Fewer bees is really, really bad news for humanity. Luckily, saving the bees could be as easy as making a few changes to your garden and replacing some plants…

Bees play a major role in our eco system and creating a bee-friendly garden is a must, given the decline in their population, which is mainly due to climate change and industrial agriculture. The good news is, by planting flowers that attract bees and creating a bee-friendly garden, you could help save them.

Read more: 7 reasons to plant spekboom in your garden

Keep them happy all year

Plan your garden to include flowers that bloom at different times of the year. This will ensure that bees have a reason to visit your garden all the time, not just in spring or summer. Plus, it will look gorgeous all year, so everyone wins.

Bee watering station

Creating a bee watering station is essential for keeping bees hydrated (on top of all the nectar your garden is already providing). Simply add some pebbles or pretty stones to a shallow tray and fill it with water. The pebbles are essential, as they create a space for bees to land.

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Make it homely

Installing bee hives or shelters is a great idea. Bees will have the option of creating their home right in your garden, which will be a no-brainer if you construct the perfect environment. But before you do this, make sure you have a quiet part of the garden for the shelter or hive – if bees are disturbed they can be very dangerous.

Scent of flowers

When choosing bee-friendly plants, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.  Just as humans love the smell of flowers, so do bees. Bees use their scent to find flowers, so wherever you can plant sweet-smelling versions. We love sagewood, plectranthus, indigenous jasmine and Cape honeysuckle.

Colour of flowers

Bees are attracted to bright colours, so opt for yellow, orange, blue and violet flowers. According to research by Queen Mary, University of London, bees that harvested from violet flowers harvested more nectar than from other colour flowers.  

Related: These invasive plants may be taking over your garden

Indigenous South African trees to plant

  • Sweet thorn

A species of acacia, sweet thorn, is a beautiful tree that reaches a height of about 12m. They naturally occur in Southern Africa, and their sweet-smelling flowers attract loads of bees, plus birds love to nest in them.

Mauro Rodrigues – @123rf.com
  • Bush willow

This medium-sized tree grows fast and produces light yellow flowers and pretty seeds, which are loved by barbets as well as bees.

  • Karee

Karee trees are a good size for suburban gardens, and can withstand most weather conditions, including drought. Apart from attracting bees, butterflies also love them.

  • Weeping wattle

The weeping wattle, with its bright yellow flowers, is a showstopper, and one of the must-have trees for anyone who is interested in attracting bees.

Indigenous flowers to plant to attract bees

  1. Agapanthus
  2. Aloes
  3. Cape violet
  4. Clivia
  5. Euryops daisy
  6. Felicia
  7. Gazania
  8. Carpet geranium
  9. Ribbon bush
  10. Butterfly bush
  11. Cape honeysuckle
  12. Vygies
Olga Lipatova – @123rf.com