The Top 10 Spring Plants to keep Pollinating insects

- Top 10 Spring Plants to Keep Pollinating Insects -

When we think of spring, we often think of spring plants and flowers, and the buzzing insects visiting them. Bumblebees, solitary bees, butterflies and many other pollinators emerge when the weather warms up. However, pollen and nectar can sometimes be hard to come by. A huge number of plants rely entirely on bees and other insects for pollination, and yet population numbers are declining.

Don't worry, you can help them with your garden!

Many insect species have been hibernating since autumn.When they come out they need food for energy. Hoverflies, butterflies, and hibernating bees such as bumblebees and solitary bees will come out at the first sign of warmer weather. This can be any time from February to April.

The sweet nectar hidden among the brightly coloured petals of early spring flowers can be a lifeline for hungry insects.

Meanwhile, some species of bee, such as honeybees don’t hibernate. This means they will become more active and start collecting nectar as soon as your spring flowers arrive. There are even some species of butterfly that will be migrating back to the UK from warmer climes, so will need plenty of nectar after their long trip.



These are often the first flowers to appear in spring, and bees absolutely love them.

Plant crocuses in drifts in autumn to provide loads of pollen and nectar early on. They generally prefer a sunny spot, and you will find that the purple-flowered varieties especially are the most popular with pollinators.

Galanthus (Snowdrops)

Another great spring plant for insects!

Snowdrops are great for planting in shady spots under shrubs and trees. Their delicate hanging flowers harbour vital food resources for flies and other pollinating insects.

They can be planted in dormant bulb form, in autumn. However, you can also order them now ‘in the green’ which some say brings the best results.

Muscari Nelectum

Muscari Neglectum (Grape Hyacinth)

Grape hyacinths are always popular with pollinators and are a visually striking addition to your spring garden.

Again, these are bulbs, so you usually plant them in autumn. However, they will also be available to buy in pots from garden centres now.

They are happy in either sun or dappled shade.

Malus Domestica (Apple Tree)

The spring blossom of fruit trees like apple, peach, plum and cherry appear just as spring bulbs are beginning to fade.

The beautiful blossom of apple trees is perfect for bees. This is just as well, because in order to bear fruit, they must be pollinated by visiting bees and other insects. Apple trees are best planted over winter

Malus Domestica
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Ribes Sanguineaum (Flowering Currant)

A lovely bushy shrub with deep pink flowers that are perfect for pollinating bees. It’s easy to grow in a sunny spot in your garden, and makes a pretty addition to beds and borders.

Some varieties will also bring you autumn interest in the form of small black berries.

Primula Vulgaris (Primrose)

This is a great spring plant, as insects love this little flower.

These are great flowering plants for pots and containers. Also, they give hungry bees a much-needed feast in the springtime.

They love a sheltered position that gets lots of sun. However, they can also manage in partial shade if necessary.

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Eric Carnea

Erica Carnea (Heather)

Winter-flowering heather is covered in tiny flowers that are packed full of pollen.

It looks stunning at the front of borders or by paths and gates. Bear in mind that most varieties of heather are not tolerant of the lime found in alkaline soils.So, unless your soil is naturally acidic or neutral, use ericaceous compost

Hyacinthoides Non-Scripta (Bluebell)

These are often grown to give the garden a woodland feel, or as part of a cottage garden.

Plant them in drifts around the base of trees and the pollinating insects will thank you later.

They like dappled shade and slightly moist soil and are best planted as bulbs in the autumn.

Hyacinthoides Non-Scripta
Mahonia Japonica

Mahonia Japonica (Japanese Mahonia)

A striking shrub with bold yellow flowers that attracts plenty of pollinators. It will brighten up any garden in winter and spring.

It’s a lovely low maintenance plant that is great for a shady garden and will do well in your beds and borders.

Hellebore (Winter Rose) 

These somewhat romantic flowers are sure to brighten up any garden.

The delicate blooms flower in winter and early spring, with the leaves lasting all year round. They are hardy and paticularly low maintenance.

They are especially good for early bees looking for a bit of pollen, and can be planted in shade, and in damp but well drained soil.

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