Correctly laying out bee pasture - instructions for beds and balconies

Correctly laying out bee pasture - instructions for beds and balconies

Creating a bee pasture - tips for premium seeds

When choosing a bee pasture, the focus is on nectar content and abundance of pollen. Honey bees, wild bees and bumblebees don't care about the picturesque beauty of a plant because they strive for a bubbling source of food. In order to enrich the bee-friendly garden and balcony with generous forage plants, the following table presents recommended seeds:

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SurnameLocationsuitable forannual / multi-yearprice
Veitshöchheimer bee pasture southSungardenMixture for one, two and several yearsfrom 30 EUR / 1 kg sack
Kiepenkerl bee pastureSun to partial shadeGarden, open fieldperennialfrom 3.99 EUR / 5-8 m²
Mössinger bee pastureSun to partial shadebalconyannualfrom 5 EUR / 3 m²
Bingenheimer Saatgut bee pastureSun to partial shadeOpen field, perennial bedannual flower seedsfrom 1.77 EUR / 4 m²
Dehner bee pastureSunGarden, open field, perennial bedannual flower seedsfrom 3.99 EUR / 6 m²
Schönhagener bee pastureSun to partial shadeGarden, open spacesannual flowering mixfrom 10.60 EUR / 40 m²
Tübingen bee pastureSun to partial shadeGarden, perennial bed, open field, wood stripsannual flowering mixfrom 12.30 EUR / 1 kg sack
Blooming bee pastureSunGarden, bed, open fieldannual flower mixfrom 19.95 EUR / 1 kg sack
Syngenta insect splendorSunGarden, perennial bed, open fieldannual flowering mixfrom EUR 3.45 / 1 kg sack

Notes on the seeds

bee pasture

The proven seed mix Veitshöchheimer Bienenweide is available in three variants. In addition to seeds for sunny locations, there are seeds for partial shade and shade, so that no gardener goes empty-handed. A particular advantage of the product is a balanced combination of annual and biennial flower seeds with wild herbs and perennials that are hardy and thrive for several years.

It has been found in practice that seed mixtures should always be cultivated as an annual, regardless of whether they contain perennial plant species. The massive weeds in the second year prompted experienced experts to make this recommendation.

The product name bee pasture hides the fact that a wide range of valuable beneficial insects also feed on the rich food supply. So don't be surprised if after sowing your favorite flower mix you will find a colorful hodgepodge of bees, bumblebees, butterflies, hoverflies and other insects.

Flower mixtures in the test

When beginners create a new bee pasture, they want to buy seeds that have proven themselves in the test. Individual experiences of individual hobby gardeners only help to a limited extent in the purchase decision, because local framework conditions, sowing and care have a decisive influence on the result. The findings of experienced experts from the Bavarian State Horticultural Institute are more meaningful. The gardeners sowed a commercial seed mixture on each square meter. The experts went out twice a day to count the humming peoples. Three flower mixtures were particularly popular with bees, bumblebees and butterflies:

  • Veitshöchheimer bee pasture
  • Bingenheimer Saatgut bee pasture
  • Beautifully hanging bee pasture
bee pasture

The experts also counted a colorful array of winged beneficial insects, such as hover flies, lacewings, dragonflies and ladybugs.


Primarily flowers and shrubs with simple blossoms are suitable as bee pastures. Dense double flowers may be a feast for the eyes. The boastful flower shapes are a bitter disappointment for busy honey and wild bees, because nectar and pollen are in short supply here.

Creating a bee pasture - sowing instructions

When to sow a bee pasture depends on the local climatic conditions. Experience has shown that the time window opens in spring after the end of the main frost period. In principle, sowing is possible all year round as long as the soil is not frozen. Admittedly, it makes little sense to sow annual flowering mixtures in late summer. The best time for sowing is therefore between the end of March and the end of May. How to do it right:

  1. Weed, rake and rake the soil for a fine-crumbly seedbed
  2. Spread the seeds manually or with a spreader
  3. Spread seeds in a checkerboard pattern with 5 to 10 g per m²
  4. Roll in the seed mixture for good soil contact
  5. pour on with fine effervescence

The seeds of a bee pasture are light germs. Do not work the seeds into the soil. If the seeds get deeper than 0.5 cm into the ground, this will affect germination. A sowing aid is advisable for easier sowing and optimal mixing of the different grain sizes. To do this, mix the seeds with soy meal beforehand.

Neugersdorf bee pasture serves as a role model

The Neugersdorf bee pasture impressively demonstrates why the project “Create a bee pasture” is not tied to a certain age. As the winner of the Saxon Generation Prize, the municipality involves members of all ages in creating an exemplary bee pasture. Further campaigns such as bee symposium and new beekeeping courses underline the reputation of being a bee-friendly city.

Green manure - bee pasture and soil improvement

bee pasture

Premium seeds for bee pastures have another advantage in their luggage that natural gardeners really appreciate. Organic flower mixtures, such as Schönhagener Bienenweide, acted as green manure. Plants contained in it, such as phacelia, cornflowers, marigolds, buckwheat, mustard and other forage plants, prepare the soil perfectly when you create a vegetable patch. For this purpose, the sown plot is cleared and raked through in the following year, shortly before the planting time begins.


