Are you wondering what type of plant is best for beekeeping? If YES, here are 10 best plants for beekeeping and honey production in 2023. When you are beekeeping, you are looking to extract honey from the hive. Therefore, one of the most efficient things you are expected to do is to help your bees by planting bee-friendly plants.
Note that these plants can help the bees produce more honey, which you can then extract and jar. Some of them can even affect the taste of the honey, but remember that bees look for flowers that produce a lot of nectar and pollen.
Since they need both pollen and nectar, you will want a variety of plants. There are plants that give a lot of pollen and there are some that give nectar, others give both. Bees are known to preferably load up on one type of pollen or nectar per foraging outing. It simply means that if you have similar plants bundled together, it makes foraging more structured for the bees.
Have it in mind that the bundles of plants need to be about three-feet wide and there can also be repeating. For example, you can choose to alternate a bundle of purple coneflowers and a bundle of black-eyed Susans down a driveway. The plants should bloom at different times of the year as well. This will guarantee a steady supply of pollen and nectar throughout the year.
Even though bees are renowned for having some of the best eyesight in the animal kingdom, they can’t see everything. For example, bees are known not to see red. Although they can see some red waves in orange and yellow, but they just can’t see red. However, they can see green, blue, violet, and UV the best.
Also note that the shape of the flowers is very important. Bees are known to like flowers that have a single layer of petals, called a single petal flower. A good number of ornamental flowers have been bred to look beautiful with multiple layers of petals, called double petal flowers. The bees also prefer a shallow flower with a landing pad.
You should consider using native plants as much as possible, mainly because there are quite easier to grow and the local pollinator population will like them. Note that some of the earliest flowering plants are weeds such as dandelions. These plants are very important for bees that have just spent a long winter inside their hive.
Note that a nice place to get started is by checking the various bee friendly plants that grow within your specified climate. It is also necessary to ascertain the timing of the plants’ flowering as well. Nonetheless, here are the best types of plants for beekeeping.
What is the Best Type of Plant for Beekeeping in 2023?
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First you have to understand that bees are attracted to bright yellows and oranges, so sunflowers are a perfect plant to start with, and they not only help your honey bees, but they also look great in any garden. Also note that sunflowers attract certain bird species as a bonus. Consider planting these blooming flowers in the summer to attract your honey bees. The nectar from sunflowers will produce a light, yellow-white honey.
Chives are wonderful plants for any garden targeting pollinators including the honeybee. This plant is easy to recognise with its delicious onion taste leaves and they produce a globe-shaped cluster of flowers that are pink coloured. Note that this plant is commonly used by organic farmers to repel aphids and draw pollinators as well as predatory insects. They are known to thrive well in containers and also raised beds. It is easy to grow and highly versatile.
Honey bees tend to harvest these bright yellow plants for their nectar. Goldenrod flourish mainly in July through September, making it ideal for bees that are starting to get ready for winter. Goldenrod honey is dark with a strong bite and also renowned to be full of minerals and protein. This plant is highly coveted, so planting it will not only be good for your bees, but also your pocket.
Buckwheat is an annual plant that is used widely and quite very easy to grow. Note that its flowers are rich in nectar and bees enjoy them. They are known to grow very fast and are notably used as a cover crop, helping kill weeds and generates organic matter that boost the soil.
The nectar more or less results in dark honey that is rich in flavour. The plant is cut and ploughed back into the soil after flowering so as to enrich the fertility and texture of the soil. The buckwheat can grow to up to 75cm within a period of 6 months.
Mint remains one of the best herbs you can plant for your honey bees. Note that mint plants are very attractive to bees as they harvest them for nectar and pollen. Mint honey is well recognised due to its reddish amber colour. Aside the fact they are great for the increased honey production, you can use it as an herb yourself. However, ensure to grow it in a container so it doesn’t take over your entire garden.
This is also called Bee Balm & Monarda. However, note that you can plant wild bergamot or lemon bergamot in your garden since they attract and help bees. They more or less bloom towards the end of summer, a time when most bee-friendly plants must have withered.
Bergamot is known to attract honey bees as well as other pollinators such as hummingbirds and butterflies. This is a perennial plant that tends to produce a lot of seeds and is self-sowing. You can plant it in flower borders or raised beds, but have it in mind that a wild bergamot will grow to 90 cm and is the tallest of the plants.
Lavender plants are much-buzzed about when it comes to honey bees—maybe because of their long bloom time and the fact that they’re rich in nectar. Honey bees are attracted to the colour purple, so lavender is another great option. In addition, the flowering plant emits a wonderful smell that you can enjoy. Bees harvest lavender for nectar and pollen in June and July and they are known to have mite-ridding qualities.
Note that this perennial plant is an excellent attractant of butterflies and the honey bee. It also attracts hummingbirds and bumblebees. Milkweeds are renowned for producing a good amount of nectar. In addition, they are quite easy to plant during spring and require pre-planting of the seeds indoors before being transferred to the garden. The plant can grow to a maximum height of 70cm.
Coneflowers come in various colours, from pink to bright purple. Different species of coneflowers bloom at different times, giving your bees plenty of options for a great feast. It is a perennial plant that appeals to the honeybee. It also attracts beneficial pollinators such as hoverflies, butterflies, and other insect predators. The plant can grow to a maximum height of 90cm and is perfect for cottage gardens. It is particularly at its best after its third year.
The snapdragon is a unique flower, in scent, shape, and colour. Bumblebees are known to be active during the day, and this is the time when snapdragons release most of their scent. Its yellow and blue colour is easily seen by bees and hence the reason it draws bees. The flower is bell-shaped making it so much easy for bees to get the nectar and pollen.
Bees are known to be quite picky when it comes to flowers. They love berries, wild flowers, flowering vegetables, fruits, and flowering herbs. Different regions within the USA and beyond favour a number of bee friendly plants. With a little planning and research, you will be able to help the bees in your area not just survive but thrive.