Plants to attract Butterflies and Bees

Attracting Butterflies

Butterflies use their proboscis to get nectar from deep in the flowers rather than surface pollen, so when choosing plants a small trumpet shaped flower is often preferred. Native wild flowers are valuable nectar plants.

Most butterflies are not around till June, but for those that might be feeding in Spring (just coming out of hibernation) the following are good sources of nectar: Aubretia, Bergenia, Blue Bells, Honesty, Pansy, Primrose, Wallflowers, Willow, Forget-me-nots and Violas.

Best Shrubs - Buddleia, Escallonia, Syringa (Lilac) Berberis, Kolkwitzia, Lavender, Rosemary, Honeysuckle, and Hebe . All of these have tubular or trumpet-like individual flowers.

Best Perennials - Verbena bonariensis, Aster - Michaelmas Daisy, Cowslip, Echinops ritro - the Globe Thistle, Hyssop, Marjoram, Origanum, Sage, Agastache, Kniphofia - Red Hot Poker and Sedum, Chives, Phlox, Purple loosestrife.

If you are trying to encourage butterflies to lay their eggs in your garden then the following plants need to be planted: Common Nettle, Common Rock Rose, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Dog Violet and a selection of grasses.


Attracting Bees

March to October are when the bees need nectar, so if possible provide a couple of plants that will be in flower at the same time from March onwards. Many native plants that have single flowers are good sources of nectar.

Best Trees - Crab Apples, Hawthorns, Flowering Cherry, Pussy Willow, Apple, Pear and other fruit trees.

Spring flowersBluebells, Daffodils, Helleborous, Heathers, Forget-me-nots, Ajuga, Saxifraga, Flowering currants and Pulmonaria.

Early summer flowers - Aquilega, Antirrhinums, Astilbe, Campanula, Comfrey, Fennel, Foxglove, Geranium, Hebes, Lavenders, Potentillas, Teasles and Thymes.

Late summer flowers - Aster, Cardoon, Buddleja, Single flowered Dahlias, Fuchsias, Monarda, Penstemon, Scabious, Sedum and Verbena Bonariensis.


Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information given both on our lists and labels. However, some details may vary according to special or geographical circumstances. Varieties offered are subject to availability.

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