Garden plants for bees – herbs


Herbs only provide a small amount of pollen and nectar from your garden, but sometimes this is the only food available. Added to the other shrubs, trees and plants it helps provide honey with its beautiful unique garden flavour.

Perennial Herb

Perennial growing to 90cm. Upright plants with fragrant green leaves and large spikes of attractive purple flowers. The leaves have a sweet aniseed flavour and fragrance and are used as flavouring either fresh or cooked or in tea.

Can be used in potpourri. Attracts bees to the garden.

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Annual Herb

Produces high nectar and pollen and grows well in cool, temperate, and hot/arid climates.

Flowering just 6 weeks after germination, you’ll see fields of this plant with its loose clusters of star-shaped flowers. Bees love this flower and its honey bears a delicate, cucumber flavour.

Flowers most of the year and is easy to grow as it drops many seeds producing a continuous supply of plants. An excellent herb for culinary purposes and aromatic purposes.

Photo Courtesy of RC Designer (cc)
Borage is a beautiful, fast-growing herb that makes up for its short lifespan with heavy flower, nectar, and pollen production.

Annual herb

Bees love the easy landing petals and rich pollen and nectar sources. Calendulas blossom all season long from spring through fall. They come in a variety of colors ranging from yellow, orange, pink, and cream.

Pollen and nectar are carried by bees and butterflies as a result of the flowers’ pollination. Ladybugs, hoverflies, and lacewings are just a few of the beneficial insects that come into contact with nectar, along with pests.

Calendula is one of the top herbs and can be taken orally, but more popularly it’s applied topically.

Calendula keeps pests and aphids away from plants nearby.

Perennial Herb

The average sugar concentration reported in the nectar of catnip species ranges from 22 to 28%, and the resulting honey is dark in color and slightly spicy. While each individual catnip flower produces only a tiny amount of nectar, plants can produce a reliable honey surplus when grown in large masses.

All types of catnip are generally good bee plants, including the common true catnip (Nepeta cataria). The ornamental hybrid Faassen’s catnip (N. × faassenii) is frequently planted as a ground cover or garden border plant; it grows and flowers prolifically, attracting huge numbers of honeybees.


Perennial herb

This herb flowers in most regions under most conditions. When the weather is warm enough for your bees to fly, the chives are already producing nectar to feed them.

All parts of this plant are edible. The purple blossoms are a colourful edible decoration that adds a light onion flavour.

Source : keepingbackyardbees

Annual Herb

Produces high nectar low pollen. Grows anywhere. Flowers between December and March.

Coriander is a fast-grower whose leaves can begin to be harvested just 4 weeks after sowing. It produces many small white to pinkish flowers and is a pungent herb used worldwide in salads, curries, and in other Australian, Asian, and Indian foods.

Photo courtesy of karenretra (cc)

Perennial Herb

Sadly, dandelions that pop up in the lawn are considered weeds these days even though they are potent herbs and an early food source for hungry bees emerging from their winter huddle.

Bees are smart and eat what’s good for them. Some humans know, too. Botanists consider dandelions herbs, not weeds. There’s a dozen or more potential health benefits they offer. Its pollen quality may not be as potent as flowering fruit tree pollen, but it does the job.

From root to flower, dandelions are highly nutritious plants loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fibre.

Dandelions have earned their place in the hearts of beekeepers due to their early bloom time. In fact, in many areas of the country – you may find an occasional yellow flower at any month of the year.


Perennial Herb

Echinacea, popularly known as the purple coneflower, is one of the most effective bee attractants.

Bees are drawn to the color of the wildflower and graze on both the nectar and pollen that it generates.

It blooms for a long time from mid-summer to the end of the season, giving bees nourishment for several months.


Perennial herb to sub-shrub

Produces both high pollen and high nectar.
Grows best in cooler climates and flowers between spring through summer. The flowers smell amazing and taste great, too.

Lavender requires full sun; it will not tolerate shade at all. The plant must become established before it becomes drought tolerant.

Lavender produces some of the world’s best high-quality pollen, which makes some of the world’s most prized honey.

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Lavender honey can be white to amber in colour with a strong floral aroma that’s extraordinarily intense with a persistent lavender component. Its flowers are also edible and it’s scent is as irresistible to humans as to honeybees

Perennial herb

This hardy herb is easy to grow and makes a great border. It’s broad leaves give off lemony scents when bruised and its flowers can be used in salads, lemon tea, and as a substitute for lemon peel in cooking.

Honeybees are undeniably attracted to it. Produces high pollen and nectar. Grows best in cool to temperate climates and flowers between December and April!

Photo courtesy of Jon Sullivan (cc)


Herbaceous perennial herb

Quick growing, small herb has short trailing stems, is a spreading groundcover that’s useful potted, as bedding display flower, or in rockeries. Prune them hard in the winter.

Magenta Storksbill is known to regularly attract honey and native bees even though it’s low in pollen and nectar. Flowers between November and May.




Perennial low shrub

This domesticated cousin of Oregano is another excellent culinary herb that’s a bit sweeter and more spicy tasting than Oregano.

Marjoram is easy but slow to grow and is also used in herbal medicine. Sweet marjoram produces a minty-tasting honey that’s quite excellent. Produces relatively high nectar.

Photo courtesy of Nathan Nelson (cc)

Tender Perennial and annual herb

Nasturtiums will attract a range of beneficial insects to your garden – including bees and other pollinators.

Adding nasturtiums in your outside space is one way to help honey bees and other bee species that are under threat due to climate change and human activity. They’re one of several types of edible flowers. Not only that, but all parts of the plant can be eaten.


Perennial herb to low shrub

Produces high nectar but low pollen with a long flowering period, between November and March. It has a mild onion flavor.

Grows best in cool to temperate climates and is easy to grow in a sunny position. Most oregano honeys are a mixture of garden flowers and other herbs.

Photo courtesy of Louisa Billeter (cc)

Perennial shrub

The delicate flowers provide both pollen and nectar for the bees. Especially in spring when the bees are building up their numbers.

When the bee inserts her head into the corolla to harvest nectar, the available pollen will be deposited onto her thorax.

The herb contains substances that are useful for improving digestion and increasing circulation. Rosemary is used as a seasoning in a variety of dishes.

Photographer: Joyce Dickens

Perennial herb

Sage is an extremely attractive, extremely fragrant perennial. Its soft greyish blue leaves and spikes of lavender-blue flowers combine perfectly with roses and lavender plants along borders or in gardens. Sage has been used traditionally as a dried herbal medicine and in cooking. Bees are incredibly attracted to sage, they love it.

Produces high nectar and grows well in all climates; cool, temperate, warm/humid and hot/arid. Flowers continually most of the year.


Perennial Herb

The leaves and flowers are used to flavour meals much the same as you would do with a garlic bulb. Once your society garlic is mature and ready to harvest, you can simply snip what you need from the foliage as required. The leaves and flowers can also be harvested and used in cooking, adding a mild garlic flavour to dishes.


Perennial herb

Produces both high nectar and high pollen. Is a perennial herb that flowers between September and February.

Grows in most climates and is very drought tolerant, withstands foot traffic and has antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. The honey is a light golden amber, and doesn’t crystallise.

Photo Courtesy of runmonty (cc)
Thymus serpyllum makes for a fantastic lawn-substitute and if your Thyme starts looking dead, give it a trim to rejuvenate it.