Bee-friendly Backyard - Amazing Bees | Melbourne Australia

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Bee-friendly Backyard
Honeybees collect pollen and nectar from flowers and blossoms. Not all flowers are equally liked by bees - bees prefer blue, purple and yellow blossoms.

You can attract bees to your backyard and improve their quality of life by planting a variety of plants bees just love to visit. Honeybees usually forage within a radius of three kilometres, so if you don't have any bees yourself, someone within a radius of 3 km might have a hive or two, and then there are the feral bee colonies - all searching for flowers.

Perhaps not so well known is the fact that bees (as well as other insects) require a source of fresh water, especially on warm days!

Providing a constant water supply will make your backyard more attractive to bees as well. Please take measures to stop the bees from drowning by adding some floating material or some pebbles reaching above the surface.

If you already have some bee-attracting plants and they are not visited by bees when flowering, then this should be of concern.

In a healthy environment there are always bees.

Bee-attracting plants for your backyard
The information on this page will hopefully help you establishing a backyard with bee-attracting plants.

Planting a variety of bee-attracting plants will draw the largest crowd.

We are aware that in most cases space is limited and we cannot plant dozens of tall trees and bushes, that's why our focus on this page is on small plants.

Those who are fortunate enough to establish large gardens or parks with trees and bushes may get some ideas by visiting our page Australian Nectar Sources.

Herbs: A number of herbs and vegetables attract bees with their flowers appart from being useful in your kitchen. Every bee-attracting backyard should have a herbs and vegie patch.

Please note that our knowledge about plants/flowers is very limited. For expert knowledge please check out the links under More info on "Bee-friendly Backyard".

Oregano, Marjoram
Oregano Origanum vulgare is a common species that appears in numerous variations, belonging to the mint family. It is native to warm-temperate western and southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region. Oregano is a perennial herb, growing from 20–80 cm tall, with opposite leaves 1–4 cm long. It is sometimes called wild marjoram, and its close relative is known as sweet marjoram.

Garden sage Salvia officinalis is a small, perennial, evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the mint familie and is native to the Mediterranean region, though it has naturalized in many places throughout the world. It has a long history of medicinal and culinary use, and in modern times as an ornamental garden plant. The common name "sage" is also used for a number of related and unrelated species.

Flowering Sage

Thyme, Thymus vulgaris is a is a low growing culinary and medicinal herb, sometimes becoming somewhat woody. It is native to southern Europe.


Borage Borago officinalis is a is a low growing culinary and medicinal herb and one of the easiest and best bee plants. It is native to the mediterranean region of Europe.

Flowering: Borage flowers for three months or more.

Nectar & Pollen: Borage provides high levels of both nectar and pollen.

For more than hundred years beekeeping books describe Borage as one of the most beneficial bee plants.


Lavenders Lavandula - There are 39 species known in this mint family, including annuals, shrubs and cultivated forms, and they all  require full sun. Most varieties originate from the Mediterranean, some from Africa and India.

Flowering: Some varieties of lavender will flower from spring all the way into summer, and several will flower again in autumn, especially if pruned.

Nectar & Pollen: An excellent source for both, nectar and pollen. A few species of this plant should be in every bee-attracting backyard.

Bee on Lavender

Sunflower Helianthus annuus - There are 38 species, originating from Central America, supplemented by a number of hybrids. Sunflowers are annual plants with a large flowering head. The head consists of 1000-2000 individual flowers joined together - will keep bees very busy for a long time. Sunflowers usually grow to heights between 1.5 and 3.5 m and need full sun. They grow best in fertile, moist, well-drained soil with a lot of mulch.

Flowering: Sunflowers flower in summer through to autumn.

Nectar & Pollen: An excellent source for both, nectar and pollen. A few species of this plant should be in every bee-attracting backyard.


Hypericum is a genus of 490 species of flowering plants in the family Hypericaceae.
The genus has a nearly worldwide distribution. All members of the genus may be referred to as St. John's wort, though they are also commonly just called hypericum. Hypericums vary from herbaceous annual or perennials 5–10 cm tall to shrubs and small trees up to 12 m tall. The leaves are opposite, simple oval, 1–8 cm long, either deciduous or evergreen.

Flowers: The flowers vary from pale to dark yellow, and from 0.5–6 cm in diameter, with five (rarely four) petals, most having prominent stamens. The fruit is usually a dry capsule which splits to release the numerous small seeds; in some species it is fleshy and berry-like.

Nectar & Pollen: We could not find a source of information about the Hypericum's nectar or pollen value for bees. However, our observation in our backyard indicates it is an excellent source for pollen to say the least.

Bees are getting very excited when visiting the flowers of Hypericum v Henryi as shown below in our video clip on YouTube.

Tree Dahlia
Tree Dahlia Dahlia imperialis  is an excellent pollen source for late autumn and early winter, blooming in May/June here in Victoria.
If you want to do something for your bees, or bees in general - plant a Tree Dahlia in your backyard, or two if you have the space for it - they need some space and can easily reach a hight of 7 metres.

Tree Dahlia are easy to grow and propagate. They do require a sunny, frost-free and wind-protected location. They originate from South America and produce spectacular flowers.

Tree Dahlia
Bees are enjoying their time when visiting the flowers of Tree Dahlia as shown below in our video clip on YouTube.

More info on "Bee-friendly Backyard"
For more knowledgeable, interesting and comprehensive information about bee-friendly backyards please check out the following articles and websites.

Flowers for Bees - by "Flowers Across Melbourne", one of Melbourne’s biggest online florists.
Guide for selecting the best Australian suited flowers and plants to benefit the bees, pollinators and your garden. A very comprehensive list of bee-attracting flowers for your backyard. When you are investigating options for a bee-friendly backyard you must read this article.

Flowers instead of pesticides - by "Flowers Across Melbourne", one of Melbourne’s biggest online florists.
Guide to using the best Australian suited flowers and plants as an alternative to pesticides. When you are investigating alternatives to the use of pesticides in a bee-friendly backyard you must read this article.

The Diggers Club - began in 1978 with a mission to preserve and make available to Australian gardeners the best selections of garden worthy flowers, and the best tasting heirloom fruits and vegetables from around the world, selected by generations of home gardeners.

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