Best Fall Flowers for Bees

Last Updated on April 19, 2022 by Ellen Christian

I’ve always enjoyed gardening both for what I grow to feed my family and what I can offer back to feed the wildlife.  Since humans expand their territory more and more, we are taking away land that wildlife used to rely on for their needs. I think it’s only fair that I give back what I can. Planting the best fall flowers for bees is an easy way to give back. Check out these bee-friendly plants.

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9 Fall Flowers for Bees to help them overwinter

Best Fall Flowers for Bees

In recent years, we have lost many of our bees due to colony collapse disorder. Without bees and other pollinators, we have no food.

Helping them stay healthy and overwinter when possible is something that I can do. The best fall flowers for bees are those that help them overwinter.

Different plants will do well in different gardening zones.  In Zone 4, where I live, we are fairly limited once the first frost arrives.

If you’re in a milder climate, you can help your bees overwinter by offering them these plants.

The best fall flowers for bees to help them over winter

Bees stop flying when it gets below 50F. They huddle around the queen in their hive to keep her warm. They all rotate around so that they stay as warm as possible throughout the winter.

Hibernating honey bees consume the honey that they store up during the year – that they make from the pollen and nectar that they collect from your flowers.

That’s why it’s so important that you plant fall flowers for bees to survive the winter.

The best fall flowers for bees to help them over winter

If you’d like to give back a little bit to the bees who help provide the food we eat, try planting some of these 9 fall flowers for bees to help them overwinter.

Check out these flowers that can take full sun all day long. Add a few of them to your garden this year.

9 Fall Flowers for Bees to help them overwinter

Which flowers do honeybees like best?

During the years, honeybees will look for flowers like dandelions, sweet clover, thistle, and alfalfa. But, these aren’t necessarily what the bees will look for in the fall to help them overwinter.

Which trees are among the best for honeybees?

Bees need to build a nest to help them overwinter. They will often do this in a tree. So, if you’re wondering which trees bees will look for in the fall, consider native oaks, magnolias, tupelo, yellow poplar, tulip trees, and black cherry trees.

Here are a few things that we can do to protect the honeybees.

closeup of a yellow sunflower with a honeybee

What color flowers do bees like?

Did you know that bees can see colors quite well? Their ability to see colors helps them to find the flowers that will provide the most energy for them.

They look for flowers that are yellow, blue, purple, violet, and white. Try to plant a variety of colors of fall flowers for bees to enjoy.

purple asters

What can I plant in the fall for bees?

The best fall flowers for bees will either have a lot of sugary nectars or protein-rich pollen that the honey bees value for extra energy. Be sure that you plant peppermint away from flowers you hope will attract bees.

Bees don’t like the smell of peppermint. So, be sure to plant your peppermint on the other side of the garden from your flowers.

  • Asters (perennial)
  • Joe-Pye Weeds (perennial)
  • Goldenrod (perennial)
  • Marigolds (annual)
  • Sunflower (annual)
  • Cleome (annual)
  • Barberry (shrub)
  • Zinnias (annual)
  • Sedum (perennial)
Beneficial Plants for your Garden - Marigolds

Which flowers do bees like best?

Now, the perennial flowers should be planted in the ground since they will come back each year. But, the annuals like marigolds, cleome and zinnia can be planted in containers.

While sunflowers are annuals, they often self-seed so a new batch will come up next year. That’s why I plant them in the ground.

There are container flowers for bees if you aren’t able to have an in-ground garden. Try a few of these fall flowers for bees. Marigolds, lavender, chives, and even dwarf sunflowers can be grown in containers.

Remember to remove dead flowers from containers as part of your fall garden cleanup.

Can You Grow Baby's Breath in Your Garden Easily?

Can you grow Baby’s breath? What do you think? Or, why not learn more about growing your own alternatives to grass this year.

Or, if you enjoy gardening, why not plant a few cold-weather crops for a cool vegetable garden.

There is no reason that gardening needs to stop in the fall.  If you know of any other fall flowers for bees, please let me know so I can add them to my list.

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12 thoughts on “Best Fall Flowers for Bees”

  1. My bees LOVE the flowers on all the varieties of peppermint that I grow. The plants are covered in bees right now, start of October in zone 5. I think them not liking the smell of peppermint is a myth, unless my bees are oddities. ;) I am planning to plant flowers that bloom at all stages of seasons all around the hives. Along with buckwheat and clover in an area just for them.
  2. This is a great list! I'm glad that my dahlias, sunflowers, and zinnias are still so vigorous. I'm also hoping to plant a little buckwheat as a cover crop to help the bees, too!
  3. This is such a great post! I am terrified of bees (because of a bad experience) but I know how important they are.  I will have to throw a few of these plants in our garden for the fall to help them get ready for winter :)

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