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Bring Bees

Bring Bees Into Your Garden

By having plants for bees in your garden, and other creature inviting elements you are ultimately nurturing and cultivating an environment that supports biodiversity.

Bees ensure the retention of the diversity of our ecosystems. And as very important pollinators; bees increase our blooms and crops through the pollination of flowering plants, fruits, nuts and veggies.

What to do to Invite Bees Into Your Garden:

Bees use scent to find flowers from afar, so choose sweetly scented, nectar-rich plants.  They only see the colour of plants when they get closer to them.

Bees are attracted to blue, yellow, white, purple and violet flowers with violet being their top choice.

Some flowers have nectar guides, only visible in ultraviolet light.  Because bees can see ultraviolet light, these guides act as markers of a sure source of food and bees will choose these flowers in a field of others.

It is more beneficial to plant a variety of flowers in larger groups of similar flowers, if possible, rather than one or two here or there.

Bees need:   

  • Nectar – the high sugar content provide them with energy
  • Pollen – their source of proteins and fats
  • Fresh water – provided in a shallow source like a birdbath or shallow pond.

Avoid using harmful pesticides and chemicals.

Plants for Bees:

Below we have put together some suggestions of herbs, perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees that you can plant to invite bees into your garden.

Key: *** INDIGENOUS

HERBS to Attract Bees into Your Garden:

Margaret Roberts Lavender (Lavandula intermedia ‘Margaret Roberts’)

  • Position: Sun
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: Violet
  • Flower Time: Year round
  • Size:  150cm x 150cm
  • Plant type: Perennial shrub
  • Foliage:  Evergreen

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

  • Position: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Low
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: Blue
  • Flower Time: Spring to summer
  • Size:  100cm x 100cm
  • Plant type: Perennial Shrub
  • Foliage:  Evergreen

Garden Mint (Mentha spicata)

  • Position: Full sun to Semi-shade
  • Water Requirements: High
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: White
  • Flower Time: Summer
  • Size:  40cm x 15cm
  • Plant type: Perennial Groundcover
  • Foliage:  Evergreen

Borage (Borago officinalis)

  • Position: Full sun to Semi-Shade
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy:  No
  • Flower Color: Blue
  • Flower Time: Mid-spring to summer
  • Size:  90cm x 60cm
  • Plant type:  Annual

Other options of Herbs:  Thyme, Lemon Balm, Sage, Citrus, Fennel, Dill, Tansy, Catnip, Coriander, Strawberries, Granadillas, Rocket

PERENNIALS to Attract Bees into Your Garden:

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

  • Position: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: Purple
  • Flower Time: Mid-summer to late autumn
  • Size:  75cm x 30cm
  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Foliage:  Deciduous

Blue Mealy Sage (Salvia farinacea ‘Victoria’)

  • Position: Full sun/Afternoon shade
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Flower Color: Blue
  • Flower Time: Summer to autumn
  • Size:  70cm x 30cm
  • Plant type: Annual

Cape Marguerite (Osteospermum ecklonis)

  • Position: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Low
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: Violet / White
  • Flower Time: Early spring to later summer
  • Size:  75cm x 100cm
  • Plant type: Perennial Groundcover
  • Foliage:  Evergreen

Blue Lily (Agapanthus praecox) ***

  • Position: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: Violet / White
  • Flower Time: Summer
  • Size:  1m x 1m
  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Foliage:  Evergreen

Ribbon Bush (Hypoestes aristata) ***

  • Position: Full sun / Semi-shade
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: Semi-hardy
  • Flower Color: Purple / Pink
  • Flower Time: Late autumn to winter
  • Size:  1m x 1m
  • Plant type: Perennial shrub
  • Foliage:  Evergreen

Other options of Perennials: Rudbeckia, Scabiosa, Felicia, Euryops, Arctotis, Barleria, Diascia, Geranium incanum, Bulbine, Watsonia, Arums, Mesembryanthemum

ANNUALS to Attract Bees into Your Garden:

Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)

  • Position: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Low
  • Hardy: No
  • Flower Color: White/Pink
  • Flower Time: Summer
  • Size:  100cm x 30cm
  • Plant type: Annual

Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)

  • Position: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: Yellow / Orange
  • Flower Time: Winter to early spring
  • Size:  35cm x 35cm
  • Plant type: Annual herb

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

  • Position: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: No
  • Flower Color: Yellow
  • Flower Time: Summer
  • Size:  250cm x 30cm
  • Plant type: Annual

Fairy Primula (Primula malacoides)

  • Position: Semi-shade
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: White/Pink/Lavender
  • Flower Time: late winter to spring
  • Size:  20cm x 25cm
  • Plant type: Annual

Cape Forget-me-not (Anchusa capensis) ***

  • Position: Sun / Semi-shade
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: No
  • Flower Color: Blue / White
  • Flower Time: Spring to summer
  • Size:  40cm x 25cm
  • Plant type:  Annual

Other options of Annuals: Sweet Williams, Marigolds, Nemesia, Hollyhock, Lobularia maritima, Poppies, Portulaca, Nasturtium

SHRUBS to Attract Bees into Your Garden:

September Bush (Polygala myrtifolia) ***

  • Position: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: Purple
  • Flower Time: Spring to summer
  • Size:  3m x 2m
  • Plant type: Shrub
  • Foliage:  Evergreen

Heather (Erica spp) ***

  • Position: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: Pink/Purple/White/Red
  • Flower Time: Year round depending on species
  • Size:  Varies according to species
  • Plant type: Shrub
  • Foliage:  Evergreen

Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

  • Position: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: No
  • Flower Color: Pink/Yellow/White/Purple/Red
  • Flower Time: Spring to summer
  • Size:  4m x 3m
  • Plant type: Shrub
  • Foliage:  Evergreen

Aloes (Aloe spp) ***

  • Position: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Low
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: Varies according to species.  Mostly hues of orange, yellow and red
  • Flower Time: Varies according to species.  Mostly in winter.
  • Size:  Varies according to species.
  • Plant type: Succulent shrub
  • Foliage:  Evergreen

Other options of Shrubs: Hebe, Portulacaria afra, Buddleia saligna,  Leonotis leonurus, Hellebores, Plectranthus spp, Buchu, Proteas

TREES to Attract Bees into Your Garden:

Wild Pear (Dombeya rotundifolia) ***

  • Position: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: White
  • Flower Time: Late winter to early spring
  • Size:  6m x 4m
  • Plant type: Tree
  • Foliage:  Deciduous

Wild Laburnum (Calpurnia aurea) ***

  • Position: Full sun / Semi-shade
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: Yellow
  • Flower Time: Late summer to autumn
  • Size:  3m x 2m
  • Plant type: Small tree
  • Foliage:  Evergreen 

Forest Elder (Nuxia floribunda) ***

  • Position: Full sun / Semi-shade
  • Water Requirements: Medium
  • Hardy: Yes
  • Flower Color: White
  • Flower Time: Winter to early spring
  • Size:  5m x 3m
  • Plant type: Tree
  • Foliage:  Evergreen

Other options of trees: Halleria lucida, Rhamnus prinoides, Erythrina caffra, Syzygium cordatum, Ziziphus mucronata, Searsia lancea, Euclea crispa

Provide food and shelter for pollinators in your garden and help preserve the diversity of our ecosystems!

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