Herb planting for bees.......help bees and other pollinators, and fill your garden with scent, colour and flavour.....
There's a great variety of wild and cultivated herbs for bees out there and many herbs are among the best plants for bees.
If you are purchasing ready grown herb plants rather than growing from seed, please try to purchase from an organic supplier to ensure they have not been cultivated with the use of an insecticide that is toxic for bees - particularly a neonicotinoid.
Here is my list of herbs for bees - my favourites:
I have read that borage refills with nectar every 2 minutes! This is exceptionally fast. No wonder all kinds of bees love it! The pretty blue flowers can be added to salads, or into ice cubes to include in drinks. Borage is easy to grow from seed.
(Note, cats love it too!)
Allow them to flower. You can still clip some of the stalks for cooking.
Again, I have found chives easy to grow from seed. They start out quite spindly with just a few stems, but soon fill out.
Attracts bees and butterflies.
Choose different varieties for a prolonged season. You can propogate more plants from cuttings, but ensure you take quite a few as they may not all 'take'.
Another excellent flower for bees – refills with nectar approximately every 45 minutes. All kinds of bumblebees and solitary bees feed on it, as well as honey bees.
The sage family of plants are wonderful for bees and other pollinators.
Thyme can also be used to create a small patch of lawn. The fragrance and look are beautiful. Butterflies like thymes too.
Another fragrant, excellent cullinary herb loved by bees and other pollinators.
Bees love the flowers, but I have read that some beekeepers apply mint oil diluted with water to their beehives to deter wax moth.
In the past, beekeepers would rub a handful of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) inside the hive after hiving a new swarm, in order to help the swarm settle and to encourage them not to leave the hive. Rubbing hands with the leaves is also claimed to help prevent bee stings!
Also popular with seed-eating birds and hoverflies, as well as bees. Find out how to grow Fennel here.
Pretty herb loved by a variety of bees and hoverflies.
Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Often referred to as 'bee balm'. Long tongued bees especially, enjoy this pretty herb.
There are also cultivated varieties of Monarda available, which are also enjoyed by bees.
Above: Common carder bee on Wild Bergamot
Quite pretty flowers loved by bees, in appearance, slightly resembling the nettle. I have hedge woundwort in our border, but I should warn you its root system spreads very quickly, and the fragrance is not very pleasant, but the bees do love it. It also spreads through seed dispersal.
Another great bee and butterfly plant.
Gorgeous shrub loved by bees and other insects. A sprig of Myrtle was traditionally carried in the bridal bouquets at British royal weddings, from Queen Victoria to Kate Middleton. The Myrtle is allegedly even grown in Queen Victoria's garden. Well, if it's good enough for Queen bees, I suppose it's good enough for the human royals too!!
Excellent early food source for bees. It is often considered easy to grown, but where I live, I have found it difficult to get small plants established. I think young plants need a lot of TLC and shelter from very cold conditions. It is reputedly helpful in repelling 'pest' invertebrates, despite the fact that bees enjoy foraging on it.
Herbs are always in fashion in gardens.
You may or may not have space for a large kitchen herb garden, but most people can squeeze in a few herbs at least somewhere, even if they only have a yard, balcony, hanging basket or doorstep for pots.
You could create a container herb garden, or a window herb garden.
Of course, herbs not only help pollinators, they have many uses for humans too: cooking,
medicinal uses, fragrance, not to mention their beauty and verstility in the
Also, a pot of herbs makes a lovely gift and can be prepared easily at home. Home-made gifts such as these are
increasingly appreciated - and not only by gardeners. This is a great way to help bees and give an environmentally friendly gift to a neighbour.
Go from Herb Planting For Bees to one of these links to find out about more about planting for bees:
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