Why is everyone making such a big deal about pollinators? Read about that here. Got it? Great. So, what's easy to grow and makes the bees, butterflies and beneficials happy? And, oh yeah, are good companion plants, too? Herbs. Those culinary, easy-to-grow plants do more than make your food tasty.
As noted, herbs are easy-to-grow. (Read how to grow them here.) Cooks love them. (Here are easy and fun recipes from staff.) Herbal teas are fun to make. (Gardenista tells you how here.) Their health benefits are huge. They're beautiful and fragrant in the garden. (For herb pictures, Pinterest does it best.) And, now, they're helping out pollinators. Let's start planting.
You'll need to allow the herbs to flower to benefit the pollinators. Consider incorporating them into your containers and perennial beds. Due to Comfrey's size it makes a beautiful back-of-the-border perennial. Basil is pretty when flowering, so plant extra just for the flowers. Each of these are easy to start from seed after the danger of frost is over. Transplants work, too. Listed below is the advised way to plant. Now, let's hope all danger is frost is gone. The average last spring frost date is April 10. So, we're getting there.
5 Herbs Pollinators Love
Pollinators: Honey bees, bumblebees and other pollinators
Beneficials: Spiders, damsel bugs, ground beetles, parasitoid wasps
Companion Plant for: Tomatoes, squash, and strawberries
Edible parts: Leaves and flowers
Seed or Transplant: Seed
Additional info: Long taproot breaks up clay soils. (Read about weeds benefiting soils here.)
Pollinators: Bees and butterflies
Beneficials: Repels asparagus beetles, tomato hornworm, aphids, files and mosquitoes.
Companion Plant for: Tomatoes, asparagus
Edible parts: Leaves
Seed or Transplant: Transplant b/c it's an early season herb
Additional info: Read about health benefits here.
Beneficials: Lacewings, spiders, parasitoid wasps
Companion Plant for: Groundcover in orchards
Edible parts: Not edible.
Seed or Transplant: Seed
Additional info: It is balanced in N,P,K and is used as fertilizer tea, mulch or powder. It has taproots that help break up clay soil.
Beneficials: Hoverfiles,predatory wasps, ladybugs
Companion plant for: Brassicas
Edible parts: Foilage and seed
Seed or transplant: Seed
Additional info: A million heath benefits, including preventing insomnia.
Pollinators: Bees, butterflies
Beneficals: Ladybugs and lacewings
Companion plants for: Cabbage and cauliflower
Edible parts: Read here about culinary lavender.
Seed or transplant: Transplants
Additional info: Use a lavender spray on your pillow for better sleep.
For any questions on growing these herbs, please refer to staff. They're knowledgeable and ready to help. Now, fingers crossed that spring is FINALLY here.
Written by Cinthia Milner, garden coach and blog writer.
B.B. Barns Garden Center serves all of Western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina and Tennessee.