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Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

Bee plants for containers

I have had a lot of requests for bee-friendly plants that will work well in pots, window boxes and hanging baskets.  Most of my plant original plant range was selected to be tough and survive in wildlife gardens amongst grass, so containers are at completely the other end of the plant-care spectrum. Never the less, the bees will appreciate plants producing pollen and nectar wherever they can find them and therefore I am now testing some plants that I think will work well. One thing I will continue to encourage is that even in containers, its important to have a reasonable size block of the same plants to make it worth the bee to visit and so I recommend keeping the range simple.

I also realise that even if the bees dont care what the plants look like, people growing in pots do and so I have chosen a simple colour pallet of blue, mauve and pale pinks.

- dwarf scabious columbardia  - dusky pink pin-cushion flowers

- trailing lobelia - one of the few trailing plants that still retains nectar

- dwarf campanula carpatica - deep blue bell-flowers

- dwarf lavender

- echium blue bedder - this one is annual and all the rest are perennial - true blue spires.

Salvia nemerosa will make a good substitute for the echium as it will keep quite small if grown in pots but provide the same height with spires of blue/purple.

I will be selling these separately or as a package which is better value. Advance order can be taken now for delivery end of July and they should still flower this year.

In spring we sell a Collection: plants for pots and containers