Essential Herbs For Beekeeping

Bees aren’t thriving like they were in the past. As a matter of fact, in some areas, bee populations are dangerously low. Because of this, it is all the more important that beekeepers provide their bees with exactly what they need.

If you are a beekeeper, or if beekeeping is something that you would like to get into in the future, you should try to read about some of the herbs that can help you care for bees more efficiently. When it comes to caring for bees, the right herbs can make a huge difference.

Why Should I Use Herbs?

Herbs have been used by beekeepers for generations. There are a number of herbs, such as buckwheat, bergamot, and catnip, that can dramatically improve the quality of honey that bees produce.

Having the right herbs around can also help bees to thrive. You will want to give your bee colonies everything that they need. Providing them with herbs will help to ensure that your bees do very well. If you want to learn more about beekeeping or herbs that are particularly beneficial for bees and their produce, consider attending a beginner or intermediate level beekeeping workshop/course, see for more information.

Check out this video to see what bee farms look like if you are considering taking this up as a hobby:

Which Herbs Should I Use For Beekeeping?

As mentioned above, there are a number of herbs that people recommend using with beekeeping. In addition to the examples listed there, alfalfa is a herb that can help bees to thrive.

With that said, if you are interested in trying different herbs, you will want to focus on finding herbs that flower in some way. A flowering herb is ideal for pollinators. Herbs like basil aren’t strongly associated with honey, but bees can benefit from their presence.

How Should I Use Herbs?

If you want to use herbs in beekeeping, you will want to start a herb garden, the same way you would start a flower garden for bees. Make sure that your bees can easily access the herbs when they need to.

Using herbs won’t require a lot of effort on your part. Herb gardens are easy to set up and maintain. You should be able to get a garden started very quickly. Your bees will be able to start enjoying the herbs right away.

How Many Herbs Do I Need To Plant?

Unless you are raising a massive bee colony, you won’t need to grow all that many herbs. Even having a handful of herbs around can make a big difference.

What really matters is that the herbs you plant are well cared for and maintained. If the herbs start to wilt, the bees won’t be able to use them.

Don’t plant more herbs than you can handle. If you’re not used to growing herbs, it is better to start off small. After all, you can always add more herbs to your garden later on.

Herbs are something that beekeepers have relied on for a very long time. Some of the best-tasting honey on the market was able to achieve its great taste thanks to fresh-grown herbs. If you have a passion for beekeeping, you should make sure that you are planting the sort of herbs that bees can benefit from.

Growing Herbs In a Spiral

Wondering what the Herb Spiral is? Well, let’s find out…

The herb spiral satisfies the most critical factor involved in successfully growing your own culinary herbs,  i.e. it ensures good drainage due to the depth of soil under the plants. Provided the spiral is located in a nice sunny location, i.e. it gets at least 5 hours full sun a day, it meets the second most important requirement.
The spiral build with bricks should be reasonably stable in most locations, although one of my visitors took me to task saying that where he lived – a very wet location – my spiral would be washed away in no time and recommended a more robust construction. So the construction of the spiral might have to suit the local conditions.

If you have never built a herb spiral before (or seen one), check out this video and reading further might make more sense:

But the concept is sound. It provides a large growing area for the area of the garden it uses; it is a simple matter to transplant plants that have outgrown their allocated area to another part of the garden (by removing a brick or two, spacing out the plant, roots and all) and replacing the bricks and soil. The raised beds provide easy access to the herbs for daily harvesting. And, if you like herbs, it looks great!

For people who have had little or no experience with growing herbs, it is ideal. The culinary herbs I cover on this website include all of the most popular ones and provide a starting point for the beginner as well as a tried and tested alternative for the experienced herb gardener. I do not grow all my herbs in the spiral; mint and oregano are too invasive and better grown in pots; fennel and lemon grass grow too large (and the fennel tends to cross-pollinate with the dill) so I grow them elsewhere in the garden. Basil, my favorite herb, loves the spiral but does get somewhat oversized so I’m constantly faced with the difficult decision of what to do with it (apart from eating it), and I find herbs such as sage, comfrey and parsley will grow anywhere, including areas with poorer drainage and less sun, in my garden.

picture of some herbs

Just remember that herbs do not really need fertilizer and they are generally pest free. What that means to me is that I have no need to add chemicals to my garden and I can safely give my freshly picked herbs only a light rinse and shake in cold water before adding them to my cuisine. Of course, you can, if you are prepared to take the risk, these days get your fresh herbs at the supermarket.

The soil will benefit from the addition of organic material. Compost is best and it is worth the effort to maintain your own compost heap. Some authorities recommend animal manure but I do not enjoy the unwanted foreign plant growth stimulated by the passage of seeds through the animal’s body. Most authorities recommend peat. I cannot comment because I do not use it. People tell me it is good.


If you are new to it, do not let people complicate your process of growing herbs. The less you fuss, the happier they will be. Just don’t over water or let them totally dry out. Do not let them go to seed – except, of course, at the end of the season if you want to collect the seed for the next season.

Above all, enjoy your herbs!

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