Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. It’s easily identified by its feathery leaves and yellow flowers. This hardy perennial is a common sight in UK gardens, valued not only for its culinary uses but also for its attractive appearance and aromatic nature.
But fennel offers more than just aesthetic and gastronomic appeal. It’s also a popular choice among gardeners who want to attract pollinators like bees.
Fennel For Bees
The question of whether bees like fennel is one that has intrigued many gardeners and researchers alike. Various studies and personal accounts suggest that bees are indeed attracted to fennel. The plant’s bright yellow flowers act as beacons for bees, while its nectar provides a valuable food source.
Fennel blooms for an extended period, from late spring to early autumn, providing a steady supply of nectar when other sources may be scarce. So, planting fennel in your herb garden can contribute to bee conservation efforts by providing these beneficial insects with a reliable food source.
Bees are some of the most industrious creatures on our planet, playing a pivotal role in our ecosystem. These tiny pollinators are responsible for the propagation of many plants, contributing to the biodiversity we enjoy. In the UK, there are over 250 species of bees, each with their unique characteristics and preferences.
Unfortunately, these vital insects face numerous challenges, from habitat loss to climate change and pesticide exposure. In the UK, the plight of bees is particularly concerning, with certain species experiencing significant declines in recent years.
Growing Fennel for Bees
If you’re considering growing fennel to attract bees, here are some tips to get you started. Fennel prefers a sunny location and well-drained soil. It’s fairly drought-resistant once established, but young plants will benefit from regular watering.
Fennel can be grown from seed and, given the right conditions, it will self-seed readily, providing an ongoing source of food for bees. To ensure a continuous supply of nectar, consider planting fennel in different areas of your garden so that not all plants bloom at the same time.
While fennel is a fascinating plant with many benefits, it’s known to be a poor companion plant in the garden due to its allelopathic properties. Allelopathy is a biological phenomenon where certain plants release biochemicals that can inhibit the growth, survival, and reproduction of other plants.
In the case of fennel, it exudes substances from its roots and leaves that can negatively affect the growth and development of neighbouring plants. This can lead to weaker, less productive plants around it.
This is why most gardening guides recommend planting fennel away from other plants or in a pot by itself. However, fennel does seem to coexist well with dill and can be beneficial to some insects, including bees.
So, while fennel may not play nicely with other plants, it still has its place in the ecosystem and can be a valuable addition to your garden if managed correctly.
By planting bee-friendly flowers like fennel, you’ll be playing your part in safeguarding these vital pollinators. Not only will you be enhancing the biodiversity of your garden, but you’ll also be contributing to a larger cause – protecting our planet’s ecosystems.
Buying Fennel Seeds
You can purchase high-quality fennel seeds from Crocus.co.uk, a reputable supplier of garden plants in the UK. By choosing these seeds, you not only contribute to your garden’s diversity but also provide essential support to our precious bees. Let’s create a buzz and ensure a flourishing environment for these incredible pollinators!