View Full Version : Hollies
05-25-2009, 10:03 AM
I am wanting to put in hollies, with my bees in mind. Can you guys recommend varieties that are best for bees? We have clay loam soils, 18 inches precip, and I will put these where I can supplemental water, if needed. I am in the Texas Panhandle and see bees using them at people's houses and businesses. Yes, I'll inquire about the varieties of those plants, too.
I am interested in best varieties for bees, their bloom timing, and duration. That way I can plant several varieties/species and try to extend the availability.
Would appreciate your experience.
05-25-2009, 09:51 PM
I live in town, and there are lots of hollies. As far as I can tell, bees like them all. The bloom a little too early to get a honey crop from them. However, they are a reliable nectar source early in the year.
I think your biggest concern would be the heat and drought. If you have to water the plants, I suspect that there will be a net loss as far as the cost/benefit to the bees.
I would focus on plants that are Chinese Hollys, which are more heat and drought tolerant. Here is some info on that:
I have a spot where I am going to remove and replace some shrubs. I'm thinking about vitex, but my wife wants and evergreen, so I may go with hollies. You should also consider vitex, which bloom when they could add to the honey crop and late when there might otherwise be a dearth.
05-26-2009, 04:35 AM
Thanks, Neil. I have two Vitex and there are at least four more in the neighborhood. I am new to bee keeping, so can't speak of its use by bees, but I bet they will be all over it.
05-26-2009, 07:36 PM
Jim, I bought a needlepoint holly a few weeks ago. It's in the "broadleaf evergreen" class, and the bees at the farmer's market were all over it when I bought it. I'll let you know how it holds up.
05-27-2009, 08:31 AM
Be careful about hollies in Texas. Like many other plants in our lovely state, they can become pests. It's often not a matter of getting something to grow, it's a matter of keeping it from taking over. Many of the holly varieties like to sucker.
Someone planted yaupon hollies in front of my house about 20 years ago. Then they cut them back. Several times. It took the best part of a day, and a backhoe to get them out. :pinch:
Personally, I think they are evil, and I wouldn't plant one for any amount of love or money.
I like the forestfarm dot com website for plant listings. Lots if info, pics, and you can search by honey friendly, butterfly, hummers, or bird and wildlife listings. They even list good Bonsai subjects. DH raises Bonsai for his hobby, so it's the best of all possible worlds for us. ;)