Agreed by a UN consensus in 2017, World Bee Day was created to raise public awareness of the importance of protecting and preserving our bees. Not only are honeybees the primary pollinators of plants, fruits and vegetables that we rely on as food, the honey and wax they produce are invaluable too.
Sadly, due to disease and the modern use of pesticides, many different wild bees are in decline. The world has lost one quarter of its bees since 1990 and one in ten of Europe’s bees and butterfly population are threatened with extinction. They need our help!
You don’t have to be a beekeeper
As a typical bumblebee can travel anywhere between 14 – 40 miles per day, they need plenty of fuel, so by choosing bee friendly plants for sale you can do your bit to help. It’s a great promotional campaign for your social media channels as well.
Flowering Plants for Bees
Make it easy for bees to get straight to the pollen and nectar with a range of single, open flowers; Echinacea, Cosmos, Rudbeckia and Scabiosa are great examples. Multi petalled flowers, such as roses and peonies, although attractive to the human eye, are difficult for bees to access.
Bees that have long tongues, such as the common garden bumble bee prefer tubular shaped flowers like Agapanthus, foxgloves (Digitalis), Antirrhinum and honeysuckle (Lonicera).
Did you know that bees can see the colour purple more clearly than any other? This explains why lavender bushes are covered with bees in the summer. Other purple plants to consider would be Allium, Buddleia, oregano and cat mint. It doesn’t have to be all purple however, bees are also attracted to yellow and orange so Calendula, Helenium and sunflowers are all excellent bee friendly choices.
And finally…don’t panic
Selling bee friendly plants will (hopefully) provide a welcome snack bar for your local bees, but if that results in an increase in bee activity, remember that although they do have a painful sting, honeybees in the UK are not aggressive and have very little interest in stinging people. If you’re not keen on bees, move away rather than try to bat them away which may make things worse.
Su Whale is a florist and freelance writer with over twenty-five years' experience in the floristry industry. She is the author and publisher of three best-selling books: Cut Flowers, 4th edition (2020) Cut Foliage, 2nd Edition, (2021) and Houseplants (2019), all bookshelf essentials for the professional florist.