Weeds are frustrating, no doubt. They take up space in your garden and compete with other plants for sunlight and nutrients. However, not all weeds are bad. Many are beneficial, especially for bees and other pollinators.
Why bees are important for your garden
Before we get into the weeds, it important to remember why bees are so essential for your garden. Bees are critical pollinators, responsible for pollinating approximately 80% of flowering plants globally. They help to fertilize flowers, allowing plants to produce seeds and fruits. In addition to their role in pollination, bees also help maintain biodiversity.
Which weeds do bees love?
Clover is a common, low-growing plant. Bees are particularly attracted to the nectar from the small white or pink flowers that bloom in the spring. Clover is also beneficial for your garden because it helps to fix nitrogen in the soil, which means it takes nitrogen from the soil and converts it to a form that other plants can use. This makes clover an excellent natural fertilizer, improving soil and plant health.
Dandelions are the bane of every lawn-proud suburbanite, but they are a great meal for bees. With bright yellow flowers that produce a lot of nectar, dandelions are a favorite among bees. Dandelions also have a long flowering season, which provides bees food for an extended period.
Additionally, dandelions have medicinal properties and have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. The leaves, roots, and flowers of the plant are all edible and are used in tinctures, teas, and salves to treat everything from tummy troubles to bloating and fluid retention.
Goldenrod is a tall, flowering plant that is often seen along roadsides and in fields. Despite its reputation as a weed, goldenrod is a valuable plant for both humans and pollinators. Like dandelion, goldenrod produces lots of nectar, making it a popular plant for bees. Goldenrod has medicinal properties and is used treat respiratory issues, kidney and bladder problems, and arthritis.
Milkweed is a native plant that is essential for the survival of monarch butterflies. Monarchs only lay eggs on milkweed, which provides the necessary nutrients for the growth and development of the caterpillars. Bees – as well as other beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings – are also attracted to the fragrant pink or orange flowers that bloom on milkweed. For hundreds of years, humans have used milkweed to treat respiratory issues, rheumatism, and skin conditions.
Purple dead nettle
Purple dead nettle is a common weed that grows in gardens, fields, and other open areas. It is a member of the mint family, with distinctive purple flowers that bloom in the spring. Purple dead nettle an important food source for bees and other pollinators, producing nectar and pollen throughout the spring and summer. In addition to its value as a food source for pollinators, purple deadnettle has a strong taproot that breaks up hard soil, improving drainage. For humans, purple dead nettle a good source of vitamins and minerals, including iron and calcium and can treat respiratory issues and inflammation.
Red clover is often grown as a nitrogen-fixing cover crop or forage crop for livestock, but it also has many health benefits for humans. This plant is rich in isoflavones which help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Red clover is also a natural blood thinner and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a popular herb for treating skin conditions and respiratory issues. In addition to its medicinal properties, bees and other pollinators are attracted to clover’s bright pink flowers and nutritious nectar and pollen. red clover is good food for hungry pollinators.
Bees depend on weeds
By allowing weeds to flower in our lawns and gardens, we can help ensure that bees and other pollinators have access to the food they need to survive and thrive. So next time you get the urge to mow, stop, take a rest, and let it grow!