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  1. #101
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Aurora, Colorado
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    Well, I've been meaning to do this for awhile...I'm changing my vote from broccoli to borage. After I posted my vote on broccoli the next post was borage, so I said okay, I'll see If they have borage seed at the local nursery. Indeed they did, 25 seeds for about $2.00. I say man, these are pretty expensive seed. Anyway, I plant them in pots under lights in march, and get 22 plants. I gave a couple to a friend, and the rest I put in my yard in different places. By the end of the year, the plants I put out had already reseeded and new plants were coming up. A single plant doesn't have too many blossoms blooming at once, so its best to plant a patch. The bees indeed do love this plant. They were the last plant the bees would leave even as the sun was setting. Those plants that had come up from the seed at the end of the summer amazingly survived the winter with sub zero temperatures ( they were under snow that year) and were the first thing to bloom in the spring, about the same time as my pie cherry tree blooming, which the bees also love.. The plant seems to have two stages. When it first grows, it stays close to the ground, no blooms, but quite hardy, able to resist some pretty cold temperatures in this stage. Next it shoots up a primary stem kind of like a hollyhock that the blooms form on. It's pretty flimsy and falls over easily so it helps to stake it. I found that putting a sheet of concrete reinforcement wire horizontally about 18 inches to 2 feet above them which they can grow up and through works well as a support, especially for a patch of about 5 x 8 feet. This one patch I had from only 10 of the plants from the first year, produced around a 100 plants the next spring. When this patch was in full bloom, I'd estimate there was easily over a 100 bees on it. Unfortunately I hadn't put the wire on it at that time and on a windy day it all fell over from the center out. That pretty much finished it off, so I rototilled it under and replanted (late July) putting the wire on top this time and it was just beginning to flower when I got a 20 degree night in October that killed the flowering plants. The plants in the first stage are still alive. Its now December and most everything is dead except for the 1st stage borage and my broccoli. The broccoli managed to survive a 13 degree night up close to the house a month ago and was still blooming with a couple of bees visiting. Its been unusually warm this winter, in Aurora Colorado, no moisture hardly at all. I'm not expecting to make it through tonight with the expected lows around 5 degrees. It snowed last night but not enough to cover and protect the plants. I'm curious to see if the borage can survive the near zero temperatures without a snow blanket. But, if it doesn't, I have a plenty of seed to plant this spring. Oh, one other thing, when the borage starts blooming, it doesn't stop until it's dead, so it has a long bloom life. My broccoli's pretty good, it can bloom for a month, but once it starts making seed, it's pretty much done. The cat mint I have, the bees really like, but it's blooms only last few weeks, but can be extended by cutting off the seed pods. I have Golden rod too, but the bees here don't seem too interested in it. I think it's because it attracts all kinds of mason bees in huge numbers. HollyHocks, so so, crimson clover, the bumble bees like it, honey bees once in awhile. That's what I have in my garden.

  2. #102
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Bucksport, Maine
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    Great post Mikescomic,
    I have had pretty much the same experience with Borage and it is now on my “gotta plant it” list. Got so excited I just did a blog post on it.
    I actually found out about right here and the credit for me planting it goes to…. Drum roll please
    Omie - With her great blog and photos; she made a believer out of me.
    I highly recommend borage to everyone to plant for the bees.
    Dave - PM me if you are interested in natural beekeeping in Hancock County Maine.
    http://www.davesbees.com

  3. #103
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    Echium vulgare your welcome guys

  4. #104
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Shelbyville,Indiana,USA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    I have a 4 acre plot where my hives are that is barren, minus thistle and grass that grows. Sprayed last fall to kill off the thistle. I am planting a large variety of wild flowers for the hives. Goldenrod and native aster was spread over one acre last fall late. Have a couple pounds of wildflower bee mix, cone flower, cosmos, bee balm, catmint, anise hysopp, black eyed susans, vipers bugloss, milkweed, borage, lacy phacilia, 8 oz english lavender, and ladino clover. All are atleast in the 1/2 pound each, most are one pound. gonna just mix well and drill. Lavender will be started in the greenhouse then set with the tobacco setter. Just gonna let the ground go fallow after planting.

