Flowering Herbs For Bees: Planting Herbs That Attract Bees

Bee On Purple Plant
bee on herb
(Image credit: ahavelaar)

Without bees, there would likely be none of us. Bees are valuable pollinators and without them, the cycle of nature would come to a screeching halt. Lately, you may have heard of a decline in the honeybee population due to colony collapse disorder. So, what can you do for the bees since they work so hard for you? How about creating a bee-friendly herb garden?

Best Plants for Bees

Bees need flowers but not just any flowers. Bees are attracted to some blooms more than others. They tend to be attracted to plants that flower in full sun conditions. When planting a garden to entice these tiny pollinators, the best plants for bees are those that prefer full sun and that, obviously, bloom. Honeybees, for some reason, are also attracted to tiny flowers of which many herbs have in abundance. Many flowering herbs fall into these categories for attracting bees. So, what are some herbs that attract bees?

Herbs for Honeybees

Most herbs are adaptable to a wide range of soil and growing conditions and, for the most part, pretty easy to grow. They do not, however, do well in poorly drained soil and most of them prefer full sun, at least six to eight hours a day, as do most bees. When creating a bee-friendly herb garden, select sun-loving flowering herbs for bees as well as other pollinators. Luckily, there are quite a few herbs that attract bees to choose from. As with any herb garden that is designed for attracting bees, you should include a variety. To keep them from getting too much shade, separate tall growing plants, like bee balm, from the low-growing spreaders such as thyme. Perennials will give you more bang for your buck since they will return every year, but you can also include some annuals like sweet basil or cilantro. There are a number of herbs recommended for honeybee gardens. Some of the more common include:

The following herbs also make excellent choices for an herb garden for honeybees:

To benefit honeybees, plant in groups with a variety of herb species so the bees don’t have to fly so far and use precious energy. Also, I would think by now that everyone knows this, but don’t use any pesticides in your honeybee garden. It’s a bit counter-productive to entice the bees into the garden and then kill them off, don’t you think?

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.