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46 Flowers and Trees That Love Honeybees

Posted by: National Garden Club on

Most people can’t tell the difference between a bee and a yellow jacket. So here’s the short course: Yellow jackets ruin barbecues. Bees pollinate, and some make honey. So if you want more flowers and a bountiful crop of fruits and vegetables, you want bees. It’s that simple. “People really don’t understand the role honeybees play in the garden,” says Sam Hutchinson, past president of the Oregon State Beekeepers Association. “But they account for 80% of all plant pollination. When they’re not out there working, plant life suffers to the point where fruit doesn’t bear.” He tells the story of moving to Molalla some years ago (before he got involved with honey bees) and wondering why his 25-foot apple tree wasn’t bearing any fruit. “No one knew why until someone figured it out. Verola mites had wiped out the local honeybee population, so there was no pollinating going on. Once honey bees were reintroduced to the area, the fruit came back.” A number of plants attract honey bees. Helga Moll, a Beekeeper Association member, has a list a mile long (you can see some of her recommendations below). But she summarizes it this way: “Think in terms of plant types and seasons. Trees pull in the most bees, and the pussy willow is an early spring bloomer, so it’s an ideal plant to get the bee activity off to a great start.” Beyond the simple joy of having honey bees around your garden, you can also raise them yourself and enjoy the honey. According to Hutchinson, it’s not as hard as you might think. “Most of our members have two or three hives, not hundreds,” he notes. “You need to know if it’s OK to do in your neighborhood and you need to know where to place a hive. I recommend you put it next to a board fence in your backyard as honey bees always fly up, not out.” Another little known fact about bees: they need water in the summer to cool the hive. Here are Helga Moll’s short list of 46 plants and trees you can grow to attract honeybees:   Flowers That Love Honey Bees:
  • Moonbeam coreopsis
  • Speedwell
  • Euphorbia
  • Phlox
  • Columbine (all varieties)
  • Japanese anemone
  • Lenten rose
  • Bee balm
  • Crocus
  • Asters
  • Echinacea
  • Milkweed
  • Goldenrod
  • Trees:
  • Pussy willow
Trees That Love Honeybees
  • Fruit trees (all varieties)
  • Flowering crabapple
  • Linden
  • Maple
  • Poplar
  • American Holly
  • Choke Cherry
  • Shrubs:
  • Burning bush
  • Butterfly bush
  • Daphne
  • Deutzia
  • Escallonia
  • Viburnum (all varieties)
  • Honeysuckle
  • Highbush Blueberry
  • Barberry
  • Potentilla
  • Elderberry
  • Buckthorn
  • Edibles:
  • Squash
  • Thyme
  • Melon
  • Chive
  • Grape
  • Sunflower
  • Raspberry
  • Gooseberry
  • Strawberry