Shrubs That the Honey Bees Love
In Honor of Pollinator Week, I am showcasing some shrubberies that you can plant to attract more bees to your gardens.
Some of your fruits and vegetables such as apples and watermelons require pollination in order to fruit. To ensure that the bees are available when the time comes, you should add some flowering shrubs or hedges.
I chose 15 favorites to list here but, feel free to do your research and choose your own varieties according to your own taste, region, and personal preference. Pollinators are important and we can help!
JUNE 19 – 25, 2017
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- Beauty Bush – “This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds. Flowers are fragrant” – Daves Garden
- Blue mist Bush – “This Late Summer Shrub is a Favorite of Bumblebees and Butterflies” – The Spruce
- Button Bush -“You’ll love the intensely rich nectar perfume, and so will the bees and butterflies” – Thompson and Morgan
- Black Chokeberry – “With a smaller, more pleasing form than its red-fruiting relative, the aesthetically pleasing Aronia melanocarpa is being heralded throughout the Midwest for its year-round interest. An extremely hardy deciduous shrub that will reach maturity in five years, the black chokeberry is a perfect choice for naturalizing. If left alone, the plants can form colonies that provide food and shelter for wildlife. Black chokeberry is adorned with larger leaves, fruits, and flowers, and ends the growing season with a more spectacular fall color than the red chokeberry.” – ChicagoBotanic.org
- Elderberry – “Blooms for 10 – 15 days. Honeybees love the pollen. The annual variety of elderberry, Sambucus ebulus, is also a good honeybee plant.” – Lincoln Land Beekeepers
- Heather – “Easy to grow in most regions, Heather is a hardy perennial that is one of the earliest blooming spring plants. We planted the heather near the gate because it has a clumping conformation, with thousands of small flowers which can occupy many bees at once. The nearby fruit trees start to bloom about two weeks after the Heather, so the newly resident bees naturally migrate towards the fruit tree blooms right on schedule.” EarthEasy.com
- Hebe – “Hebe shrubs are most suited for areas with cool summers and mild winters. They adapt to a variety of soil types but will perform best in loose, well-draining soil. They can be grown in both sun and shade, though full sun is preferable, as plants grown in shade may become leggy.” – Learn more about Hebe at Gardening Know How
- Honeysuckle – ” Honeybees crawl down far into the flower tube trying to reach the nectar; they also sometimes bite through the base of the flower searching for an easy route to the nectar.” – lemonbayconservancy.org
- Mock Orange – “is a very hardy shrub with a long lasting, citrus-fragrant, white blooms in the late spring to early summer.” – Garden.org
- Sumacs – Sometimes considered a Shrubbery or a Bush also sometimes gets called a tree. Whatever it is, the bees love it – “Smooth sumac is the only tree or shrub which can be found in each of America’s 48 contiguous states. This important bee plant is in bloom now. Its blooms will be followed shortly by winged sumac. Both can be found in stands along roadsides or along the undisturbed margins of woodlots. Sumac’s small, open clusters of flowers are completely exposed, making them accessible to a number of different insect species. I often find honey bees sharing the same clusters of sumac blossoms with solitary bees and soldier beetles. Sumac produces large amounts of both pollen and nectar.” – Peace Bee Farm
- Summersweet – “Summersweet is commonly used in the landscape as either specimen or group plantings in borders or near foundations. It’s also used as a naturalizing shrub. In addition, summersweet is great for attracting pollinators, like bees and hummingbirds, to the area.”– Gardening Know How
- Winter Heath – “We love winter heath (Erica carnea) for its early bloom and evergreen presence. Deer resistant.” – HortMag.com
- English Lavender – “The two main species of lavender sold in garden centres are Lavandula angustifolia and the hybrid Lavandula x intermedia. Within these species are many cultivars, for example, Lavandula angustifolia ‘Arctic Snow’ and Lavandula x intermedia ‘Edelweiss’. The cultivars are basically cultivated varieties of a species that have been selected and bred by horticulturalists to look a certain way.The study found that all cultivars of Lavandula x intermedia were more attractive to pollinating insects than the Lavandula angustifolia cultivars. In fact, the most attractive L. x intermedia cultivar (‘Gros Bleu’) was almost four times more attractive than the most attractive L. Angustifolia cultivars.” – Bumblebee Conservation Trust
- Phlox – “Phlox paniculata is a native American perennial containing the nectar that pollinators love so you can expect a steady parade of bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies to visit your plants all season long. Upright and very densely branched, this perennial has the impact of a small shrub. And the blooms are magnificent, with a sweet fragrance many of us associate with our earliest garden memories. Great as cut flowers, they are also charming in the sunny border. You just can’t go wrong with Phlox!” – Park Seed.com
- Viburnums – “It’s one of the first blooms in my area and the flowers get covered by bees. It’s an early warning that the season is getting ready to start.” – BeeMaster.com
See a table of shrubs that are awesome for honey bees at www.beeginnerbeekeeper.com – Best Shrubs for Pollen and Nectar