7 Bee-Friendly Weeds You Should Keep Around

By Mary H. Dyer | July 13, 2019
by Mary H. Dyer
July 13, 2019

Bees can’t survive without access to a variety of pollen- and nectar-rich blooms, but often, what we consider pesky, unwanted weeds are actually beneficial plants that attract hordes of happy bees. As an added benefit, many also draw butterflies and a variety of beneficial insects to your garden. The best thing we can do for bees is to put the hoe back in the shed, say goodbye to the toxic chemicals, and make peace with those bee-friendly weeds. Here are 7 common, easy-to-grow weeds that you should keep definitely around.

Dandelions (Taraxacum spp.) – Although dandelions tend to get a bad rap, these weeds are actually quite beneficial to both us and the bees. Keep them around and this bee-friendly plant will bring in the pollinators galore. Plus, you can harvest the greens and puffy yellow flowers for yourself. They’re edible and nutritious.

Creeping charlie (Glechoma hederacea) – The creeping charlie weed is rivaled only by dandelions in terms of its difficulty to control, but why go through the trouble. Bees love the small purple flowers and its scalloped foliage is attractive in the landscape too, earning its other name of ground ivy.

Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) – There are many creeping thyme varieties, and some are considered weedy plants because of their spreading capabilities. That being said, these plants provide a nice carpet of fragrant blooms that bees find quite enticing.

Bee balm (Monarda spp.) – Most people love adding bee balm to their gardens even though in some places the plant is considered as nothing more than a pesky landscape weed. But the plant’s name says it all and bees find the blooms nearly irresistible.

Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) – Typically found growing along roadsides or woodlands, this hardy geranium can also make itself right at home in the garden. Also called cranesbill geranium, the plant may produce blooms of pink to purple with some types that are white.

Joe pye weed (Eutrochium spp.) – Why would you grow this weed in the landscape? Why not would be more like it, as the pinkish-purple flowers of joe-pye weed attract not only bees but a multitude of butterflies with its sweet nectar.

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) – Not sure why anyone would consider this plant a weed, as anise hyssop is anything but, with the exception to its self-seeding which can be remedies with pruning or deadheading. The bees will appreciate its presence in the garden almost as much as you since the plant makes a useful herb and flavorful tea.

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  • Paula
    Comment added June 4, 2020Reply

    Creeping Charlie is terribly invasive and will choke out lawns and other plants ... I don't need that as I have multitudes of other flowers.

  • Maynard Mohn
    Comment added May 29, 2020Reply

    I have been fighting various weeds found in Western Washington on a one acre tract of land in the National Scenic Area of the Columbia River Gorge for several years now.
    As I acquire more knowledge, I am leaving those weeds as they provide benefits for birds, bees and butterflies as well as many many other insects. I probably am making mistakes along the way, but I am also learning more as I go.

  • LaCagnina Joyce
    Comment added July 14, 2019Reply

    Absolutely need photos, please.

  • maryam
    Comment added July 14, 2019Reply

    I do wish there were photos to help identify these plants and their flowers.

  • charlotte george
    Comment added July 13, 2019Reply

    Live in south Florida can we grow these

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