Top 20 Insect & Bee Attracting Plants | Love The Garden

20 Insect Attracting Plants

Lucy Pitts's picture
By Lucy Pitts, Garden Enthusiast
Insect attracting plants - ladybird

Insects, birds and small animals play a vital role in helpng a healthy garden thrive. It's important to encourage them into your garden and give them an enivornment that keeps them coming back, time after time. The benefits from inviting wildlife into your garden range from a reduction in soil-borne disease to fruit and veg plants being pollinated more effectively and less 'problem pests' than before.

It's really easy to do! There are many different species of insects, birds and small animals and their tastes in plants are diverse.

So if you’re planning your planting with wildlife in mind, here’s 20 plants that they’ll enjoy to help get you started:   

 

1. Crocus 

As spring arrives, crocuses are a great source of early pollination for our bees. Plant your bulbs in autumn and enjoy a beautiful early spring display as well as giving insects that first helping hand of the year.  

Frost covered purple crocus plants

2. Honeysuckle

Relatively quick growing, fragrant and fairly easy to maintain, honeysuckle is a great choice particularly if you have a fence, wall, shed or pergola for it to climb. 

Honeysuckle
Image Credit: Pagans World

3. Foxgloves

These stately annuals seem to provide the perfect shaped flower for insects and both them and the foxgloves will come back year after year.  

A Collection of Foxgloves
Image Credit: Saga

4. Viper’s Bugloss

Another hardy annual, insects love this pretty purple flower. It’s even been called the ultimate bumblebee plant and it flowers throughout midsummer and looks fantastic in a border in a sunny position.  

Collection of Vipers Bugloss
Image Credit: Fosbeach

5. Lavender 

Lavender is a wonderfully fragrant plant which is easy to grow in containers, is lavender and it’s a great pollinator for honey bees too. There’s so many varieties to choose from and we think it always adds that touch of romance to a garden.  

Wild lavender plants

6. Hawthorn

If you’ve got the space, hawthorn with its white blossom which so typically heralds the arrival of spring is another great early flower which will help give our insects a boost.  

Gorgeous spring hawthorn blossom

 

7. Sedums

A common garden staple that insects will love is the sedum. It’s hardy and comes in many varieties and because of its interesting shape, versatility and colour, it also makes a great addition to a garden.  

Sedum Bush
Image Credit: Auntie Dogmas Garden Spot

 

8. Hellebore

With its dainty spring flowers which are also good pollinators, hellebore remains a firm favourite amongst many gardeners. Tolerant of shade, it is fairly easy to grow and again comes in many colours.  

Hellebore
Image Credit: flirtyfleurs.com

 

9. Bluebells

Talking of shade, if you do have a wooded area, bluebells are not only an iconic reminder of early summer, with their heady smell and rich colour but once established, they’ll also spread and attract insects.  

Plant bluebells densely for the best effect

10. Forget-me-nots

Don’t forget your forget-me-nots with their delicate haze of blue throughout spring. Easy to grow and they’ll come back year after year.  

Forget-me-nots
Image Credit: transitionlinks.org

11. Allium

These large heads of flowers are perfect for growing from bulbs in containers or in a border and they’ll make a real statement as well as attracting insects.  

Allium
Image Credit: Harts Nursery

12. The Snapdragon 

A short-lived perennial, often grown as an annual, the snapdragon conjures up images of typical English country gardens, with bees buzzing contentedly. 

Snapdragons
Image Credit: msucares.com

 

13. Buddleia 

We tend to think of the waving spikes of the buddleia flower as a great butterfly attractor but they are also good for bees and other insects. Fast growing, low maintenance and really attractive, if you have the space, buddleia is a great choice.  

Buddleia in a Field
Image Credit: Charles Hurst Plants

14. Hardy Geraniums

Such a versatile and easy plant, the hardy geranium comes in many shapes, colours and sizes and can be very useful for providing colour and cover in a large border. As an added bonus to these colourful blooms, insects love them too.   

3 Hardy Geraniums
Image Credit: 4hdwallpapers.com

15. Mint 

Your herb garden can provide a fragrant feast for insects and mint is no exception. Again there are lots of varieties of mint, (and don’t forget it can be invasive) but the summer flowers will keep your bees and other insects happy.  

Each mint plant will produce lots of leaves for use in the kitchen

16. Marjoram 

While we’re in the herb garden, marjoram is another useful herb which will double up as fuel for the bees. It’s perennial and self-seeding too, just to make your life easier! 

Marjoram plants produce a lot of bushy growth

17. Wisteria 

Have you got a south facing wall or pergola? Wisteria is just wonderful as it pours its fragrant and delicate blooms over your walls. It has protein rich pollen and also comes in white as well as the traditional bluey purple.  

Close up of a Wisteria tree in bloom (purple)

18. Iris 

Iris is an elegant flower that comes in all sorts of varieties. Some types of Iris will do well in ponds, if you have a wet area where you need to add colour.  

Iris Flower in a Field
Image Credit: Iris Psychology

19. Hollyhocks 

One of our favourites, hollyhocks can grow to a staggering 10 feet and are so typical of an English cottage garden. They might take a little care (staking) but they are well worth the effort and insects will thank you.  

Hollyhocks in Front of a Country House
Image Credit: Life Between The Flowers

20. The Sunflower 

Dwarf or tall, these bright balls of yellow are not just a great mood lifter and supplier of oil and seeds but the bees love them too. Grow small varieties of sunflower in a pot or tall ones up against a wall and let them act as a beacon to bees.  

Field Full of Sunflowers

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of flowers and plants that will attract insects but they’re a great place to start. Insects play such a pivotal role in our ecology, it really is important that we do what we can to support them.

Do you have a plant that insects just love? Tell us about it on our social media sites and let’s get the nation buzzing.  

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