bees

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HONEYBEE PLANT LIST FOR NORTHEAST

The choices we make in our plantings can support the wellbeing of bees and other beneficial insects + birds  that keep our world a healthy, vibrant place. In the northeast we can plan our gardens, container or in ground beds or wildflower swaths, to provide pollen and nectar sources over the entire growing year.

Bees are attracted to flowers that are colorful, contrast well with their background, or have an ultraviolet coloration that serves as a ‘nectar guide’. This is especially true of red flowers, which bees don’t see unless they contain some ultraviolet light pattern. Purple and blue are bees favorite, followed by yellow and orange. At Artefact we use a good deal of perennial plants in our clients’ containers – as many annuals have been highly bred and as a result, have a lack of pollen.

The list is not comprehensive – but it’s a good start!

 

TREES AND SHRUBS 

Late Winter – Early Spring

Acer Maple
Winterhazel (Corylopsis spicata)
Witchhazel
Hazel Alder (Alnus serrulata, Alnus rugosa)
Salix – Willows (choose willows with the biggest catkins)
Poplar
Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ and ‘Charles Lamont’
Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) – Chaenomeles japonica ‘Cameo’
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Spring

Flowering fruit trees and berry bushes (many are low on nectar and protein pollen, so plan/allow for diversity in forage)

Early – Mid Summer

Basswood – Linden
Black Locust
European Chestnut
Yellow or Tulip Poplar
Catalpa (Indian Bean Tree)
Densa Inkberry, Ilex glabra ‘Densa’ (plant instead of Boxwood for evergreen shrub)
Enkianthus campanulatus – Nichols
Sweet pepperbush (Clethra spp.)
Sumac
Sourwood Tree (Oxydendrum arboreum) Only to zone 5
Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) Only to zone 5
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Late Summer

Beebee Tree, Korean Evodia (Tetradium glabrifolium)
Japanese Pagoda Tree

PERENNIALS AND ANNUALS

Late Winter – Early Spring

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Hellebore
Crocus
Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa)

Spring

Leopard’s Bane (Doronicum)
Ajugas
Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum)
Bleeding Heart
Dandelions
Basket-of-Gold (Aurinia saxatilis)
Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale)
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Early – Mid Summer

Mountain Bluet (Centaurea montana)
Thymes
Sage and Salvias
Chives
Catnip (Nepeta)
Lavender
Cosmos
White Clover
Globe Thistle
Scented Geranium
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Late Summer

Milkweed
Joe-Pye Weed
Coneflower (Echinecea)
Sunflower (choose heirloom varieties, not fancy pollen-less varieties)
Purple Loosestrife
Flowering Herbs, including oregano and rosemary – (hold basil for autumn bloom.)
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) – (choose the columnar types not those with deep throats – “Giant Hyssop”)
Borage (draws honeybees into vegetable garden)
Boltonia asteroids
Mints
Perovskia (Russian Sage)
Golden Rod
Garlic Chives
Blue Mist Spirea

Autumn

Asters (October Glory or Octendgloren are very late blooming)
Sedums (Autumn Joy is wonderful)
Dendranthemum (Hardy Chrysanthemum “Sheffield”)
Sweet Autumn Clematis – vine
Autumn blooming Crocus (simple variety)

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Almost anytime
Buckwheat (grows fast, good to enrich soil as green manure. Turn under just after flowering– fragile with frost)
Heathers and Heaths (There are winter blooming varieties, as well as thru the normal season)
Densa Inkberry, Ilex glabra ‘Densa’ (Please considering planting these evergreen bushes instead of boxwood)

Compiled by Grai St. Clair Rice, HoneybeeLives.org