We have compiled three downloadable plant lists to help gardeners identify plants that will provide nectar and pollen for bees and the many other types of pollinating insects:
The plants were chosen using the extensive experience, archives and records of RHS entomologists, gardeners and beekeepers in addition to published lists and scientific evidence. The lists are maintained by a team of RHS staff, including horticultural advisors, entomologists and botanists and is reviewed annually.
While these lists will continue to evolve and be improved on, they represent some of the best cultivated and wild plants for gardeners to attract a wide range of pollinating insects.
A selection of Perfect for Pollinators plants
If you don’t have time to digest the full lists or you just want a taster of Perfect for Pollinators plants to use in your garden, try this attractive selection of 10 wild and 10 garden plants to get you started:
• Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)
• Cantaurea scabiosa (greater knapweed)
• Digitalis purpurea (common foxglove)
• Eupatorium cannabinum (hemp agrimony)
• Lonicera periclymenum (common honeysuckle)
• Origanum vulgare (wild marjoram)
• Thymus pulegioides (large thyme)
• Trifolium repens (white clover)
• Verbascum nigrum (dark mullein)
• Viburnum opulus (guelder rose)
• Caryopteris x clandonensis (caryopteris)
• Dianthus barbatus (sweet william)
• Hesperis matronalis (dame’s violet)
• Hyssopus officinalis (hyssop)
• Jasminum officinale (common jasmine)
• Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender)
• Lychnis coronaria (rose campion)
• Monarda didyma (bergamot or bee balm)
• Verbena bonariensis (purple top)
• Weigela florida (weigelia)
Why pollinating insects are important and how gardeners can help
Flying insects such as bees and hoverflies which visit flowers for their nectar and pollen perform a vitally important pollination service. Pollination is where the pollen from one flower is transferred to another flower, bringing about fertilisation. Some flowering plants are pollinated by the wind but the majority rely on this service from insects and without it plants would fail to produce seed and, in some cases, fruit.
Our wild bees and other pollinators are considered to be in decline. By planting nectar and pollen rich flowers over a long season, gardeners can help reduce this trend. In return, an abundance of pollinators will ensure garden plants continue to reproduce through seed and that many fruit and vegetable crops such as apples, strawberries and tomatoes successfully set fruit.
The National Pollinator Strategy (England), launched in Nov 2014, encourages gardeners to choose plants that provide resources for pollinators and endorses the RHS Perfect for Pollinators plant lists. The RHS is committed to helping to deliver the aims of the strategy and safeguard our bees and other pollinators for the future.
How to attract and support pollinating insects
- Aim to have plants that are attractive to pollinating insects in flower from early spring to late autumn. Winter flowering plants can also be of benefit.
- Grow garden plants with flowers that attract pollinating insects.
- Avoid plants with double or multi-petalled flowers. Such flowers may lack nectar and pollen, or insects may have difficulty in gaining access.
- Never use pesticides on plants when they are in flower. Read the RHS statement on pesticides.
- Where appropriate, British wildflowers can be an attractive addition to planting schemes and may help support a wider range of pollinating insects.
- Observe the plants in your garden. If you know of plants with blooms that regularly attract insects, let us know.
- Encourage bees by keeping honeybees yourself or allowing a beekeeper to place hives in your garden. Nest boxes containing cardboard tubes or hollow plant stems, or holes drilled in blocks of wood will provide nest sites for some species of solitary bees. Such nests are available from garden centres or you can make your own (holes/tubes should be in a mixture of sizes with a diameter of 2 – 8mm / (116 – 516 in)).
RHS Perfect for Pollinators registered trademark
The RHS Perfect for Pollinators registered trademark is available for download in different formats for members of the trade and groups that want to promote the initiative. This registered trademark should be used in conjunction with the RHS Perfect for Pollinators plant lists.
The RHS recognises that the RHS Perfect for Pollinators plant lists do not encompass every plant that is beneficial to pollinators. The aim is to provide a well researched, yet manageable selection of readily available plants, throughout all four seasons, enabling gardeners to bring more pollinating insects into their garden, balcony or window box.
The trade must only use the RHS Perfect for Pollinators registered trademark on labels of plants that appear in the RHS Perfect for Pollinators plant lists. Furthermore, all plants attributed to Perfect for Pollinators and using the associated logo must have been grown in accordance with all relevant UK and EU legislation and regulation, including the use of pesticides and the current ban on neonicotinoids. Plants that follow the principles for attracting pollinating insects but do not appear on the RHS Perfect for Pollinators plant lists may still be grouped together under the RHS Perfect for Pollinators point of sale artwork or display area.
The RHS recognises that not every seed within a seed mix may be a plant that appears on the RHS Perfect for Pollinators plant list. However, this does not necessarily mean the RHS Perfect for Pollinators regsitered trademark cannot be used.
Producers of seed mixes may use the registered trademark if 75% or more of the contents (by volume or seed number) of the seed packet are RHS Perfect for Pollinators plants. This is on a ‘self-assessment’ basis, but the RHS will make spot checks to ensure there is no misuse of said registered trademark. Where misuse of the registered trademark occurs, the RHS will require the producer to remove the RHS Perfect for Pollinators registered trademark immediately from all packaging.
Guidelines on using the RHS Perfect for Pollinators logo
Download guidelines on using Perfect for Pollinators logos (1.3MB pdf)
RHS Perfect for Pollinators registered trademark downloads
Download zip files of RGB & CMYK versions of the PfP logo (available as .jpg, .png and .eps files)
RHS Perfect for Pollinators logos (8.2MB pdf)
Please be aware that this is a large file and download times will vary according to your internet connection. Note that some of the files can only be opened with Adobe products.
RHS Perfect for Pollinators artwork for stickers (458kB pdf)
Themed packs of RHS Perfect for Pollinators point-of-sale material are available from Floramedia.
To enquire about or purchase a license agreement for annual multiple use of RHS Perfect for Pollinators point-of-sale artwork please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have further queries regarding the use of this trademark please email email@example.com.
If you suspect misuse of this trademark please email firstname.lastname@example.org with details.