mason bee photo close up

The Best Flowers and Plants for Mason Bees

Last updated on January 11th, 2024 at 03:17 pm

Mason bees are prolific pollinators, so we want to make sure these industrious insects have all the flowers they need to carry on their great work.

Let’s dive straight into the undergrowth with our list of the best flowers and plants for mason bees and how to attract them to your garden or wild space.

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.

They provide daily energy and act as nursing food for the larvae sealed in individual cells back at the nest.

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 smaller mason bee species.

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.

Here’s your list of the best mason bee flowers:

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

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.

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.

Check out our guide on the best bee-friendly flowers for honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees alike.

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.

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Forget Me Not

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 outweigh 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.

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.

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.

How To Attract Mason Bees

Attracting mason bees involves creating a welcoming habitat tailored to their unique needs.

Start by providing nesting sites like bee houses with bamboo tubes or drilled blocks of wood.

Mason bees prefer to lay their eggs in small cavities so bear that in mind when you’re creating your new mason bee nest.

Planting a diversity of native flowers, especially those that bloom early in the season, offers essential nectar and pollen, crucial for sustenance.

A real-world example is gardeners often install mason bee houses near fruit trees and flowering plants.

This creates an ideal setting for mason bees to thrive, enhancing pollination and increasing the yield of fruits and flowers.

Wrapping up

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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