Unfortunately, this sad truth continues to be confirmed… the busy bees are dying out! Too many pesticides and insecticides, too little plant diversity, too large territories of monocultures like rapeseed… many are the factors that cause bee extinction. And perhaps we humans cannot exist without bees and other natural pollinators, since most plants depend on them. Our food, our most important basis of existence, is under serious threat. So what to do? Unfortunately, it is not possible to change the global situation with the left hand, but you can still do a few things to support bees, butterflies and co. And with a garden that offers them several sources of food over a longer period of time. The following tips and our 7 favorites when it comes to bee-friendly groundcover will definitely help you. A great side effect: The annoying weeds disappear in this way as if by themselves.
Plant bee-friendly ground covers and perennials to control weeds
Why are bee-friendly ground covers so important?
Honey bees need a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, fats and water. Nectar, a sugary plant secretion, and honey provide bees with carbohydrates. Pollen provides protein, which breaks down into amino acids, vitamins, minerals and most fats. Although nectar contains water, additional water is needed to dilute the nectar’s sugar content.
Bees depend on drinking water just like we humans do
In a rural area there can be a wide variety of plants in the foraging area for the bees. In suburban and urban settings, this variety of plants can be difficult to find. A bee-friendly garden that provides year-round pollen and nectar-rich ground cover and other plants can give bee colonies the boost they need.
Support the bees with species-appropriate conditions in the garden
General guidelines for a bee friendly garden
- Choose a variety of plants that are appropriate for your climate zone and bloom at different times to provide nectar and pollen for the bees from spring through fall.
- Plant one type of plant in a group to make them even more attractive to bees.
- Avoid using pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. They are harmful to bees and other pollinators, as well as humans. Also avoid buying plants that have been treated, especially e.g. B. with neonicotinoids.
- Provide a clean water source. The water in most containers is too deep for bees and can cause drowning.
Adding items like pebbles or marbles makes the water depth more manageable
- Avoid hybrid plants. While these pose no particular threat to honey bees, they typically do not provide sufficient, if any, pollen and nectar.
- Rely on native, bee-friendly ground covers and perennials.
- Mow your lawn less often, which gives bees better access to “weeds” like dandelions.
- Beware of invasive plants that can overwhelm your garden.
7 bee-friendly ground covers to fight weeds
Thyme (Thymus serpyllum)
Not only does thyme attract bees, but hoverflies and butterflies galore to its tiny purple flowers. This is a beautiful, sprawling perennial that will decorate cracks in a patio, rock garden or front of a border and is considered a low maintenance ground cover. Thyme prefers a sunny, well-drained site and tolerates drought quite well.
Ivy (Hedera helix)
Ivy is not popular with many gardeners, but it should be. The small, greenish-yellow flower clusters that appear in September are unassuming but attract all sorts of insects including honey bees and butterflies like the red admiral stocking up on sugar for hibernation, bumblebees, solitary bees, wasps and beetles.
Borage (Trachystemon orientalis)
An excellent ground cover plant for shade, even dry shade, early flowering borage is also a rich food source for the hard-working pollinators. In March and April, the small blue flowers with lilac-pink spikes are full of happy bees.
All bees love the nectar-rich flowers of this heather, which form a purple-pink carpet in winter and spring. They grow best in the sun in well-drained, neutral to acidic soil.
wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa)
An ancient woodland plant and one of spring’s prettiest wildflowers. The star-shaped flowers of the wood anemone have six white petals surrounding a green center with yellow stamens. This bee-friendly groundcover tolerates poor soil and can thrive in both shade and sunlight.
Clover (Trifolium species)
Red clover (T. pratense) and white clover (T. repens) grow luxuriantly on meadows and lawns in summer. They seem to be particularly tasty for bees and bumblebees and are always literally overflowing with them. These ground covers spread extremely quickly and are very hardy. Some hobby gardeners have even considered it and planted their entire lawns with it.
Thrift (Armeria maritima)
Thrift, also known as common thrift, is a hardy herbaceous perennial with pretty lilac-mauve flowers. It makes a good rock garden and border plant and is excellent for growing in beds. It likes a sunny or partially shaded location and is also very frost tolerant. The plant resembles grass, so don’t confuse it with weeds when not in bloom. During the flowering period, bees and butterflies really appreciate them.
Research other plants and tips that will turn your garden into a paradise for bees and butterflies. Support these all-important pollinators and ensure a brighter future for all of us!
Lavender is definitely one of the bees’ favourites
Just like the cranesbill
And of course the wonderful bee balm