5 herbs that will attract pollinators to your garden
Growing herbs is a win-win - they will add a twist to the dishes, look great in pots as well as among other plants and additionally, they can make your garden more wildlife-friendly.
Check our list of 5 easy to grow herbs that pollinators will love.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Oregano is a herb that it is always good to have, especially if you are a fan of Italian and Greek cuisine. It creates a perfect combination with tomatoes, garlic and fresh vegetables in salads and gives this great aroma to tomato sauce on pizza.
You can plant oregano successfully in containers, in the ground or on your windowsill. As a plant originated from the Mediterranean climate, it loves sunny spots and well-drained soil and will tolerate much better dry spells than having its roots sitting in the water. This little bushy plant produces clusters of pink, rich in nectar flowers in the summer (between July and September) which bees and butterflies love. Another great thing is that oregano is a perennial and low-maintenance plant which means that you don't have to worry too much about it and it will still bring you tasty leaves year after year.
Notes: if you want to use oregano in dishes make sure you buy Italian or Greek oregano. Ornamental varieties have a much milder flavour than 'original' oregano. It is also a great herb to dry and use in the off-season.
Lavender is a common plant and there is no surprise to that as it looks fantastic (writing that down I just have a picture of fields with waves of purple flowers in my head and can almost smell it’s scent...) in any garden and during the summer months, bees, butterflies and moths make lavender bushes even more alive with their constant buzz.
If you would like to have lavender for culinary use make sure that you plant English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) instead of French lavender (Lavandula stoechas) which can be used for its fragrance but it is not edible.
Lavender flower buds are often used for decorating cakes and cocktails, leaves and non-flowering sprigs can be used to add specific aroma to both - sweet and savoury dishes.
You can grow lavender in the ground or a container, in a place with loads of sun and in well-drained soil. Regularly deadhead your lavenders to prolong the flowering season.
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
Hyssop is a hardy, semi-evergreen perennial or shrub. It blooms from mid-summer to autumn (July to October) and has flowers which will attract many types of bumblebees and butterflies. The original hyssop has purple flowers but you can also find varieties with white (White Hyssop - Hyssopus Officinalis f. albus) or pink flowers (Hyssopus Officinalis 'Roseus').
Hyssop’s aromatic leaves can be added to salads and complement the taste of soups, stews and many meat and fish dishes. Dried leaves can be used in teas.
Grow hyssop in full sun in well-drained soil. It doesn't need much maintenance, just remember about trimming it back after flowering. It will look great in containers/pots in the patio garden as well as in the borders or creating a small hedge.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Chive is a must-have in the kitchen, it is super easy to grow, it's grassy foliage looks great in the containers or among other flowers or vegetable crops (where it also works great as a pest deterrent) AND on top of that when it flowers it helps with feeding pollinators (and actually, its flowers are edible for us too!).
In contrast to previously described herbs, chives prefer slightly wetter conditions and will grow well in full sun as well as in partial shade.
Lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus)
Thyme is one of those herbs with such a variety of uses in different cuisines that it is hard to imagine cooking without it! There are many types and cultivars of thyme and actually it is possible to find a variety of thyme that is perfect for any sort of savoury or sweet dishes.
Lemon thyme has a form a dwarf shrub with attractive two-cloured foliage and delicate pale-pink flowers which flower during summer months and attract bumblebees as well as butterflies. It has a great, intense fresh fragrance which combines well with fish and seafood. It is also used in sugar syrups for desserts, tea infusions and as food decoration (btw. the flowers are edible too).
Plant lemon thyme in well-drained soil, in full sun. It will grow well in very poor soils and dry conditions. Will feel good growing in the containers outside (can be grown together with other herbs like lavender, oregano and rosemary) or on a sunny windowsill, rockeries and in the ground.