Sponsorship turns wasteland into bee pasture

Bee friends without a garden or balcony take on the sponsorship of a bee pasture. In many regions of Germany initiatives are concerned with converting fallow plots into blooming landscapes. Leading and UN-funded projects are “Germany hums” and “Mellifera”. In 2019, for example, the “Become a flower sponsor” campaign was once again rewarded with the honorary award of the UN Decade of Biological Diversity. For a small fee for seeds, plants or a tree, private individuals, farmers' associations and associations take care of the professional creation and maintenance of a bee pasture.

Nectar buffet for bees - tempting selection of plants

If there is not enough space in the garden or on the balcony for a bee-friendly flower strip, nature lovers direct their attention to solitary plants with the potential for bee pasture. The following selection would like to inspire you to upgrade your bed and balcony box with a floral nectar and pollen buffet:

BushesHeydayColoursPerennials / flowersHeydayColours
Gorse (cytisus)April to Julyyellow, pink, violet, orange-redPhacelia, tufted beautifulJune to Septemberlight blue to purple
Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)May to JuneWhiteSilphie (Silphium perfoliatum)July to Octoberyellow
Blue rue (Perovskia atriplicifolia)July to Octoberviolet blueColumbine (Aquilegia vulgaris)April to Juneblue-violet
Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)May until Octobervaried colorsScented nettle (Agastache rugosa)July to Septemberviolet
Panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)July to Octoberwhite, pink, redDahlia (Dahlia)July to Septemberwhite, red, purple, pink to multi-colored
Garden hawkish (Hibiscus syriacus)June to Septemberpurple, white, red, pink, two-toneMarigold (marigold)June to Novemberyellow, yellow-brown, rust-red, orange
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)July to Septemberpurple, white, pinkGold lacquer (Erysimum)April to Novemberpurple purple
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)April to Junewhite, purpleIndian nettleJuly to Octoberviolet
Deutzia (Deutzia rosea)June to Julypink-whiteSage (Salvia officinalis)May to Septemberwhite, blue, purple, pink
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)July to AugustWhiteSun bride (Helenium)June to Septemberyellow, red, two-tone
Snow heather (Erica carnea)March to Maywhite, pink, redCommon blue carnation (Dianthus barbatus)May to Julywhite to dark red

Please always use the pure type of a plant if it is intended as a bee pasture. Most of the varieties are genetically modified, sexless hybrids that are completely uninteresting for insects. This connection can be clearly understood using the example of a panicle hydrangea. The inflorescences of hydrangeas are composed of fertile, very small flowers and decorative, admittedly sterile, show flowers. Only the fertile flowers are interesting as a source of nectar for bees, bumblebees, hoverflies and butterflies. The following rule of thumb applies to the selection of bee pastures: the lower the influence of the breeder, the more valuable it is for insects.

Ideas for representative rose species

bee pasture

Representative species are few and far between among recommended bee pastures. Seeds sprout as a floral hullabaloo, so that bees can find a set table. Shrubs, shrubs and flowers are seldom a feast for the eyes when they promise insects a coveted culinary treat. That doesn't mean that creative hobby gardeners have to give up their wishes for a beautiful garden. The queen of flowers is happy to take on the demanding role of bee pasture and eye candy. We would like to recommend the following representative species among the roses:

  • 'Apricot': Small shrub rose, frequently blooming with simple, apricot-colored flowers, height 40-60 cm
  • 'Bicolor': small shrub rose, often blooming, open flowers in light yellow and pink, height 40-60 cm
  • 'Fortuna': floribunda rose, often blooming, pink cup flowers, suitable as a ground cover rose, height 40-60 cm
  • 'Lupo': dwarf rose, frequently blooming, red to carmine red, single flowers, height 30-50 cm
  • 'Golden Showers': Climbing rose, often blooming, golden-yellow, semi-double flowers, height 200-250 cm
  • 'Lykkefund': Rambler rose, blooming once, creamy white flowers with a yellow center, height 500-700 cm

A moderate care cut at the right time elicits roses in the garden and on the balcony a much-admired second bloom. Cut back a floribunda rose, dwarf rose or climbing rose that blooms more often after the first flower pile, clearing the way for more nectar-rich flowers. Only once-blooming rambler roses are cut once in February from the fifth year onwards.

Virtual herbarium provides details

This table gives a first insight into the exuberant variety of native shrubs, perennials, herbs and flowers that excel as bee pastures. The virtual herbarium of the ambitious project “Honigmacher Bienenweide” presents detailed information. Browse through hundreds of beehive plants to put together the ideal combination for your garden and balcony box. The wide range of bee-friendly plants also allows a creative color composition in yellow, pink, purple, blue and red that leaves nothing to be desired.

