The Ashridge Nurseries Blog

My top 8 plants to attract bees and other pollinators

Your garden is home to a huge range of insects and other living creatures and they all play a really important role in pollinating our plants.

In order to benefit the pollinating wildlife, the best way to encourage them is to grow pollen and nectar-rich plants that they love.

Here are my top plants for pollinators:

  1. Lavender - top of the list. Bees love lavender and butterflies too, especially at this time if year. There's a real buzz around my lavender. I love the smell, the noise, the movement from flower to flower, the colour of Hidcote lavender. Every garden should have some.

2. Foxgloves - a great self-seeder, but I have spent many a happy time, watching the bees go in and out of the flowers, burying themselves deep into the flowers.

3. Cosmos - are very long-flowering and will keep on blooming from June until late autumn, they really are wonderful with a huge number of styles and colours, and they smell lovely too. UK native ladybird in pink cosmos.

4. Verbena - tall plants with five petals borne in dense spikes, perfect purple flowers that add height and colour to any border. Again the pollinators love them. Here's a bee on a verbena, right next to a poppy seed head.

5. Poppies - have been incredible this year, perhaps due to the warmth of last summer they self-seeded everywhere and have been a real joy to see in the most extraordinary nooks and crannies. Here are bees enjoying our poppies.

6. Honeysuckle - smells so sweet and is always a favourite of bees, although in this photo there is a hover fly enjoying the nectar. There are so many types of insect that can act as pollinators and therefore there are a wide variety of plants that are suitable to encourage them into your garden.

7. Roses - especially the sweet smelling varieties as they do attract the bees.

8. Geranium rozanne - a vigorous spreading perennial with violet-blue flowers. It's one of the most popular flowers and is just so pretty.


There are so many other flowers that benefit pollinators such as wallflowers, marigolds, dahlias that we also have in our garden. As well as the butterfly tree, the buddleia. Borage is another insect favorite although ours is now over, but beware is does self-seed and is rather rampart in parts of the vegetable patch.

If you have a small herb garden, then chives, marjoram, rosemary and sage are good for bees, as are strawberries and raspberries.

Even in the winter and spring months there are some flowers that really benefit pollinators, such as crocuses, snowdrops.

Enjoy the buzz of the bees and make sure you look after plants that fertilise fruit trees and vegetables.


Happy gardening




2 thoughts on “My top 8 plants to attract bees and other pollinators”

  • Terry Yorke

    Hello I just love your news letters,being lonely and living on my own,
    brightens up any dull day.

    I shall however be looking to plant a dozen Strawberry plans in the Green House,I would appreciate it if you could suggest a suitable variety.

    As Autumn will soon be here !!!.

    • Mark Cadbury

      Dear Terry

      Thank you for response. The strawberry plant I would recommend is Cambridge Favourite, which will be available late October, early November. It's a reliable cropper, excellent for jam & freezing, good for growing in pots, cropping from mid-June. Here's the website page for Cambridge Favourite -

      All the best. Mark

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