Allotments do not have to be all about growing fruit and veg. Consider growing some flowers too. Flowers will make your allotment a great place to potter and relax, providing colour and scent and help pollinators.
Pollinators play a critical role in maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem health, making them essential for the success of our gardens and allotments.
In the United Kingdom, pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hoverflies help ensure the success of our fruit, vegetables, and flowering plants. When planning out your allotment, consider planting a diverse range of pollinator-friendly plants on your allotment; you can support these vital creatures while creating a visually stunning and productive space.
If you are looking to help the pollinator guys out, then plant some of these on your allotment. They can be planted within your main crops or around the edges of your allotment – try and utilize every space you have.
Lavender is a hardy, low-maintenance perennial that thrives in well-drained soil and full sun. Its fragrant purple flowers attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators throughout the summer months, making it an excellent addition to any allotment. It also smells fab!
Borage (Borago officinalis)
Borage is an annual herb with striking blue flowers that are irresistible to pollinators, especially bees. Borage can be easily grown from seed and prefers a sunny position in well-drained soil. It also has the added benefit of being an excellent companion plant for tomatoes and strawberries.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
Comfrey is a perennial herb that produces beautiful clusters of bell-shaped flowers in shades of purple, pink, or white. Bees and other pollinators love its nectar-rich blooms. Comfrey is easy to grow and thrives in both sun and partial shade, making it a versatile addition to your allotment.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Also known as pot marigold, calendula is an annual with vibrant orange or yellow flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. Calendula is easy to grow from seed and will bloom from early summer until frost if deadheaded regularly.
A wildflower meadow or patch in your allotment can provide a diverse habitat for a range of pollinators. Choose native wildflower species such as cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), and common knapweed (Centaurea nigra) to create a colourful and pollinator-friendly space.
You can sow wildflower seeds directly in the ground or purchase wildflower plug plants for easy planting.
Fruit and Vegetable Blossoms
Many of the fruit and vegetable plants you grow in your allotment can also provide a valuable food source for pollinators. For example, flowering plants like runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus), peas (Pisum sativum), and courgettes (Cucurbita pepo) all produce nectar-rich blooms that attract bees and other pollinators.
Herbs such as chives (Allium schoenoprasum), mint (Mentha spp.), and thyme (Thymus spp.) offer attractive, nectar-rich flowers that are loved by bees and butterflies. Growing a variety of herbs in your allotment not only provides a valuable food source for pollinators but also adds flavour and aroma to your culinary creations.
Plant & Pollinator Table
Flowering times and attracted pollinators:
|Plant||Flowering Period||Attracted Pollinators|
|Lavender (Lavandula)||June – August||Bees, Butterflies, Hoverflies|
|Borage (Borago officinalis)||June – September||Bees, Butterflies|
|Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)||May – September||Bees, Hoverflies|
|Calendula (Calendula officinalis)||June – October||Bees, Butterflies, Hoverflies|
|Wildflowers (e.g., cornflower, ox-eye daisy, common knapweed)||April – September (varies by species)||Bees, Butterflies, Hoverflies|
|Fruit and Vegetable Blossoms (e.g., runner beans, peas, courgettes)||May – September (varies by species)||Bees, Butterflies, Hoverflies|
|Herbs (e.g., chives, mint, thyme)||April – September (varies by species)||Bees, Butterflies|
By incorporating a diverse range of pollinator-friendly plants in your UK allotment, you can help support local pollinator populations while also enjoying the beauty and productivity these plants bring. From fragrant lavender to vibrant calendula, these plants will turn your allotment into a pollinator paradise, ensuring a healthy and productive growing space for years to come.
Brian Sheridan has an allotment in Edgbaston and is a competitive grower. Brian is also a keen photographer and loves cooking. Brian and his wife Mary will also be running a stall at Edgebaston artisan market this year, selling products made from the allotment, including his award-winning relish!