20 May 2022

Gardening for bumblebees

With bee numbers in decline, transforming your garden into a bumblebee haven is more important than ever before. You don’t have to be a professional gardener to make a change and you don’t even have to own a garden to help bees.

Plantscape, with support from idverde and their charity partner Bumblebee Conservation Trust, has put together a guide on how to create a more bee-friendly outdoor space.

Balconies, patios and window sills

There are a couple of ways you can introduce pollinator friendly habitats to small spaces and gardens in rental properties. Planters and hanging baskets on balconies and patios can have just as much impact as a larger garden and can provide vital resting spaces for bees and other pollinating insects.

As the soil in pots and planters can dry quicker, we recommend using good quality, moisture-retaining compost to support your plants and flowers and water them regularly. Alternatively, you can consider planting more drought-tolerant plants such as Mediterranean herbs which prefer drier conditions. Many herbs are pollinator-friendly and give you the option to use them in the kitchen as well.


Seeds and bulbs

Seeing bees feed on the flowers you have grown from seeds cannot be more rewarding. Annual and perennial plants can be sown in early Spring in small pots, helping them find their roots. In early Summer the plants need to be planted out when they are large enough to then flower over the next few months.

Bulbs are also a great way to create a bigger and more full pollinator-friendly area with little effort and they will grow again next year.

Saver Tip: Seed packets allow you to grow more for less than the price of a large plant in the supermarket.

Yearly bee-appeal

There are a vast majority of flowers and plants that appeal to bumblebees, here are some suggestions:



  • Hyssop
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Lemon Balm
  • Thyme


  • Sea Holly
  • Verbena
  • Bidens
  • Iris
  • Hardy Geraniums
  • Mint
  • Lungwort

Easy-grow annuals

  • Sweet pea
  • Zinnia
  • Poppy
  • Linaria
  • Calendula

Bulbs and corms

  • Crocus
  • Cyclamen
  • Hyacinth
  • Bluebell
  • Allium

Food for you and the bumblebees

With the grow your own initiative, you are able to provide nutritious food for your table as well as pollinating insects as the flowers that develop into vegetables and fruits are a vital source for bumblebees and other pollinators.

Plants such as blackcurrants or beans are nearly always pollinated by bees and can easily be grown in smaller spaces such as balconies or patios in pots or directly in the ground. Many crops don’t require a large space or much work, with some requiring support stakes and more regular watering.

Space-saving tip:

Dwarf fruit trees are also a valuable resource to bees and other pollinators. These trees require less space and can be grown in pots or against walls.

Fruits and vegetables for your consideration:

  • Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Apple
  • Blueberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Pumpkins


Bees like many other insects require a reliable source of water, especially during dry and sunny Summer season. Bees usually source their hydration from pollen, which means a well-watered plant is essential.

You can also consider providing pollinators with water in a shallow dish or saucer, ensuring that there is a safe and dry spot for them to land on.

Find more bee-related information over at idverde’s partner, Bumblebee Conservation Trust.