One of the questions we are asked most often is what to plant in your Beepot solitary bee house and planter, ideas for the best bee-friendly planting inspiration. We've been meaning to write a post on this topic for too long, and now, here you go! We'd love to hear from you about what you've been growing and what's attracted the bees, let us know in the comments below or on social.
PLANTING IDEAS FOR YOUR BEEPOT SOLITARY BEE HOUSE
With a long flowering period, sometimes flowering into the Autumn, and nectar rich so great for the bees, scabious can make a beautiful bee-friendly plant choice in your Beepot solitary bee house. Scabious japonica is a nice small scabious that will attract butterflies as well as bees, even better.
Garden herbs like Thyme and Calamint
Kitchen garden herbs can make lovely plants in your Beepot, good for pollinators and good for you too, it's a double win! Thyme and Calamint are great options but also chives and rosemary can be great for you and for the bees.
A bee-friendly lavender variety
Unsurprisingly, lavender is a popular plant to grow in your Beepot bee house. With a beautiful aroma and a long history of being attractive to a variety of pollinators, it can look simply stunning in flower. Dwarf lavenders like twinkle purple and `little lottie' will last for a couple of seasons in your Beepot.
Beepot solitary bee house planted with lavender, shared by Francesa on Facebook.
Dwarf campanulas are well suited to growing in a Beepot and thrive on lots of sun. Beautiful flowers with a colourful range of hues, campanula carpatica or other alpine/dwarf campanulas should do well.
Sometimes known as Mexican Fleabane, this will flower from May to November so is great for all sorts of pollinators. Position in lots of full sun and in well-drained, light or sandy soil.
Borage, also known as a starflower, is another herb that, whilst being great for bees and other pollinators, can also be used as a garnish, herb or even for skincare!
Armeria maritima, or other sea-thrifts, will bloom most beautifully in mid to late Spring, with long stems supporting bright pink flowers, or sometimes even purple, white or red. Beautiful in your Beepot.
There are a vast number of different varieties of salvia, many of which will look beautiful in your Beepot and be great for pollinators. Top of the list though is salvia nemorosa, which will bear violet-blue flowers from May to July.
Hardy succulents like sempervivums will fare well in your Beepot, sempervivum meaning 'always alive', they tolerate extremes of temperature and drought. Handy for the slightly less enthused gardener! They are best suited to sunny, outdoors positions with plenty of well drained compost.
Image by Pandora Fleming-Smith entered for our Make us Smile Competition.
General tips for planting in your Beepot solitary bee house.
Caring for your Beepot bee friendly planting.
When growing perennials in pots, you will need to replace compost annually. To do this you should carefully remove the plant from the pot and either tease some of the compost from the roots or trim the roots gently with scissors to make more space before adding back fresh compost.
When selecting your compost we ask you to make sure you look for peat-free varieties, make a point of asking the question at garden centres to help reinforce that we care and we demand alternatives to peat. Peat is hugely important for our planet, acting as a carbon store, habitat for wildlife, preservation for archaeology, and playing a part in water management. We need to act now to protect peatlands across Europe.
Avoiding pesticides to bee friendly.
When choosing your bee-friendly planting, ask about the use of pesticides in the supply chain. In a 2017 study by the team at Sussex University, it was found that most plants marketed as Bee friendly actually contained a cocktail of pesticides and 70% contained neonicotinoids, notorious for their harm to bees. Either pressure your garden centre to eradicate pesticides from their supply chain, buy organic (we recommend Rosybee plants), grow your own, or choose a supplier that prohibits neonics from their supply chain, B&Q and Aldi being 2 such.
A few other ideas.
We asked followers on our facebook and instagram pages to let us know what they've been growing in their Beepot bee houses, ready to give you even more inspiration.
@mumdadandfive on Instagram says their chive flowers get a lot of bee attention, and remarks on how beautiful the purple flowers are.
@handinyourhead on instagram says bee balm.
@beebumbssurfwax on Facebook and @colletebeckham on instagram both vote for thyme.
And finally @georgeclaydon97 says one has lavender and other baby corn flowers.
So there you have it, our bee-friendly planting guide for your Beepot solitary bee house and planter. If you'd like to share your suggestions or let us know how you get on then please do so in the comments below or on social, we always love to hear what's working for you.
Shop the Green&Blue range of solitary bee houses, including the Beepot, via the links below.