Last Updated on May 20, 2022 by Real Men Sow
Bedding plants are one practical solution for enhancing the aesthetics of your garden. It usually makes use of colorful fast-growing plants to create a certain theme within your flower beds. These types of plants are great for temporary or seasonal displays.
Apart from the visual appeal, do you know that bedding plants are also found to be effective at attracting bees?
You see, bees play a vital role in the pollination of plants in the environment. This process helps them to grow and reproduce naturally. Think of the bees as mother nature’s designated pollinators.
In this article, we gathered a good list of the most sought-after bedding plants. They are proven to be awesome at attracting bees and other beneficial bugs into your garden. Not to mention, they surely add a beautiful touch of vibrancy to your space.
Best Bedding Plants To Attract Bees
This plant is available in two garden-worthy varieties which, by the way, are both very much loved by bees. In fact, they are actually a favorite among the honey bees and a range of wild native bees.
Cosmos bipinnatus is a fine, feathery species that bears flowers that are predominantly pink. However, it can also produce white or dark rose flowers depending on the type. Although pink cosmos seedlings grow slowly, bedding plants are well worth the investment.
On the other hand, the Cosmos sulphureus is a fast-growing kind that can be planted from seeds. They are awesome re-seeders and so can help you save some bucks by harvesting the existing seeds rather than purchasing them again and again from nurseries.
Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is often referred to as the sweet cousin of cabbage. It blooms in spring and can be weeks ahead of most summer flowers. Alyssum’s fine texture and compact size are ideal for placing into small containers or beds. The plants will grow into fluffy clouds of purple, pink, or white flowers.
The honey-scented nectar of the Alyssum is what basically attracts the bees, hoverflies, wasps, and other insects. This sweet scent is found to be strongest in the evening.
Marigolds, especially those with open centers, are very attractive to bees. Although little Gem marigolds are similar to the French variety, they don’t bloom as long as French marigolds. On that note, it is rather a good idea to simply save the seeds from a favorite strain for future planting.
This plant thrives in hot summer temperatures and is a popular favorite among bees and butterflies too. As much as possible, do not buy the double-flowered variety. The denseness of the flowers makes it more difficult for the bees to reach into the middle of the yellow florets.
To add, the tall varieties are great for cutting flowers. However, the shorter narrow-leaf species are more capable of resisting diseases. On that account, the latter is much more resilient and easier to take care of.
Salvia is one of the largest genus among the family of Sages. Salvia coccinea is the most loved species by butterflies and bees. It is known as scarlet sage. But, it also comes in coral and pink colors which bees are very much drawn to as well. The tubular flowers attract butterflies and long-tongued honeybees. Most importantly, they bloom for months without much care.
Snapdragons as bedding plants
The Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majorus) are designed to be pollinated only by large bumblebees. They are the only pollinators strong enough to open these heavy-lipped flowers. Research with bees suggests that snapdragons with stripes and veins in their blossoms are much easier for bees to penetrate. However, any variety can become a beacon for bumblebees in the garden.
Portulaca (Portulaca grandiflora), also known as moss rose, is a hugely attractive flower for honeybees. The flowers tend to stay close to the ground at night and during rainy weather. Thus, providing adequate protection to the pollen supply.
This semi-succulent plant is extremely tolerant to hot weather. Hence, they are compatible to grow in containers or on sunny flower beds. If you are looking for bedding plants, choose single or semi-double varieties that have open centers. This is what bees prefer to see over dense double blossoms.
Sunflowers (Helianthus Annuus) are a great way to attract pollinators such as beetles, wasps, and bees too, of course. You can grow the sunflower plant from seeds or seedlings. To help extend the blooming season a bit longer, you can also try sowing seeds from the seedlings purchased during the early spring.
Why Should You Attract Bees To The Garden With Bedding Plants?
Bees tend to have a natural symbiotic relationship with the environment. These creatures are basically dependent on plants for nutrition. They collect this sugar-rich liquid called nectar from the flowers. The nectar is the bee’s main source of energy.
Aside from nectar, bees also visit the plants for their pollen. Pollen is a fine powdery substance derived from seed-producing plants. The pollen grains are mainly essential in the reproduction of plants. They also contain protein-rich enzymes which serve as another excellent source of nutrition for bees, especially their larvae.
As the bees gather the pollens, they help to disseminate them by visiting other plants. Thus, allowing the process of cross-pollination to naturally take place. The cross-pollination encourages the flowers to produce more seeds. And, more seeds means that more flowers and plants can grow too.
On that note, the bees then become well-known in the ecosystem as master pollinators. They get to feed on these plants while helping them to reproduce in return. In the end, it is a total win-win situation for the bees, the garden, and you, of course!
5 Tips To Effectively Attract Bees To Your Garden
Tip #1: Provide a bee-friendly habitat.
Most types of wild bees tend to create their own nest using materials they can easily gather within the vicinity. Thus, if you want to attract them to your garden, it is best to leave out some brush piles, dry grasses, and dead branches or woods. This will serve as raw materials the bees can use to construct their home.
Tip #2: Plant bee-attracting plants.
Bees will always be drawn to flowers. It is their nature! Nevertheless, you should know that there are certain plant types that are more effective at attracting these master pollinators.
Plants that have a single flower are one of those. Single flowers refer to plants that have simple corolla with one ring of petals. These varieties tend to produce more pollen and nectar. Moreover, they are much easier to access by the bees since they are less dense compared to double flowers.
Bees have an incredible color vision too. They have the ability to see ultraviolet lights. And so, they usually associate the bright hues of flowers with the presence of nectars. Most particularly, plants with blue, yellow, purple, and white flowers seem to catch more attention from bees.
Native plants tend to attract wild bees more as well. They naturally evolve together. Hence, they see them as a good and safe source of food.
Tip #3: Designate a bee box.
If you are serious to attract more bees, then why not consider backyard beekeeping. You can place a beehive box or two in your garden to ensure the bees will stick around in your area. This man-made beehive provides the bees a safe spot to nest, store foods, and even create a colony.
Tip #4: Provide a water source for bees.
Bees do get thirsty too you know. Thus, it would be a pleasant idea to place an accessible water source within your garden. A shallow birdbath would work perfectly fine. Not only will it benefit the bees, but other beneficial animals as well.
Tip #5: Avoid using toxic pest-control measures.
Chemical-laden pesticides are harmful to bees. Hence, you must steer away from using these products if you want to keep the bees happy in your garden. You can instead use natural pest-control methods that are proven safe and non-toxic. Alternatives such as soapy water, neem oil, diatomaceous earth are a few among the most effective options.
The Best Bedding Plant That Attract The Most Bees?
Among all the bedding plants mentioned, the cosmos plant seems to ace all the good qualities. For one, it contains a significant amount of pollen and nectar which helps to attract and feed the bees. Moreover, it has an open flower which makes it easier for the bees to access. On top of it all, the cosmos plant is very easy to grow with little to no demand for maintenance.
Then again, there can never be too many of these bedding plants. A good variety of which makes them more effective at attracting the bees. Plus, you can dismiss the fact that they are such a pleasant sight to see in your garden too.