Bees play an important role in our ecosystem by pollinating flowers and crops, allowing plants to produce fruits and seeds. Unfortunately, bee populations have been declining in recent years, and one thing we can do to help is plant flowers that provide food and habitat for these important pollinators. Here are some of the best flowers to plant for bees in Ontario if you’re a gardener.
Bee balm (Monarda spp.): As the name implies, bee balm is an excellent plant for attracting bees to your garden. The colourful flowers bloom from mid-summer to early fall and come in shades of red, pink, and purple. Bee balm is also a good choice for herb gardens because the leaves have a spicy, minty flavour and can be used to make tea.
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.): Goldenrod is a native wildflower that is frequently blamed for allergies, but it is pollinated by bees rather than the wind. The tall, yellow flowers bloom in late summer and fall, providing nectar to bees and other pollinators. Goldenrod is also ideal for naturalised or meadow gardens.
Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) are popular garden plants that come in a variety of colours such as pink, purple, and white. They bloom from midsummer to fall and provide nectar to bees and butterflies. Coneflowers are also simple to grow and can thrive in a variety of soil types and conditions.
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.): A popular choice for garden borders and meadows, black-eyed Susan is another native wildflower. From midsummer to fall, the bright yellow flowers with dark centres bloom and provide nectar for bees and other pollinators. Black-eyed Susan tolerates dry, sunny conditions as well.
Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium spp.) is a tall native wildflower that blooms in late summer and fall, producing clusters of pink or purple flowers. It provides nectar to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, and it also attracts birds. Joe-Pye weed prefers moist soil with some shade.
Lavender (Lavandula spp.): A popular garden plant known for its fragrant flowers and foliage. Bees are drawn to the purple-blue flowers that bloom from midsummer to fall. Lavender grows best in well-drained soil and in full sunlight, and it can also be used in cooking and crafts.
Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.): Sunflowers are a classic garden plant that grows easily and comes in a variety of sizes and colours, ranging from small, yellow dwarf varieties to giant, multi-colored varieties. Bees are drawn to the large, showy flowers that bloom from midsummer to fall and are also popular with birds.
Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa): Bee balm, or wild bergamot, is a native wildflower that blooms from midsummer to early fall. It belongs to the mint family and has clusters of pink, lavender, or purple flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Wild bergamot prefers direct sunlight but can tolerate partial shade.
Finally, planting a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the growing season is essential for providing food and habitat for bees in your garden. You can help support the bee population and contribute to a healthier ecosystem by incorporating some of these plants into your garden. Good luck with your gardening!