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The Best Flowers and Plants for Mason Bees

28 March 2022
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Solitary Mason Bees are prolific pollinators, often doing the work of hundreds of honeybees with as little as 10-20 bees.

Equipped with tiny Scopa hairs that transport pollen from flower to flower, Mason Bees flop from flower to flower in a chaotic fashion that is perfect for cross-pollination.

Unlike Honeybees you don't need equipment and skills to bring them to your garden or wild area.

Now you know how equipped our tiny pollinators are let's learn about the best flowers and plants for Mason Bees and how to attract them to your garden or wild space.

Check out our article on the lifecycle of a solitary bee.

The best flowers for mason bees

When it comes to attracting mason bees providing a range of plant species rich in nectar and pollen is key.

It's used to sustain them on a daily basis and acts as a nursing food when sealed in individual cells for larvae to feast on once it hatches.

A key thing to note when selecting the right flower and plants for Mason Bees is accessibility.

Flowers with a single row of petals are much easier to access for the small Mason Bees.

Composite flowers providing open petals and an easy route to the resources stored inside are ideal.

Try to plant a varied mix of wildflower species to ensure you give all pollinators ample opportunity to gather resources in your garden.

Below we've created a list of the best flowers to plant for Mason Bees.

  • Poppies
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Forget Me Not's
  • Jacob's Ladder
  • Lavender

Scroll down to learn more about each flower and how it can help Mason Bees.

Poppies

The Poppy is not a stereotypical flower for many reasons but when it comes to Mason bees, they are very much on the menu. Unlike some other flowers often visited by bees, Poppies lack inflorescences responsible for producing sugar-laden nectar.

So why do Mason bees like them I hear you ask? To put it simply, Pollen. Poppies produce large amounts of pollen ideal for bee nutrition.

To plant your Poppies simply find an area with consistent sun, spread your seeds, and cover it with a light layer of soil and water regularly.

The Poppy is a very resilient flower and as such doesn't need extensive care or maintenance making it a fantastic option for not just Mason bees but all the bees and pollinators in your garden.

Black-Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susan often referred to as Rudbeckia is a colourful golden yellow flower that's easy to plant. Often found in swathes of open fields forming small meadows of beautiful flowers.

Bees, Butterflies and a range of other insects feast on the nectar of these easy to access wildflowers.

To plant these Mason bee-friendly flowers simply sow the seed and cover loosely with soil and water regularly. These are very resilient flowers and don't need much attention to thrive in their habitat.

Forget Me Not's

Forget me Nots, the Latin name Myosotis sylvatica are a massive hit with bees of all species including the Mason bee and there are currently over 70 species of Forget Me Not worldwide.

Their colourful flowers/petals and easy to access nectar make them a priority for lots of bees as the rewards far outway the effort required to forage the resources provided by these wildflowers.

Forget Me Nots can thrive in either full sun or shade making them a versatile flower that's a match for most gardens.

To plant Forget Me Not seeds simply sow them evenly and cover them in a light layer of soil or compost and water regularly.

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s ladder, Latin name Polemonium reptans. Unlike the other plants on this list Jacob's ladder is only found natively in three areas in the UK, these are:

  • The Peak District
  • The Yorkshire Dales
  • River cliffs in Northumberland

This is a tough reliable plant that will be at home in most gardens in the UK with full sun or partial shade.

To plant your Poppies simply find an area with consistent sun, spread your seeds, and cover it with a light layer of soil and water regularly.

Lavender

Lavender is a favourite among bees and humans alike and Mason bees are no different. Swathes of Lavender are often buzzing with hundreds of bees as the closely packed flowers provide lots of foraging opportunities in a small area.

Interestingly when Honey bees collect Lavender it can actually affect the taste of the honey they produce giving it a Lavender taste and aroma.

Lavender also has the added benefit of providing both nectar and pollen for foraging bees, a two birds one stone flower.

Space your lavender approximately 30 to 45 cm apart in a well-lit area with sandy, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.7 to 7.3.

So in conclusion the best flowers for mason bees are any easy to access sources of nectar and pollen with a single row of petals. Start by planting the flower in this list and then check out our article on the best plants for solitary bees for more planting ideas.

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