I have some crazy sized African Blue Basil growing in my back yard, which is covered in bees.
My basil plants are now 3+ years old, over 6′ high and at least that wide. No hint of slowing down over winter – they’re covered in flowers and bees year round, lots of ladybugs in spring too.
They don’t need too much water either, but the more water they get the larger/more flowers they grow.
I’m a ‘lazy gardener’ and find these to be low maintenance, perfect for seasoning soups and potatoes, and feeding bees!
Sunflowers and Carrot blossoms are bringing in different kinds of bees and insects too, and are very easy to grow! Also get carpenter bees and humming birds going after the morning glory – if you want to battle an invasive vine!
I propagate the African Blue Basil. I cultivated these ones from a single cutting from a nursery several years ago.
Local Beekeeper and plant expert Donna shares:
African blue basil is a cross between two different species (Ocimum kilimandscharicum X Ocimum basilicum ‘Dark Opal’). Though one parent is sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Dark Opal’) it is used sparingly in cooking. The taste is somewhat bitter, but the plant is very fragrant when bushed against or cut. Also the plant is very easy to propagate from cuttings even in a glass of water. I started with one small 4” container and now have 9 plants in my front and back gardens and 2 are fairly large, 4’ x 5’.
The basil has been amazing for my bees, year round, and seems pretty darn hardy surviving on occasional gray water in some pretty hot spots.
I have 7 major plants out back and another 3 getting started in the front yard. They’re covered in ladybugs, honeybees, and my Mystery Bee currently!