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Attract butterflies, bees & hummingbirds w/the flowers of these herbs

Early morning view of herb garden


Early morning view of herb garden  facing north



Want to attract bees, hummingbirds and butterflies? Did you know that many common herbs that have Biblical roots also provide nectar-giving flowers for them?  By planting these herbs, you’ll help our bee population thrive plus you’ll have an abundant harvest. 

Herbs That Attract Butterflies

Butterflies are the happiest in sipping on flowers planted in areas with good sun and little or no wind. The flowers of certain herbs are shaped just right for butterflies to land onto. They include:

Thyme – thyme grew wild in the hills of Jerusalem and legend has it that Baby Jesus’ manger was lined with thyme as bedding.

Thyme - bees love thyme!


Mint one of the tithing herbs mentioned in Matthew 23:23 is a very fragrant herbs which attracts butterflies.


I think all of the mint species including my favorite peppermint attracts butterflies. Hyssop also mentioned in the Bible, is a member of the mint family and the butterflies are always landing on its purple flowers. When the pineapple mint flowers I see little white butterflies all over them. Since the leaves are tinged with white, sometimes the butterflies are camouflaged.



What about parsley?

Not mentioned specifically in the Bible but a much used herb during Bible times. It’s a biennial meaning it sends up leaves the first year and then flowers out the second year. That’s when you see the butterflies alighting on the flowers.

Oh, and one more thing. You know those beautiful monarch and swallowtail butterflies? In their young stage (they look like green striped caterpillars) they like to eat parsley, fennel & dill. I always plant extra of these in my herb garden. It’s fun to see the progress as they go into pupation – they attach themselves to a branch – and finally burst out as beautiful butterflies.


What are some Bible herbs that attract bees?


Basil, again not mentioned specifically in the Bible but a commonly used herb in those days. Bees like single-petaled flowers. Those are easiest to get the nectar from and basil fills the bill.

How to prune basil for a longer harvest - cut off the flowers


Thyme is another Bible herb that bees just love, including what we call native bees, those tiny bees that some folks refer to as sweat bees. They are great pollinators and in the morning, there’s a buzz of bees always on my thyme flowers. Thyme can take drought conditions so it’s an excellent Bible herb to plant.


Would rosemary and dill fall into the category of herbs that bees like?


Yes, bees easily reach the nectar of rosemary’s blue to pink flowers, and the stems of rosemary are sturdy enough for even bumblebees. Dill was an important, somewhat rare herb during Bible days and was used for tithing.  Flowers look delicate but are actually shaped flat like saucers which gives the bees lots of room.


What Bible herbs would attract hummingbirds? Some people make their own hummingbird “nectar” with sugar and water.


Hummingbirds are really good pollinators. And they are so fun to watch. They like tubular shaped blossoms so here are some good ones:


Sage. Sage is reminiscent of the menorah because of the fact that it has a single center stem with side stems radiating out from it, just like a candlelabra. Hummingbirds especially like pineapple sage with its bright red flowers, but tend to enjoy my common sage, as well.


Lavender is fragrant and the blossoms are so beautiful. Would hummingbirds like those?

I have both the blue and pink flowering lavender, and the brighter the color, the more the hummingbirds like it. The legend about lavender (and rosemary)  is that its flowers were white and when Mary put her blue cloak on the flowers, they turned blue in her honor.


Petunias are good for hummingbirds, too, as they are quite visible and have the right shape. I have some in my Mary Garden and they represent the trumpets of the angels.


What about setting out small saucers of water in the herb garden for these pollinators?



A good idea for sure, especially for the butterflies, who like to take a sip often. Make sure the dish is shallow so they don’t drown.



This drink is full of antioxidants and hydrating and I think better than anything of the vitamin waters you buy. I’ve been sharing variations of this recipe all summer, and realized that most of the ingredients are Bible based!  Check out a recent post for the recipe and photo.


Permanent link to this article: http://abouteating.com/dont-buy-vitamin-water-make-it-yourself/


  1. Jim

    My russian sage is 3 to 4 feet tall (wide) and always seems to have dozens of bees on it

    1. Rita Heikenfeld

      One of my favorite sages (though not a true sage). You’re doing a good thing by giving bees good food.

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