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Honey Bees and Annuals

Most of the annuals presented below will be familiar to you.  These are just some of the honey bee-friendly annuals.  You can always google “honey bee annuals” to get other lists.

Note  that it is better to put out more plants of one kind than to have one or two or three of lots of different kinds.  Also it makes it easier on the bees if you plant them in the same area, too. Bees have a difficult to impossible time trying to get into some flowers like French marigolds with multiple petals. It’s best to go for flowers with single flowers. Multiple petals are okay if the center of the flower is open.


Bachelor Buttons   (Centaurea Cyanus)

Blooms:   June and July

Zone:  8

Height:  1’ to 2’

Spread:   Less than a 1’

Sun:   Full sun

Water:   Moderate 

Other:  Reblooms if cut back; deer resistant

Marigolds (Tagetes)

Blooms:  Summer to early autumn

Zone:  2 to 11 

Height:   18”

Spread:   18”

Sun:   Full sun

Water:   Moderate

Other:  Single petals or ones with open centers are best;deadhead to encourage blooming


Zinnias  (Z. elegans)

Blooms:  June through frost

Zone:  2 to 11  

Height:  1’ to 4’ (depending on variety)

Spread:  1’ to 2’

Sun:   Full sun

Water:  Medium

Other:  Deer resistant 

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)

Blooms:  Late summer

Zone:  All

Height:   up to 10’

Spread:   8” to  12’’ 

Sun:   Full sun

Water:  Frequent until established, then once a week

Other:   Attracts birds;  can be annual or perennial;


Pin Cushion (Scabiosa  atropurpurea)

Blooms:    April to frost

Zone:  5 to 9

Height:  1’ to 1.5’

Spread:  1’ to 1.5’

Sun:   Full

Water:   Medium

Tolerates:   Drought 

Other:   Low maintenance; deer resistant

Borage (Borago Officinalis)  

         a bee favorite

Blooms:   Spring to frost (stagger seeding)

Zone:  All 

Height:  2’

Spread:  2.5’

Sun:  Full sun  

Water:  Medium

Tolerates:  Adapts to many soil types, does best in fertile soil 

Other:  Secretes nectar all day; very high sugar content; edible flowers and leaves; medicinal; self-seeds;  direct seed; deer resistant


 Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)

Blooms:   June to frost

Zone:   2 to 11

Height:   1’ to 4’

Spread:   2’ to 3’

Sun:   Full

Water:  Medium  

Other:  Self seeds; low maintenance; deer resistant

 Spider Flower (Cleome serrulata) 

Blooms:   July thru September

Zone:   3 to 8

Height:   3’ to 6’

Spread:   3’

Sun:   Full sun to part shade

Water:  Low

Other:  Self seeds;  comes in mixed colors: purple, pink, white but can be purchased all one color;  deer resistant


Lacy Phacelia  (Centaurea Tanacetifolia)

Blooms:   Spring  (4 to 5 weeks) and fall

Zone:   1 to 10

Height:   2’ to 3’

Spread:   8” to 12”

Sun:   Full

Water:  Moderate to dry

Other:  Fragrant; great cut flower; uncurls like a fern;  self-seeds; improves soil

Breadseed Poppies (Papaver somniferum)

Blooms: Mid-summer to frost

Zone: 4 to 9

Height: 3’

Spread: 12” to 24”

Sun: Full

Water: Medium

Other: Likes well drained soil; comes in purples, pinks, reds, etc.; self-seeds from dried pods; direct sow; deer resistant


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