  5. #105
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    Last year I planted a variety of wildflowers for the bees, but the one that caught their attraction the most was the Rocky Mountain Bee Plant...I had never heard of it before, but it grew to about 6 ft tall and had incredible flowers and the bees would not leave it alone. Google it for images...really nice! I don't know about the nectar/pollen amounts or ratios, but I have never seen that bees go after anything so much! I also have fruit trees, salvias, bee balm, russian sage, lavender, raspberries, blackberries, flax, etc... no comparison! It also seeds heavily, so I gathered a ton of them last year and am planting it everywhere this year.

  6. #106
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Shelbyville,Indiana,USA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    It looks like a cleome species. "This is Wild Cleome discovered by Lewis & Clark great for meadows. To 5 ft. for mid to late bloom. Annual." quote from everwilde co.

  7. #107
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    Yes, very much like a cleome, but much larger than any cleome I've seen before. Thanks for the info.

  8. #108
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Shelbyville,Indiana,USA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    available on amazon in seed form

  9. #109
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    I've had a single plant with over 30,000 honey bees visiting an hour - By far my bees prefer our honey plant when we are extracting and the exhaust fan isn't on -

    Next after that has to be basswood in July. Not much else blooming and they hammer those trees. Good quality nectar - great honey

  10. #110
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,762

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    One that I see getting hammered is "Autumn Joy" Sedum.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -H.S. Thompson

  11. #111
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    R Dewhurst, I know the thistle doesn't look all that great when it takes over, but the thistle I have in my area, I think it is Canadian thistle, is an excellent honey plant and provides lots of nectar after the clovers are about done. John

  12. #112
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Shelbyville,Indiana,USA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    R Dewhurst, I know the thistle doesn't look all that great when it takes over, but the thistle I have in my area, I think it is Canadian thistle, is an excellent honey plant and provides lots of nectar after the clovers are about done. John
    I do allow the globe thistle to grow, but this thistle is short and very invasive. not much of a flower to it. I did save some of the globe thistle seeds to plant though.

  13. #113
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Islamabad, Pakistan
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    i think bees like milkweed most. I have judge that they mostly like to sit in this flower. Honey bees sit many tyoes of flower to drink necter for making honey.

  14. #114
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Troutville, VA, USA
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    Yellow Crownbeard, a nasty weed here in Virginia, is teeming with bees in the late summer/early fall. I think most of my winter stores came from this weed. Funny to think that a couple of years ago, I waged war with herbicides against this plant. I won some battles, but yellow crownbeard won the war!

  15. #115
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Upper Kingsclear, NB, Canada
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    Interesting thread....I tried some different bee plantings last summer, one that was very successful was coriander...I have never seen the bees so frenetic as when they were working it, kind of like they had just drunk Red Bull. It's easy to grow and self seeds a lot in year 2. Sunflowers were very good as they filled a gap here in September, but lots of bumble competition. Borage is great and I got some bulk seed for this year. You can jazz up your salads with the flowers too. This year I am planning bulk sowings of buckwheat, sweet clover and alfalfa - and a lot more coriander from jars from seed I saved from 2012.

    Rob

  16. #116
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Clintwood VA USA
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    For bulk Borage go to seed savers exchange

  17. #117
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Rose City, MI
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    Caution: Borage will spread very quickly, and gets large and unwieldy if not cut back. Usually someone with a plant will be willing to collect seed or send seedlings along to you. -Sarah

  18. #118
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    Garlic chives. It may not be their favorite but it does get throngs of them. I plant it everywhere because it blooms in our hot, humid summers when hardly anything else is. And it may not make great honey...but supers can be pulled beforehand.

  19. #119
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Oxford, Maine
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    I don't see Buckwheat mentioned much here.
    Planted some last year for cover crop on old garden areas and the bees were thick in
    it for weeks. The buzz coming from the buckwheat was amazing.

  20. #120
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Bees favorite plant

    Yeah, buckwheat is great cuz it goes to bloom so quickly from seed. I read it doesn't do well with clover. May have to choose one or the other??

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