Shrubs to Attract Bees - Goxhill Gander

Spring 2024
Go to content

Shrubs to Attract Bees

With a bit of luck you are reading this Spring issue of The Gander in the midst of some pleasant sunny weather. Warm weather during the run-up to Easter is always a good prompt for us to start thinking about our gardens if we have not already done so. With that in mind, and as it is clear that quite a few Goxhill residents are keen to welcome bees into their gardens, I thought that some tips about what shrubs to plant might be appreciated. The following list is just a selection of hardy shrubs that bees and other pollinating insects seem to favour for nectar &/or pollen collection:

Berberis species, various colours, Apr-Jul flowering
Buddleia globosa, orange flower, May; B.alternifolia (butterfly bush), blue/lilac spikes, Jun; B.x weyeriana, orange panicles, Jun-Oct flowering
Cistus species (rock roses), various colours, May-Jul flowering
Clematis species, various colours & flowering times (large-flowered hybrids produce pollen but not nectar)
Deutzia species, various colours & flowering times (mostly Summer flowering; pollen source only)
Hebe species, various sizes, colours & flowering times (most hardy; some half-hardy; mostly Summer flowering)
Lonicera species (honeysuckle), various flowering times
Mahonia species (evergreen), yellow, Winter-Spring flowering
Olearia species (daisy bush); O.macrodonta Jun; O.haastii, white, Jul-Aug flowering
Philadelphus species (mock orange), white Jun-Jul flowering
Potentilla fruiticosa, various colours white-orange, long Summer flowering
Prunus (laurel - evergreen); P.laurocerasus (cherry laurel) Apr; P.lusitanica (Portugal laurel) Jun flowering
Pyracantha (firethorn), P.augustifolia, P.coccinea, red-orange, May-Jun flowering
Ribes species, various colours, early Summer flowering
Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary – evergreen herb), Apr-May flowering
Salix species (willows), especially S.apoda, S.boydii, S.hastate, S.lanata, S.melanostachys, S.uva-ursi, early Spring flowering
Symphoricarpos species (snowberry), especially S.alba, S.occidentalis, S.orbiculatus, S.rivularis, Jun-Aug flowering (excellent for nectar)
Syringa species & hybrids (lilac), various colours, mostly Spring flowering
Tamarix species, pink, various Summer flowering times
Viburnum species (evergreen or deciduous), wide range of flowering times

To download a more comprehensive list of shrubs that includes tender varieties (leaflet L3) and a similar list of trees (leaflet L2), visit the British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) website at

If you ever need advice about bees, or are concerned about a swarm of bees that has settled nearby, then you can ring me on 530363. I only charge to cover any expenses (primarily mileage) but otherwise I offer my services free and I am covered by the BBKA Public Liability Insurance policy.

It helps me to know the following information when you contact me:
That the creatures are indeed honey bees; most other bees are relatively solitary and harmless. I cannot collect wasps or hornets but I would still need to charge mileage if I attended.
The position of the swarm or cluster of bees - e.g. whether on the ground, the height if in a tree or bush, how accessible it is.
When the swarm arrived.
The size of the cluster – e.g. tennis ball, football, (spacehopper!).
Address/location of the swarm and your telephone number.
Enjoy your garden and let us all hope for a warm and pleasant Summer.

John Guggiari

Back to content