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Thyme for the Bees

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We love designing gardens including thyme for bees.

That’s because herbs including thyme for bees means happy bees. And thyme isn’t the only herb they love. In fact, we like to design plantings diverse in mixed woody herbs. That’s because we use them to cook year-round. Plus, they’re fragrant. And they can help beat back weeds. Plus, many are drought tolerant. And bees and pollinators love them all.

So the more herbs like thyme for the bees, the more pollination for our food gardens!

Thyme for the bees

So, what’s our favorite variety of thyme for the bees?

Bees seem to like all kinds of thyme. So that includes carpet-forming Elfin thyme. And they love fluffier wooly thyme. As well, they’re drawn to delicious culinary forms like Mother-of-Thyme. And like me, they adore citrusy thymes too.

So, try growing them all. And the bees will visit. Then they’ll cross pollinate your thymes. And when that happens, you’ll likely end up growing a special new variety all your own.

There’s nothing as sweet as taking thyme for the bees…

So, here’s a 18″ diameter pink puff of blooming thyme planted for the bees. As you watch, see if you can identify and count all the different kinds of bees.

In fact, it isn’t just honeybees that love this plant. Too, when you grow thyme for the bees, you support wild bumblebees, honeybees, sweat bees, hover flies and wasps. That’s because they just can’t resist to sip on this herb’s sweet nectar.

Want to learn more about designing with herbs like thyme?

In our premiere training programs we’ll teach you all about herbs including thyme.
Plus, we’ll help you understand more about the importance of gardening for and with wildlife like bees.

Sign up to be notified about our programs now (and you’ll start getting free help right away!)

Want to see more bees & other pollinators in our gardens?

If you’re interested in what it means when a bee swarms, check out this series of bee swarm videos!

Hummingbird curious? Enjoy a brief video & hear the songs of hummingbirds while you watch.

Did you know our gardens are featured on PBS because of our bees?

Yep! Our gardens and our bees have been featured on PBS’s Growing a Greener World multiple times.

8 comments on “Thyme for the Bees

  1. LJ on

    Just including a plug for the Sunflower project. They are asking gardener’s around the US to count their bees once a month (for 15 minutes) and send them the results. I do it. Great project trying to id why bees are disappearing.

  2. Garden Mentors on

    Dave, Bees flock to just about every kind of thyme — ‘Elfin’, ‘Mother-of”, ‘Foxley’, Wooly, Lime and more. Try going to your local nursery & see what they have to offer. Kudos for gardening for the bees!

  3. G. Vera on


    So my father-in-law has bees and im moving onto the property. We have a space for a garden and I’d love to plant some culinary herbs, now I’m sorry if this is a stupid question, but won’t the bees sting me if I approach my thyme?


  4. Garden Mentors on

    G. Vera,
    Yours is pretty loaded question without one answer. Bees might sting you if they have a nest near your thyme or if the plants are blooming when you head for the thyme and they feel threatened, but otherwise they aren’t likely to go on the attack. And, how bees behave can vary from bee variety to bee variety. If your father-in-law is a beekeeper, he should be able to help you and the bees find a way to live and grow in harmony. Good luck!

  5. RuthAnna Ashburn on

    I have a bee about the size of my pinky nail, brownish gray color nesting in my creeping thyme plant. There is a round open spot that tunnels into the plant. I’m curious as to the type of bee and if they are docile. I’m allergic to the familiar aggressive ones. I’d hate to dis turn them but have plans to start a pond area within a few feet. This plant is pax 2×2 foot over large rocks. Also wondering if that’s just their front door and actual hive is in ground? Any thoughts appreciated.

  6. Garden Mentors on


    Sound like there’s a ground bee nest down there. There are many types of bees that nest in the ground. You might be able to check various bee identification websites online to figure out which one you have. Good luck!

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