Get the native bee buzz

Denis Crawford explores the world of native bees and how we can help provide food for them. A good starting point is to see what you can plant in your garden that will attract them to your patch.

Native stingless bees
Photo: Alamy

You can help the native bees of your area by making your garden more attractive to them with desired food, roosting and nesting spots, and water. Also, grow a variety of flowering plants so that pollen and nectar is available throughout the year. Planting bushes with nectar-bearing flowers in clumps will maximise their attractiveness. Also, go for a variety of nesting sites, such as uncovered earth, dense shrubbery and dead tree branches. A dish of water is also a must, but put some pebbles or marbles in the dish to prevent birds emptying it.

Bee-attracting plants

This list is not exhaustive and mostly suits ‘generalist bees’  that feed on more than one type of plant. Some native bees have specific requirements. For example, native bees of the genus Trichocolletes mostly visit native pea flowers (Fabaceae). If you want to attract a wider variety of bees to your garden find out which species occur in your area, and grow local native plants to suit them.



Eucalypts, gum trees

Pincushion hakea 

Happy wanderer 



Honey myrtles 


Coastal rosemary 


Abelia x grandiflora

African daisy 


Butterfly bush (Buddleja) *

Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii cultivars) 




Salvias (are loved by bees)

*Be careful to deadhead  this as it can be an environmental weed.

Our latest issue which is onsale now has Dennis Crawford's full article on native bees, including the different types you might find in you garden. Get the latest issue of Organic Gardener for all the buzz on native bees!

Peacock carpenter bee by iStock


We love bees at OG and so have quite a few articles about how we can help them:

Bee friendly planting

How to get the native bee buzz -- just add bees!

Power of pollination

All abuzz


By: Denis Crawford

First published: July 2020

Related topics

Animals & Insects, All Gardens, Native bees, Bees, honey, pollination, Issue 119 -- August/September 2020, Beneficial plants & insects