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Which ‘bee-friendly’ plants attract the most bees?: 2016 update


Plant-pollinator dynamics

Subject detail

A summary of a study to quantify the relative attractiveness of ‘bee-friendly’ garden or wild plants to bees by Rosybee nursaries.

The study scored the attractiveness of 58 plants, including 13 native and 45 non-native, by multiplying the number of bees attracted per square meter of the plants by the length of flowering period.

With this method, they were able to list the top 30 flowering plants out of their sample and show which pollinator guild they suited best: honey bees, bumblebees or solitary bees.


Rosi Rollings

Publication Source

Rosybee plants for bees, LASI unit at Sussex University

Site category

Allotments, Private gardens

Type of content


Year of Publication



Resources for pollinators

Recommendation Detail

  • The primary finding is still that plants are not equally attractive to bees, even when you focus on ‘bee-friendly’ plants.
  • Healthy plants with more flowers attract more bees: the old gardeners adage of ‘right plant for the right place’ is important, not only for a sustainable garden, but also for the direct impact on the pollinators each plant may support.
  • They also found that generally native and non-native plants continue to appear equally attractive to bees and, except where some specific bees and plants have a more unique inter-dependency, most bees do not care as long as the plant’s structure allows them to reach the nectar or pollen.