Lavender is a fragrant herb that has long been prized for its many healing properties. It is commonly used in aromatherapy and is believed to have relaxing and calming effects on the mind and body. But did you know that lavender may also be good for bees?
Lavender is a natural source of pollen, which are critical for the survival and health of bees. Studies have shown that bees are naturally drawn to lavender, making it an excellent choice to plant in your garden if you want to help attract these important pollinators.
Lavender is loved by gardeners, beekeepers and many bee species alike. Its delicate flowers are rich in nectar and pollen, making it an important food source for bees of all types. Whether you are a home gardener or a beekeeper, lavender can play an important role in supporting honeybees, bumblebees and other beneficial insects.
Lavender and bumblebees are a natural pairing, as they both play a role in each other’s survival. The research team at Sussex University found, when both bumblebees and honey bees had access to borage and lavender, the bumblebees had a preference for lavender. In contrast, the honey bees mostly visited the borage flowers. In fact, they counted ten times more bumblebees as honey bees going to the lavender. However, the opposite was true for borage. It’s well known that borage is another great herb for bees. If you want more different types of bumblebees, plant lavender. If you want more honey bees, go with borage.
What Is Lavender
Lavender, also known as Lavandula angustifolia, are small, evergreen shrubs that attract bees like a magnet. With gray-green leaves that are covered in fine, silvery hairs. They produce clusters of tiny purple flowers on long, bare stalks at the tips of their branches. These fragrant flowers contain shining oil glands embedded in star-shaped trichomes that cover the plant’s stems, leaves, and flowers. Because lavenders typically do not produce seeds, they are often propagated by cuttings or root division.
Lavender is commonly used in aromatherapy for its soothing and calming effects on the mind and body. Lavender has long been used to help treat anxiety, stress, insomnia, depression, and other conditions. But there is limited scientific evidence to support many of these uses.
Lavender plants are a genus of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, that are native to countries around the Mediterranean. These versatile plants have long been used for their sweet-smelling essential oils, which are used in a variety of products, from scented sachets to bath products. Additionally, lavender flowers are often dried and used in herbal blends for a pleasant floral fragrance.
Growing lavender is a relatively simple process, like bees, lavender enjoys the sun. So you should keep your plants in a sunny location with well-draining soil or a suitable container. Ideally, lavender should be planted in April or May when the soil warms up and fresh plants become available from an online garden centre like Crocus.co.uk. It is important not to plant lavender during winter, as young plants may be prone to rotting in cold, wet soils.
When choosing a planting location for your bee-friendly lavender plants, it is important to consider their preferred growing conditions. Lavender thrives in sunny spaces with fast-draining soil, and will not tolerate shade, dampness, or extremely cold conditions. In general, lavender performs best in poor, dry soil, including chalky and alkaline soils.
To prepare your garden soil for planting lavender, you should begin by digging it over and removing any existing weeds. If your soil is heavy or tends to become waterlogged over the winter, you may wish to plant your lavender on a mound or in a raised bed to ensure that its roots remain well-drained.
When planting lavender, it is important to space plants about 90cm (3ft) apart if growing them in groups and to plant them 30cm (1ft) apart or 45cm (18in) apart for larger cultivars if growing a hedge.
Once you have planted your lavender plants, it is important to water them regularly during their first growing season and to continue providing adequate moisture as they become established. In addition to watering, periodic deadheading of spent blooms can help encourage new growth and attract seed-eating birds like goldfinches. Overall, growing lavender requires minimal effort, but regular maintenance will help your plants thrive and produce beautiful flowers year after year.
Where To Buy Lavender
Looking to add some garden plants that are loved by bees to your garden? Look no further than Crocus.co.uk, the online garden centre that offers a wide selection of lavender plants for purchase. Whether you’re looking for a fragrant hedge or simply want to add some floral beauty to your garden, Crocus has a variety of lavenders available.
Best Lavender Varieties For Bees
English lavender such as Lavandula angustifolia ‘Imperial Gem’ and Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’
Imperial Gem – is a variety of compact and bushy plant, covered in masses of rich purple flowers during the summer months. These contrast with its silver-grey foliage and provide a beautiful sight in any garden. This particular type of English lavender is excellent for creating low hedges in a cottage or formal garden because it remains nice and neat.
Hidcote – this plant produces dense, fragrant spikes of deep violet summer flowers. Perfect for edging paths and borders as the air is filled with the perfume of aromatic foliage if you brush against the slender silver-grey leaves.
Or try French lavender like the Lavandula pedunculata subsp. lusitanica Lusi Pink and Lavandula pedunculata subsp. lusitanica Lusi Purple.
Lusi Pink – another wonderfully compact lavender, the flower spikes are popular with bumblebees and other nectar-loving insects. This plant flowers earlier in the season than English varieties. Is ideal for any sunny spot in your garden and looks wonderful when planted within large groups.
Lusi Purple – again flowers bloom earlier in the season than English varieties. Its Purple-blue, corn-like flowerheads bloom into slender, purple petals that look like butterfly wings, fluttering in the breeze.
Adding lavender to your garden can be a great way to attract bees and butterflies, as these plants are known for their beautiful flowers and rich nectar. With proper care and attention, your lavender plants can become a beautiful addition to your garden that will attract pollinators like bees and butterflies for years to come!