There are many different plants that are beneficial to bees and pollinators. It is possible for a gardener or home owner to plant a wide variety of species which will provide forage over a full season. Here are some common examples of plants well loved by bees.
Fruit trees provide a valuable source of early pollen and nectar. Check with your nursery to see about which varieties are best. Many ornamental varieties, while showy and beautiful, do not provide the same sort of sustenance for pollinators that heirloom varieties do.
While dandelions are a nemesis to some, to bees they are truly a gift from the gods, providing an early source of nutritious pollen and nectar and fueling the growth of the hive.
Poppies are not only beautiful, they are well loved by bees. Notice the purple packet of pollen this bee has already gathered.
Sunflowers of all kinds provide both nectar and pollen for bees.
Buckwheat is a cover crop that is easy to grow and comes to bloom in little over a month. It provides a wonderful source of nectar for a wide variety of pollinators and makes an excellent green manure.
Rocky Mtn. Bee Balm or the cultivated Cleome is a great plant for bees.
Borage is a favorite for honeybees and provides yummy edible flowers for salad.
Phacelia is a cover crop commonly used on biodynamic farms. It feeds the soil and provides a source of continual blooms throughout the summer. In Europe the light colored honey is prized for its delicate and refined taste.
This is Echinops Thistle, a cultivated variety of thistle, but bees love all kinds of plants in the thistle family.
Motherwort is a valuable medicinal herb as well as providing a continuous supply of nectar throughout the summer. It is an easy to grow perennial herb.
The Allium family is well loved by both bees and butterflies.
Sweet clover, both white and yellow, provides some of the most reliable nectar flows in the world. It makes a delicious honey and is easy to grow.
Milkweed is a very valuable forage plant for many kinds of pollinators, most notably for the Monarch butterfly. It is easy to grow and very fragrant.
Monarda is a wonderful medicinal herb that is very attractive to bumble bees and butterflies, but also attracts moths and wasps. The flowers and leaves can be steeped in honey to make a delicious antiviral syrup.
This is a beautiful field of wild mallow, but almost any member of the mallow family is valuable to bees, for both nectar and pollen.