Plant This Delicious Herb To Attract More Bees To Your Garden

Need more pollinators in your garden? Basil can be the perfect multi-functional plant for bringing in bees while reaping the benefits of growing a delicious herb. This is because bees are attracted to the rich source of nectar and pollen found in flowers of basil plants. By allowing basil to flower in your garden, you create a food source and encourage bees to visit, increasing the chances of successful pollination for other surrounding plants.

To further enhance the bee-attracting potential of your garden, you can consider planting other flowering plants near basil. Some plants that do well planted near basil for this reason include lavender, borage, and marigold. These plants also produce flowers that are attractive to bees and can help create a diverse and vibrant garden ecosystem. Additionally, planting a variety of basil cultivars can be beneficial, as bees are attracted to different colors and scents. Consider planting a mix of green, purple, and variegated basil to provide a range of options for bees to choose from.

Caring for basil to attract bees

There are specific steps to take when growing basil to bring in bees. Since bees are attracted to the flowers, it's important to allow the flowers to bloom — something that you may not do when growing basil purely for culinary use. This means avoiding frequent pruning or harvesting of the leaves, as this can prevent the plant from producing flowers. Also, avoid using pesticides or insecticides in your garden, which can be harmful to bees and other beneficial insects. 

Of course, you should also consider the basics of growing healthy basil. The herb thrives in warm weather, so plant it in a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. The soil should be well-draining and rich in organic matter. Before planting, consider enriching the soil with compost or well-rotted manure to provide the basil plants with the necessary nutrients. Regular watering is also essential for basil, as it prefers moist soil. Water the plants deeply once or twice a week, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Mulching around the basil plants can help retain moisture and suppress weed growth.

Types of basil to consider

There are several types of basil that are well-suited for outdoor gardens and can help attract bees. Sweet basil is the most common variety and is known for its strong, sweet aroma and flavor. It is a great choice for attracting bees due to its abundant flowers, which are white or pale pink in color.

Purple basil is a visually striking variety with deep purple leaves. It adds a pop of color to any garden and can be a great companion plant for other fresh herbs and vegetables. Purple basil is slightly milder than sweet basil, but its vibrant flowers are enough to signal bees toward your garden. 

As its name suggests, lemon basil has a strong, lemony scent and flavor. It is perfect for attracting pollinators due to its highly fragrant flowers.

Like purple basil, Thai basil is highly appetizing to bees and other pollinators due to its purple flowers. It is a popular herb in Southeast Asian cuisine, with narrow, pointed leaves and a spicy, licorice-like flavor.