Wild and garden thyme. Nectar, May – August
Thymus x citriodorus

Lemon thyme. Nectar, May – August
Vicia faba

Broad bean. Major Nectar + Pollen, March – July


Camassia spp

C.cusikii, C.leichtlinii, C.quamash. Nectar + Pollen, April –
Chionodoxa luciliae

Glory of the snow. Nectar + Pollen, March – May

Crocus spp

Species and cultivars all provide major Pollen. February –

Dahlia spp

Single varieties such as ‘Happy Single’ and ‘Dark
Angel’ series. Nectar + Pollen, July – September

Eranthis hyemalis

Winter aconite. Major Nectar + Pollen, January – March.
Excellent to establish in vicinity of beehives.
Fritillaria imperialis

Crown imperial. Showy garden plant, major Nectar, March –

Galanthus nivalis

Snowdrop. Pollen, February – March

Galtonia candicans

Summer hyacinth. Nectar + Pollen, August – September

Leucojum vernum

Snowflake. Pollen, February – April

Polygonatum odoratum

Solomon’s Seal. Nectar + Pollen, May – June


Grape hyacinth. Nectar + Pollen, March – May