Annual Flowering Herbs for Pollinators Variety Trial

Published Dec 7, 2016

In a Nutshell

Two farmers planted strips of flowering herbs – anise hyssop, borage, and lemon basil – with cash crops on their farms. Pollinators in prairie strips were also observed. Farmers evaluated characteristics of the herbs and assessed pollinator use of the herbs by doing transect counts of pollinators during bloom.

Key Findings

Neither farm had successful direct seedings of anise hyssop (McGary had success with transplanting). • Borage filled out and flowered earliest though it became top-heavy, fell over, and had late-season weed management issues. Lemon basil (and anise hyssop, at McGary’s) had healthy, upright habits but required more early-season weeding at Hartmann’s. Small native bees had the most individuals counted among all pollinator groups observed on both farms. Hartmann’s lemon basil had the most pollinators; at McGary’s, borage had the highest average count.