Bee-friendly herbs

July 16, 2009

Many flowers will attract bees but I’ve noticed in my own garden and from research that some attract them much more than others.

In my herb garden the bees seem to love the following flowering herbs: chives, lavender, thyme, bergamot, borage, feverfew, lamb’s ears, greater celandine, st john’s wort, comfrey, clary sage, roses, oregano, marjoram, white and red clover, evening primrose, rosemary, sage, yarrow, lemon balm and marshmallow.

Bees also like the flowers of betony, bramble, butterbur, catmint, dill, coneflower, eyebright, mullein, lungwort, foxglove, dandelion, cornflower, hollyhock, honeysuckle, nasturtiums, white dead nettle and wall germander to name just a few.

Here are a few photos of herb flowers in my garden that bees like:

img_0482

This shows from left to right: borage, bergamot and st john’s wort.

boragefeverfewevprimrose

Borage, evening primrose, feverfew and dill flowers.

bee-on-chives

Bee (obviously!) on chive flowers.

clarysageflowerlambsears

Top photo shows Clary sage flower, lower photo shows Lamb’s ears flowers.

greatercelandine

Greater Celandine. If you break off one of the leaves or stems you’ll see bright orange sap ooze out; apparently good for treating warts amongst other things but be warned it does stain skin and clothes and may irritate sensitive skin.

beesonoreganoHow many bees can you see on these oregano flowers? (click image to enlarge)

apothecarysrose

Apothecary’s rose (Rosa gallica officinalis). This has a wonderful scent and the petals can be used for many things as mentioned in this blog post about how to make rose water and this one about how to make rose flavoured sugar.

If you’re not sure what species of bee you’ve seen, this website will help: http://www.bumblebeeconservation.org.uk/bumblebees_id.htm

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Juliet 07.19.09 at 5:01 pm

I counted 7 bees on the oregano, but I think there might be a couple more which are almost entirely hidden behind flowers?

Juliet’s last blog post..The Plight Of The Honey Bee

2 Sarah Head 07.27.09 at 3:57 pm

I love bees on my herbs and have several bumble bee holes which I hope are subterranean nests. Have you noticed which flowers the honey bees prefer? In my garden it’s the flowering marjoram and mint and when I was last at the Sanctuary the blackberry flowers were crawling with honey bees – a wonderful sight!

3 felix torres 01.26.11 at 4:11 pm

I was reading your comments on Bee friendly herbs and I am very curious about it, since Iam trying to gather as much information about Bee friendly plants. Iama Beginer beekeeper and I want to organize my own Bee garden in order to provide the food for my bees. can you help me with this i would aopreciate any help that you can give me.
Respectfully:
Felix Torres

4 Pat Weisbrodt 03.23.11 at 9:12 pm

I keep bees and have lots of herbs-St. John’s Wort being one of them. The bees go crazy for this plant. Do you know if the bees get the same effect a human would and its effect on the honey/pollen?

5 Catherine 05.31.11 at 1:17 pm

They seem to like Sage flowers

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