Bee pasture - planting instructions for the bed

bee pasture

The best time to plant domestic shrubs and perennials is in autumn. So that a gorse-bee pasture meets all expectations, the sun-warm soil offers ideal conditions in September and October. Hardy perennials such as a cranesbill and bee pasture also benefit from these advantages. How to properly plant traditional plants in the garden:

  1. Soak the potted root ball in water
  2. Dig a spacious planting pit
  3. Enrich the excavation to a third with compost soil
  4. Pot the plant and place it in the center using the enriched soil
  5. maintain previous planting depth
  6. Press the soil on and water

If it is a shrub, please cut back all shoots by a third or half. With a plant cut, you activate bushy branches on woody plants such as gorse or lilac, which lead to a lush flow of flowers with high nectar yield for bees. Please select a bud, a leaf or a leaf node as the intersection point. There you put the freshly sharpened scissors a few millimeters above the knot.

Balcony box as a bee pasture - planting instructions for beginners

If tufts of beauty, dahlias, sage, lavender and cornflowers flourish in the box and tub, your balcony is a popular destination for bees. In general, numerous herbs are very popular with insects thanks to the rich pollen and nectar types such as oregano, lemon balm, peppermint and thyme. The best time to plant is between mid-April and mid-May. We recommend peat-free herb soil or potting soil leaned with sand as a substrate. How to plant traditional plants for bees in the balcony box correctly:

  1. Place potted young plants in water until no more air bubbles rise
  2. Spread potsherds or expanded clay balls on the bottom of the box as drainage
  3. Cover drainage with air and water permeable fleece to protect against clogging
  4. Fill in substrate up to half the height of the box
  5. Dig suitable planting holes at a distance of 5 to 15 cm
  6. Pot and plant root balls soaked in water
  7. While maintaining the previous planting depth, fill up with substrate up to a watering edge of 2-4 cm
  8. Pour the bee pasture in the box

In the sunny location, traditional plants unfold in all their glory. Before that, shrubs and flowers should undergo a period of acclimatization in order to get used to direct sunlight. For this purpose, place the balcony box in a warm, partially shaded place for a week.

bee pasture

frequently asked Questions

Can you recommend a bushy plant with purple flowers that feed bees, bumblebees and butterflies?

If you have a bushy shrub in mind, we recommend the magnificent garden marshmallow as a bee pasture. The Asian ornamental wood grows to a height of 150 to 350 centimeters and is ideal as a solitary and hedge. From July to October, the purple flower dress attracts bees, bumblebees and butterflies in droves. A prime example of a bushy perennial with purple flowers is the wonderful Phacelia, also known by the aptly named Büschelschön and Bienenweide.

Is there a tree that is particularly suitable for bee pasture?

If bees had a say in the selection of the house tree, they would advocate the thousand-flower bush. The opulent flowering wood initially grows bushy to shrub-like, only to turn into a multi-stemmed tree after a while. From July to August a fragrant explosion of flowers unfolds, which is a thrill for butterflies and bees. The birds in the garden really appreciate the nutritious berries.

How can I create a bee pasture for free?

Free seeds for bee pastures can be obtained at irregular intervals. Supermarkets and discounters demonstrate their closeness to nature by giving each customer a bag of seeds at the checkout. In 2019, for example, Lidl donated a portion of Bayer bee pasture to all customers free of charge. Antenne Bayern and Dehner carried out a joint campaign to promote more flower strips in Bavaria by giving customers free seeds in the Dehner garden center if they knew the password.

Our front garden is on the north side. What is the possibility of creating a bee pasture in the shady location?

Where light is scarce, native wildflowers and perennials thrive. With its “organic wildflower mixture shady”, the manufacturer Sativa meets your requirements. It contains the seeds of 24 shade-tolerant wildflowers. These include wood anemones, wood carnations, wild garlic and other floral survivors that even bloom in the shade. If you green the house wall with late-blooming ivy, the food supply for insects is guaranteed in autumn. What all plants have in common is a rich supply of pollen and nectar, which bees, bumblebees and butterflies really appreciate.

We want to plant a tree as a pasture for bees, but not go empty-handed and harvest delicious fruits. Which tree species come into consideration?

Apple (Malus domestica) and pear (Pyrus) are particularly popular plants for bees. Both fruit trees bloom in mid-April and provide bees with an abundance of valuable nectar and pollen. The noble chestnut (Castanea sativa), whose inconspicuous flowers invite wild and honey bees to the table from June, is less known as a bee pasture. For lovers of sour fruits, we recommend the native cornel (Cornus mas), which provides the early starters among the insects with food from March.

I would like to contribute to alleviating the acute lack of food in bees in early spring and late autumn. Which plants can you do this with?

The first nectar and pollen donors each year are black hellebore (Helleborus niger), daisies (Bellis perennis), snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) and hazelnuts (Corylus avellana). So that bees and bumblebees don't go hungry in late autumn, we recommend tufts (Phacelia), cranesbills (geranium), wild hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) and dead nettle (Lamium album) for the planting plan. The latter bears the appropriate middle name bee suction.


The Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) explicitly refers to the preservation of an autumnal giver of life for bees. Evergreen ivy blooms when most of the nectar sources have dried up. From the end of August until December, the inconspicuous flower prepares busy bees, bumblebees and other insects a set table. Attentive hobby gardeners do not cut the climbing plant until late winter so that ivy can fulfill its role as valuable bee pasture.