How to make a nectar-rich container display

Do it:

Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug

Takes just:

20 minutes

You can create a wildlife corner in even the smallest garden, and it doesn't have to be a patch of unmown grass or a scrambling scrub thicket. A single, large container will suffice, containing plants to attract bees, butterflies, hoverflies and other insects. The display will provide shelter for insects to roost or hibernate, food plants for various caterpillars, and sources of nectar for pollinating insects.

We created a scheme of nectar-rich nepeta, lavenders, geranium, polemonium, salvia and achillea to support a range of pollinating insects. To make the pot absolutely irresistible we added two 'bee hotels' to provide nesting opportunities for solitary bees.

You will need

  • A large container
  • Empty yogurt pots, polystyrene packaging or crocks for drainage
  • Peat-free, multi-purpose compost
  • Bee hotels


Sit the pot in position, then place a layer of yogurt pots or crocks to aid drainage. Part-fill with compost.

Add the plants, placing the taller ones at the back and the lower growing species at the front. Top up with compost and water well.

To make the two bee hotels, drill several deep, 5-8mm wide holes into a 15-20cm long log, and fill an offcut of drainpipe with lengths of bamboo. Place among the plants.


Kate Bradbury

Kate Bradbury says

Cat-nip (nepeta) not only provides nectar and pollen for insects, it’s also used as a caterpillar food plant for the mint moth, Pyrausta aurata. This pretty moth will do no harm to the nepeta – look out for it resting on the leaves of plants during the day.

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