How to Make a Windowsill Bee Garden

By Bethany Ivie

October 3, 2019

Last Updated: March 27, 2020

Purple chive blooms against a yellow background.
Chive blossoms are easy to grow, and bees love them!

Think that you can’t help save the bees because you don’t have access to a lawn? Think again!

You can create a small haven for your local bees and spruce up the view from your window with just a few plants!

Here’s what you need:

  • Teracotta pots or a window box
  • A small bag of potting soil
  • Several bee-friendly plants of your choice (I used lavender, thyme and rosemary)
  • One or two small, flat containers
  • 1 sheet, tarp or trashbag for your work surface

Here's how you do it:

Rosemary requires moderate light exposure and water, making it ideal for sunny windowsill life.
  1. Gently remove your first plant from its plastic or cardboard container, leaving the roots intact. 
  2. Place the plant in a pot (or window box) of your choice and fill in the sides and top with soil so that all of the roots are covered and the plant is stable. Pack the soil lightly. 
  3. Place your potted plant on the windowsill, water lightly and allow to drain. 
  4. Lather, rinse and repeat (just kidding on the lather thing, but you get it) until all of your chosen flowers, herbs or bonzai trees have been planted, watered and arranged. 
  5. Place one or two small, shallow containers of water near your flowers so that the bees have a place to re-hydrate. (Pollinating's thirsty work and bees need a ready supply of clean water in order to function.)
  6. Brew a pot of coffee (a plant which is pollinated by bees ... FYI), sit by your new garden window and ponder on the wondrous ease with which you have just helped the environment. 

I found all of my materials at Home Depot for about $30. But if you want to add some local color to your bee-garden try shopping at your closest farmers market for flowers and herbs from organic growers. 

A smiling Guatemalan woman in a bee suit poses with her beehivevs.
Donations of bees go to small-scale farmers like Estela Botzoc Tiul, photographed here gathering honey from her bee hives in Jolomijixito III village in Guatemala.

You know that bees are important. They are essential pollinators of the world's leading crops. But did you realize that bee-keeping can help small-scale farmers suffering from hunger and poverty by increasing their crop yields and providing additional income from honey sales?  Consider giving the gift of bees to a family - break the cycle of poverty and to keep the world's pollinators around for future generations.