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Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

Plants for bees: asters

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Asters, autumn daisies in a wide range of colours from white, through all shades of pink and purple. Almost every garden has them and I know some gardens where they almost grow as weeds.  They flower really late and give a strong splash of colour in September when most other flowers are beginning fade. They will tolerate light shade and bright sun and are relatively trouble free; what more could you want in an autumn flower. Right now (mid September) my asters are the top plant attracting not only bees but a wide range of hoverflies too. I grow, and sell, Aster Amellus (pictured) as its a species plant which tend to be more reliable nectar sources than anything that has been over-bred. Having said that, bees seem to like all the simple, open style of asters so you just need to avoid anything with frilly or with 'double' petals.