10 bee-friendly perennials for partial shade


Bees, that’s what people associate with summer, busy humming, beautiful flowers, and some people also with Maya the Bee. What should definitely be associated with it: bee-friendly perennials for the semi-shade. Because the important, black and yellow animal can only come into your garden with the right plant. Suitable for semi-shade, beautiful perennial plants will also bring life to the darker corners of your garden.

Bee-friendly perennials for the semi-shade: little help for busy bees

Masterwort, columbine, and woodruff are bee-friendly perennials that also thrive in semi-shade. Thanks to these perennials, the corners that were previously neglected with flowers are also colorful. At the same time, the garden becomes more attractive for bees, who like to take advantage of this additional offer. Perennials, which also show their flowers in partial shade, usually only make low demands on the soil. It should be permeable and, if necessary, can be upgraded a little with organic fertilizer. Plus: With bee-friendly perennials in partial shade, the gardener can actively counteract the death of bees.

Bee-friendly perennials: We present 10 attractive specimens for the penumbra

1. Large-leaf aster (Aster macrophyllus)

The large-leaf aster flowers in July and August and then presents its flowers in different shades of blue, white and pink. It is very hardy and therefore perennial. Faded inflorescences are cut off. The perennials reach heights of growth of up to 90 cm and need a semi-shady location with well-drained, moderately moist soil. They cannot tolerate too much water. Large-leaf asters can be planted well with other perennials, they are frugal and can cope with different nutrient levels in the soil. However, they do like to have a relative wealth of nutrients.

2. Eupatorium

The Wasserdost blooms in the most beautiful colors from July to September. The flower heads can be purple to blue and violet as well as white or pale pink. The perennial sometimes reaches a height of up to 300 cm, but most species are fully grown at around 200 cm. It likes moist, permeable and nutrient-rich soils where the humus content can be very high. A semi-shaded location is ideal. The water supply must always be sufficient, which is why the Wasserdost likes to stand by the pond. He is hardy.

The water daffodil prefers the penumbra and attracts the bees there with its beautiful flower heads. (Photo: shutterstock – Alex_Zet)

3. monkshood (Aconitum napellus)

The impressive flowers of the monkshood are a magnet for insects of all kinds. They are also an attractive eye-catcher in the garden. The gardener must be careful when dealing with it. It is poisonous and children and pets should stay away. The blue-violet flowers of the perennial can be admired between July and August. It reaches heights of growth of up to 110 cm and grows herbaceously and very persistently. The monkshood prefers soil rich in humus. It should also always be moist. Planting in groups is possible.

4. Indian nettle (Monarda fistulosa)

The Indian nettle occurs in its original form as wild Indian nettle as well as hardy bee balm. Hybrids of both species are mostly found on the market today. This gives the gardener a bit of freedom in the choice of location. However, the perennial feels most comfortable in partial shade. It prefers dry and sandy soil, where it does not need any further fertilizer. The Indian nettle blossoms between June and August. It then blooms in a magnificent shade of red. It is an ideal perennial for insects and bees.

5. Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

The woodruff is a ground cover and shows its white flowers in April and May. It feels comfortable in the semi-shade and reaches a growth height of up to 20 cm. This makes it a sought-after small perennial. The woodruff forms thick carpets and is also very hardy. The soil at the chosen location should be sandy to humic for him. A clay garden soil is also acceptable. Typical: When the shoots of the woodruff wilt, its sweetish aroma is revealed.

6. Adonis (Adonis)

The Adonis rose only grows up to 30 cm high and remains very upright. The yellow flowers appear as early as February and persist into April. They are a good haven for bees and other insects. The perennial likes a sunny to a half-shady location that is gritty to loamy. The soil should always be moderately dry to only slightly moist. The Adonis needs nutrient-rich soil and is very hardy.

7. Columbine (Aquilegia)

Bees love the nectar of the beautiful columbine.  (Photo: Adobe Stock - RukiMedia)

The columbine is an ideal plant for the tub, which should be in partial shade. Depending on the variety, it produces white, pink, and violet-blue flowers from May to July and reaches a height of up to 60 cm. The soil used should be rich in nutrients and permeable. The perennial does not particularly like waterlogging. Watering should therefore take place regularly, but the plant must not be drowned. Important: Columbines are poisonous, but all parts of the plant are inedible.

8. Dyer’s Chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria)

Although the dyer’s chamomile is considered to be warmth-loving, it is fully frost-hardy. It also survives cold winters unscathed and will delight gardeners again next year with its bushy, upright growth. The perennial reaches heights of growth of up to 60 cm. Between June and September, the single flowers appear with their radiant, golden yellow color. Its flowers attract insects of all kinds, so dyer’s chamomile is ideal for a bee pasture. The soil should be dry, well-drained, and mineral.

9. Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea)

Once found in every cottage garden, the goldenrod has now become rather rare. It likes nutrient-poor, sandy soil and scores with beautiful bright yellow flowers between July and September. Their flowers unite in whole, long clusters that overhang. The perennial is a valuable food source for bees, butterflies, and other insects. Regular watering ensures that the hardy plant blooms beautifully, but the soil must not become too wet.

10. Masterwort (Astrantia)

The masterwort likes a sunny or semi-shady location with high humidity. The soil should be humus, nutritious and fresh to moist. The perennial tolerates a lot of sun if the soil is sufficiently moist. It has exceptional flowers and also scores with a long flowering period. Due to its special charm, the masterwort is not only used as an ornamental plant but above all as a cut flower. It is not susceptible to diseases or pests.

The flowers of the star umbel stand together in simple umbels.  (Photo: Adobe Stock - Maksims)

The flowers of the star umbel stand together in simple umbels. (Photo: Adobe Stock – Maksims)

Frequently asked questions about perennials

How do insect-friendly perennials flower?

Insect-friendly perennials bloom with one flower open. A closed flower denies access to all kinds of insects. Bees, bumblebees and butterflies are then unable to access the nectar. The perennials can also bloom in autumn, when many of the flowers have already faded and the insects can hardly find any food.

Which perennials are suitable for bees?

Bees love big, open flowers. Ideally, perennials for bees have a staggered flowering period so that the insects can collect nectar from spring to late autumn. Examples of perennials that are suitable for bees include columbine, dyer’s chamomile and autumn anemone.

What belongs in a bee pasture?

A bee pasture belongs in every garden and is completely subject to the demand for insect-friendliness. Bees especially like herbs, so the kitchen herbs oregano, rosemary and fennel are also ideal for bees. Mountain savory, chives and lemon balm can also be planted on the bee pasture. Those who prefer to plant wild plants can grow dandelion, yarrow, borage and wild garlic for bee pasture.


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