5 Herbs Pollinators Love

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

borage

Borage: annual

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

Blooms: May-September

Seed or Transplant: Seed

Additional info: Long taproot breaks up clay soils. (Read about weeds benefiting soils here.)

basil

Basil: annual

Pollinators: Bees and butterflies

Beneficials: Repels asparagus beetles, tomato hornworm, aphids, files and mosquitoes.

Companion Plant for: Tomatoes, asparagus

Edible parts: Leaves

Blooms: May-September

Seed or Transplant: Transplant b/c it's an early season herb

Additional info: Read about health benefits here. 

Comfrey

Comfrey: perennial

Pollinators: Bees

Beneficials: Lacewings, spiders, parasitoid wasps

Companion Plant for: Groundcover in orchards

Edible parts: Not edible.  

Blooms: May-October

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. 

Dill

Dill: annual

Pollinators: Butterfiles

Beneficials: Hoverfiles,predatory wasps, ladybugs

Companion plant for: Brassicas

Edible parts: Foilage and seed

Blooms: August-September

Seed or transplant: Seed

Additional info: A million heath benefits, including preventing insomnia. 

lavender

Lavender: perennial

Pollinators: Bees, butterflies

Beneficals: Ladybugs and lacewings

Companion plants for: Cabbage and cauliflower

Edible parts: Read here about culinary lavender. 

Blooms: June-August

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.