Bumblebees need lots of pollen and nectar to feed themselves and their young.

Here are some suggestions of flowers you can plant in your garden to feed them and help to reverse their decline.

Top tips for feeding bumblebees

  • pollen and nectar are only good for bees if you avoid using insecticides on your plants
  • it’s much easier for bumblebees to reach pollen and nectar in simple, single flowers rather than frillier varieties
  • there are several types of bumblebee, all with different feeding preferences. Include a variety of flower shapes to feed as many bees as possible
  • large clumps of flowers attract more bees - they don’t waste energy flying between plants.

August plants for bumblebees

  • Purple toadflax - easy to grow and self-seeds
  • Purple loosestrife - for damp places with some sun
  • Globe thistle (echinops) - a magnet for bees but you need a large sunny space
  • Autumn crocus (colchicum) - plant them now to help the bees later.

Fruits and vegetables

If you grow your own vegetables, fresh herbs are a great way to add variety.

Some of our favourite herbs that are also loved by bumblebees are:

  • chives
  • fennel - also loved by hover flies whose larvae feed on aphids
  • marjoram and oregano
  • mint - plant in a large pot as it’s invasive
  • thyme.

Like all wildlife, bumblebees need water, especially on hot summer days. Fill a shallow bowl with pebbles and top it up with clean water to provide for thirsty bees.

Finally, enjoy the buzz in your garden!

Sources: Gardening for a Wilder Kent / Bumblebee Conservation Trust gardening advice / Royal Horticultural Society’s Plants for Pollinators.

A bee feeds on a flower.