Your favorite bee plants

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by efmesch, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Ready or not, the active bee season will soon be upon us. Most beeks have a favorite flowering plant they look forward to seeing and pray for an extended appearance on the scene. Different regions have diferent species and they flower at different times for different lengths of time.
    What's your favorite bee plant and why?
     
  2. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Right now I don't know. However, I am anxious to find out this year! :D
     

  3. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I'm assuming you mean garden plants, not crops.

    Anise hyssop. It's hardy, self-seeds, very tall and full, lovely flowers, fragrant, all kinds of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds love it.
    Also catmint- (not catnip) for all the same reasons except that it grows in low full mounds rather than tall. Fills in bare areas nicely and is very pretty.
    Russian sage is gorgeous and the bees love it too. It too is fragrant, a medium height and airy growth, with pretty pale grey leaves.
    These three plants are real workhorses- they bloom and bloom, never seem to suffer any diseases, and they don't ask for much in return.
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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  6. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    That's the state tree here in TN. There used to be the "great poplar" in the Smokies. It took 17 men with arms outstretched to go around it. I remember seeing it as a boy years ago. Lightning killed it. :( But according to Wikipedia, there's still a large population of poplars in the Smokies. Lots around my house, too. I am anxious to see how the bees like all the flowering trees around here. :)

    PS: The state flower is the Iris. I don't know if bees like them, but I'll find out about that, too! :)
     
  7. kebee

    kebee Active Member

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    So that what they called, boy do I have them here, I see the base part of the plant growing but not the flower, or they good for the bees to gether for food, if so than they grow here all spring and summer.

    Kebee
     
  8. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Ya know, I thought that was a weed. Then while on a trip to NYC, I found some in a salad I was eating. Ya know, I still think it's a weed! Yuck.
     
  9. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Everything that blooms. I don't know if bees like iris either - I have hundreds, but I have never noticed whether the bees visit them. My oregano when it blooms in summer is quite popular. My chinaberry tree when it blooms is wonderful. Echinacea, galliardia, the wildflowers I plant are popular. But I think that the common dandelion has the longest bloom season. The bees taught me to stop digging them up, lol.

    Gypsi
     
  10. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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  11. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    My heart has a warm spot for the Brassicaceae (=Cruciferae) weeds in general, particularly wild mustard (Synapis arvensis). Untended grounds, roadsides and fields fill up with a carpet of their yellow flowers starting around in December and they last a long time. I've never tasted honey from these flowers but they are terriffic for their contribution to the hive's early build up. Other wild Brassicaceae appear throughout the spring and summer, keeping the bees busy when the big donors (primarily citrus) dry up.
    It's funny--I never though about it before but I rarely see Dandelions here. I guess it's too dry for them to thrive.
     
  12. jb63

    jb63 New Member

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    I'll choose blackberry and borrage.Good topic Ef.
     
  13. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Not sure its a bee flower but I like to see Winter Aconite (Eranthis) flowering in my apiary. For me, its golden yellow flower is a sign that Winter could be on the way out and a new year is starting.
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    wa-he-a.... actually spelled guajillo or huajilla.. is an acacia plant unique to the south eastern US. consider a 'brush country' plant it is increasingly difficult to locate patches of significant size due to development and pasture clearing practices. it bloom very early in the spring with a very pretty orange flower. the nectar is quite light but crystalized quickly.
     
  15. Indiana Dave

    Indiana Dave New Member

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    The black locust is thick around here and the bees love it, so that'll be my choice. Love the BL bloom.
     
  16. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    We've got an Acacia in my neighborhood that produces tons of pollen but I doubt if it gives much, if any nectar. Acacia saligna. It flowers profusely in April and May, giving the trees a complete yellow covering. I think it is responsible for the successful establishment of new swarms that come out about the same time.
     
  17. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    In spring, I love to see crocus, because it is the first thing up here (waaay before dandelion) that gives the bees sustenance. In summer, it's catnip. In the dry late summer, my broccoli gone to flower. In fall, purple asters and ironweed.

    There is a special place in my heart for skunk cabbage, though. It comes up through the snow, and generated its own heat, so bees can sit inside and warm up before flying back home.
     
  18. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    wow....good topic Em....my bees seem to do real well on the maples in late winter (jan/feb) bottle brush is open right now to an if your in an urban area its good...im not so it doesnt play a big roll for my bees...citrus comes in march an i love the honey...im located near a few small groves....when i get more hives i'll take em to a big grove...for now its not a big harvest tho ....cabbage palm comes in august....i think thats my favorite so far....alot of people dont like it i guess but i do...an sometimes it has a hint of mint flavor to it an i get a good amount.
     
  19. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Im right there with you on that one. Love them trees planted them 3 different times in the yard. Everyone of them died. but the neighbors got one so the bees still get the fun of working it. The upside is the neighbor has to rake the leafs and I dont :D
     
  20. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Veronica!!! Oh how I love Veronica... the plant... don't tell my wife. lol. Why do I love it so much? Simple, it blooms straight through the heat of summer and blooms for 3-4 months straight... the bees love it. It's hearty and perrenial so buy it once and it'll be there so long you'll forget how long it's been there. I think it's also called speedwell, but this is my favorite variety:

    http://www.gorgetopgardens.com/perennia ... rblue.html

    I also like dandelions because they give the bees their first real dose of natural pollen to stimulate hive growth at an explosive rate in the spring... but if I'm planting something in a planter or something, it's got to be Veronica.