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Flowers that Bees Stuff Themselves Into

Pollinator gardens are all the rage, and we hope this isn’t a passing trend! In addition to providing much needed habitat and food for these essential creatures, there is another extremely important reason to plant for pollinators: to watch bees stuff themselves into flowers.

If you haven’t witnessed this phenomenon, you will not regret lingering in your garden to catch it. Here’s a list of perennials that will all but guarantee hours of enjoyment watching the bees.

Perennials that Bees Love to Squeeze Into

Digitalis – Also known as foxglove, Digitalis puts up spikes dripping with tubular blooms that bumblebees love to climb into. They’re great at the back of the garden where they will hang above shorter plants. Foxglove is a biennial, so plant a few each season to ensure blooms every year.

Penstemon – Super tough, long blooming, and long-lived, Penstemon, aka beardtongue, brings the bees in with its prolific blooms. Big juicy bumblebees spend quite some time happily squeezing into each individual bloom. To keep the show going, remove spent flowers to encourage rebloom.

Physostegia – Known as obedient plant because the flowers will stay in place if moved, Physostegia has tubular blooms up and down, and the bees never pass it up. It spreads happily and likes moist soil, so pick a spot where there is room to let it go and watch the bees enjoy the buffet. 

Great Blue Lobelia – A bee magnet! The bright blue blooms are impossible to miss, and they’re just the right size for a bumblebee to squeeze about halfway in. Great in combination with yellows, purples, and whites. Good for moist soils and tolerant of some shade.