Petunias will attract bees to their bright, fragrant flowers as small bees can enter the opening of the flower to feed on the nectar. Petunias are not the bees favorite flower but they will still visit them to collect nectar spreading pollen on their journey.
Plant petunias near other flower types in different sizes and heights to attract bees including African daisies, citrus trees and star jasmine.
Petunias are loved by other pollinating insects like butterflies who are able to reach deeper into the flower to get to the pollen.
This article will explore some great tips to attract bees into your garden with petunias. These easy hacks will give the bees more food to choose from, increase pollination rates of nearby fruit trees and will make your garden a haven for pollinators.
Top tips to attract bees with petunias
Here are my top tips for planting petunias to attract bees. Although they are not bees favorite flower, they will still come to visit to collect nectar. Smaller bees will find it easier to make their way into the petunia flower and collector the nectar.
1. Choose petunias in a range of colors
Bees see ultraviolet light emitted by different colored petunias. Although they don’t see the color they will see a light and dark spectrum that attracts them. White petunias are easier for bees to see so will be more attractive.
I have found that the most bees will visit when I plant a variety of petunia colors together. My favorites are pinks, yellows and purples.
2. Choose petunias in a range of sizes
Petunias come in a wide range of varieties with different sized openings. This is perfect to attract a range of bee species which can feed on the different flowers. Choose small petunias, large open faced petunias and large ground covers.
Choosing flowers in a range of sizes and heights will help bees to find the flowers and the nectar. Plant petunias in pots and place them on the side of garden beds. They are a perfect pair to a tomato bed where the bees can pollinate your tomato flower to increase your harvest.
3. Replace petunias with bright annuals or perennials in fall
They grow as annual flowers in most areas and can be replaced with other annuals in the fall. Violas are great small pansy that grow well over the cooler months. You can also plant African daisies for a longer lasting bloom and they will grow all year.
You can plug any holes in your garden space with annual petunias in spring to add extra color and attract more bees. Petunias can grow all year round in mild areas without frosts. Prune any old flowers off at the end of summer and they can produce flowers in the next spring.
4. Provide bees with water nearby
Another great way to encourage bees to your garden is to give them a safe water source. Find a shallow tray and place small and large rocks inside. Bees drink standing up so need to be able to land on a safe surface to drink. Place the tray near the petunias and you will have a great food and drink area that is a favorite for bees.
For more on how to feed bees water safely, check out my article here: How to Give Water to Bees | Safe and Easy
5. Provide bees with a range of flowers at different heights
To encourage bees to visit your garden and to find the petunias then interplant them with other flowers of different heights. Tall flowers will catch the attention of a passing bee which will explore the area. I like to plant tall, waving gaura with their long flowers that attract a lot of bees.
Society garlic is also a great companion plant with petunias as they are tall and have lots of flowers close together making it easy for bees to find. Star jasmine is also a favorite of bees as it has a strong smell and bright white flowers.
Providing bees with a variety of flowers to feed from will make them more likely to explore your garden and visit your petunias. Tall and fragrant flowers will grab their attention and make your garden a favorite spot to visit.
Flowering plants to grow with petunias that attract bees
Here are my favorite flowers that attract bees to my garden, they make a great companion to petunias and will lead to greater insect diversity in your yard. These flowers attract butterflies too so try your favorites to create a bee and butterfly friendly garden.
Summer flowering plants: Flowering at the same time as petunias
Winter Flowering Plants that will feed bees when petunias have stopped flowering
Giving bees a variety of flowers to feed from is key to a bee friendly garden. They will reward you by pollinating your lemon, lime, orange, tomatoes, peppers and strawberries. They can be interplanted with petunias to give the bees a feast.
I like to plant petunias in pots and move them around to areas of my garden that need some added color. We have large creeping petunias growing in a raised garden bed that are creating a great feature down the side of the planters.
Do Petunias Attract Bees? | Summary
Petunias will attract bees to their bright flowers in the spring and summer. Bees will visit the petunias but will also take the opportunity to visit the rest of your garden in search for pollen. Use petunias to bring bees to your garden then give them a variety of flowers to choose from.
Plant bright flowering plants with open centers like African daisies, camelias marigolds to give the bees a variety of food options in your garden.