Close up of pink cosmos with bee

Best flowers to grow for bees in the UK

There’s a real buzz around bees at the moment and, in my opinion, it’s well and truly deserved! Bees make the world go round and are super important to maintaining a balanced food chain and eco-system, right here in the UK.

With this in mind, many of us are now looking for inspiration as to how we can help keep the bee population from dwindling as developments and intensive farming puts a strain on these perfect pollinators. Here to help as always, this blog gives you the lowdown on which flowers you can grow which are the best for bees!

Why are bees so important?

Let’s start by taking a look at why bees are Queen B when it comes to keeping a healthy balance for maintaining life on earth!

Pollinators for our food

Bees are busy playing an important part in food production. They are the hardest working pollinators in the UK and this helps to produce plenty of different delicious fruit and vegetables, including tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli and even almonds! It’s estimated that a third of the food we eat in the UK is dependent on pollination and all our natural pollinators are thought to contribute a whopping £400 million to the UK economy!

Pollinators for livestock feed

Not only do bees help sustainable farming of the fruit and vegetables we eat but they also help feed the livestock we rear for meat too! Crops such as oilseed rape, clover and field beans all need to be pollenated and play a huge role in providing both feed and forage for cows, sheep and other livestock.

Making honey

Okay so let’s talk about the good stuff. It’s no secret bees make honey and, as a honey lover, boy am I grateful! A colony of bees, which is around 50,000 in size makes an average of 14kg of the gold stuff! Honey is a fantastic source of natural sugars and is not only delicious to eat but has other medicinal uses as well. For example, it’s has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, so it is often used to fight illness such as colds and flu. It’s also hugely important for skincare, helping to reduce acne and keep the skin hydrated!

Bee on pink wildflower

Why are bee numbers threatened?

So now we know why bees are so important but why do we need to support bees and why are the numbers dwindling? Let’s take a look at the biggest problems facing bees in the UK.

Habitat & food source loss

Urbanisation, business parks, housing developments and intensive farming have all contributed to significant habitat loss for bees in the UK. Areas such as wildflower meadows, are absolutely crucial to the survival of a number of bee species. However, the loss of habitats like these means that bees struggle to find shelter and a pollen source.


The use of pesticides on both farmed crops and horticultural flowers has contributed to the decline of some species of bees. Sprays such as weedkillers can remove important plant species for bees and insecticides, such as neonicotinoids have been reported to cause considerable damage to a healthy bee population. This insecticide, used by farmers and gardeners, aims to stop damage to plants by invertebrates. However, the chemicals are thought to get into the sap, nectar and pollen, causing issues for honeybees and bumblebees when foraging.

Climate change

Another major contributor is thought to be climate change. The extreme weather conditions and fast paced changes to our climate means that the bees are struggling to react and cope, with a noticeable change in their movements and synchronicity with the seasons. For example, the cold and wet spring this year means that many flowers will bloom later than usual, something which the bees can find stressful – damaging their natural and instinctive foraging abilities.

Wildflowers are the best flower to grow for bees

Bees in the UK have evolved pollinating native wildflower species therefore, these are best to grow for bees. They are often attracted to pinks and purples and once you’ve grown bee-friendly wildflowers and they are in bloom, you will very quickly see just how much of a buzz they make! The six wildflowers in the list below are my top flowers to grow for bees in the UK and will make a real difference to helping to maintain our bee population.


  • Annual wildflower
  • Flowers from around June-September
  • Can be grown just about anywhere!


  • Annual wildflower
  • Flowers from around April-September
  • Can be grown just about anywhere!


  • Perennial wildflower
  • Flowers from around June-September
  • Looks amazing in shaded areas and garden borders & beds

 Vipers Bugloss

  • Biennial wildflower
  • Flowers from around May-September
  • Perfect for gardens and meadows


  • Perennial wildflower
  • Flowers from around May-September
  • Perfect for gardens and meadows. It is also a great flower for cutting

Red Campion

  • Perennial wildflower
  • Flowers from around May-August
  • Perfect for shaded or wetland areas, gardens and meadows.

What else can you do to help bees?

In addition to growing the best flowers for bees in your garden or meadow, there are other simple steps you can take to help….

Create a shelter

Buying or making a bee hotel and popping it outside is a quick and cost-effective way to help. These shelters provide a place for bees to lay eggs and provide shelter in difficult conditions. Simply secure the hotel to a wall, fence or post over a metre off the ground.  Ideally the shelter will be facing the sun and, in the autumn and winter, you can relocate it into a garden shed if you have one. This bee house from Marie Curie  is a great option and your purchase also goes towards a great cause!

Create a buzz

Another free and easy way to help is by talking to others about how they may be able to support the bee population. Raising awareness of the issues and how we can all help is a super important way to create a buzz. The more people who are conscious about the way we impact on wildlife, and bees in particular, the more chance we have of creating a more sustainable relationship with nature.

Support a charity

Supporting a legitimate charity with donations or your time, would also be fantastic! Although not everyone may be able to do this, if you can, it is another great option for supporting bees here in the UK. Charities can help to raise awareness, carry out important research and help influence positive change.

Here are a couple of charities to take a look at if you’re interested in supporting!

As always, if you have any questions or would like any further information on growing wildflowers for bees, please get in touch.