Lavender is a nation’s favourite, seen growing wild and seen in gardens throughout the UK, not only cultivated for its inherent beauty but also cultivated due to its sweet aroma smelled by all that pass it. And bees, what about bees? Although many people are scared of them, bees are incredibly important to the environment as they are one of the major pollinators, going from flower to flower helping plants reproduce and ensuring their life cycles continue. At the height of summer, you will almost certainly see a large number of bees enjoying themselves and paying regular visits to your lavender, so I am sure you are wondering “Is lavender good for bees?”.
Is Lavender Good for Bees?
Yes, lavender is good for bees. Bees feed off the nectar that lavender produces, making it great for sustaining the hive through the summer. Studies suggest that lavender is particularly important for bees as it will flower and continue to do so at the peak of summer when surprisingly there is less foraging around. This time of year is known as the mid-summer gap when early summer blooms have faded and late summer buds are yet to open.
Lavender continues to bloom throughout this time, and its luscious flowers provide the much-needed nectar, so the bees are still able to feed.
What is Lavender Honey?
Lavender honey is a monofloral honey produced by bees after feeding primarily on the nectar of lavender flowers. When bees feed almost exclusively on one plant species, it gives the honey they produce unique characteristics and a distinct flavour relating to that plant. No honey can be 100% guaranteed to be monofloral (one flower) as bees will forage up to 6 miles from their hive, there are some factors that will increase the likelihood of producing single floral honey such as:
The first factor that many beekeepers will consider is where the hive is and what flora is in the local area. A beehive that is kept in a rural area surrounded by farms may produce a nice sweet monofloral honey due to the abundance of flowers that will grow during the year.
Time of Year
Another factor when growing monofloral honey is the time of year. Many plants and flowers are seasonal so if you time it right and there is an abundance of one flower and not much foraging elsewhere, you may end up with nice honey from a single flower. If you want to try some Lavender honey (Amazon link – opens in a new tab) this is a highly sought-after premium honey primarily produced in Bulgaria.
Honey Bees Tongue Length
The University of Sussex has discovered that honeybees have to visit many more times the number of lavender flowers than their bumblebee counterparts due to having a much shorter tongue to collect the nectar with. This makes the fact that they make monofloral lavender honey more impressive.
Other Flowers That Are Good for Bees
If you keep bees or are thinking about keeping a hive at home, it is a good idea to plant some lavender nearby for your bees although lavender is not the only flower that is good for bees, there are a whole host of flowers out there that bees will love to forage for nectar.
Number 1 on our list of other flowers that are good for bees is the crocus. Crocuses raise their heads early in the spring as the hive is waking up and provides nectar nice and early in the year when another foraging is scarce.
Sunflowers are the ultimate bee magnet with their huge yellow flowers that bloom through the summer before seeding in the early autumn. If you want to grow sunflowers, we have some helpful tips here.
Snapdragons are a bumblebee buffet. Snapdragons have evolved to release their scent at the time of day when bees are most active. With their perfectly bell-shaped flowers, having snapdragons in your garden is great for bees.
Dandelions are extremely easy to grow although they are often seen as a pain and not particularly popular with gardeners, dandelions are a great source of nectar throughout the summer and bees will love it if you keep them around.
How to Attract More Bees to Your Garden
Quite simply, if you want bees to visit your garden, or you plan to keep some bees yourself, they will need food. If you choose the right flowers to keep a colourful continued bloom in your garden, you will not only be able to keep the garden looking beautiful, but you will also attract plenty of bees looking for nectar.
In answer to the question ‘is lavender good for bees?’, the answer is an absolute, resounding yes! Lavender is a great plant for bees that will flower throughout the summer and provide a great source of food during the mid-summer gap. We recommend that if you keep bees, you should definitely plant some lavender in your garden too. Lavender also makes some of the finest monofloral honey that you can find and is well worth tasting for yourself.
Did You Know?
“The scent of lavender is known to keep away pests such as flies, mosquitoes and mice!”
“The lavender plant is part of the mint family!”
“Lavender does not produce seed; propagation is done by taking cuttings or root division!”
“The Egyptians used lavender during mummification to add a nice scent to the corpse!”
“The word lavender is an evolution of the Greek word ‘lavare’ which means to wash!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Which lavender do bees like best?
It is often said that bees like a larger cultivar of lavender such as Lavandula angustifolia (English Lavender). This species of lavender is a particularly hardy plant that although named English Lavender, isn’t actually native to England but is native around the Mediterranean.
Does lavender attract a lot of bees?
Yes, lavender is a popular plant that will attract a lot of bees. The sweet nectar atop the tall slender flowers that lavender produces is a favourite of bees and makes fine honey.
What kind of bees does lavender attract?
The sweet fragrant nectar of lavender attracts a variety of bees including honeybees and bumblebees. Bumblebees have a longer tongue than honeybees, therefore, making it easier for bumblebees to reach the nectar inside the flower.
Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.