What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?
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  1. #1

    Default What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    We have a farm near Montgomery AL where we grow blueberries, blackberries and muscadine as well as a variety of plum, peach and Asian persimmon trees. We have also planted a variety of red maples, tulip poplars, crab apple and magnolia trees and have massive amounts of white clover flowering all over the area during the spring.

    For the last couple of years we've been working to develop a bee garden that contains a variety of flowering plants bees love to visit in our hot summer months and mild winters down here in central Alabama in our zone 8a growing area.

    The 140' X 30' irrigated patch we're working in right now includes 16 camellia bushes, 6 eastern redbuds, 9 buford holly bushes and 3 serviceberry trees for winter flowering sources and 4 sourwood trees, 17 chaste trees and 5 clethra bushes for summer flowering sources.

    However, we've run out of ideas and are looking for suggestions for some other varieties of summer flowering bushes we can plant here in central Alabama that will bloom profusely in the July and August time frame giving our honey bees something else to feast on. We thought about planting some clematis vines to grow on the 140' lattice fence we built to give the camellia bushes some afternoon shade, but read the ladies really don't care for them all that much. It would be great if we could find a summer flowering vine that would cover the fence, like clematis, but have tons of nectar-loaded flowers that bloom in July and August they couldn't resist.

    Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.
    Started beekeeping in 2013 and having a blast with my 12 small cell hives!!

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?


    We experience a dearth as well. Curious if there is anything.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    How do your bees like the camellias?

  5. #4

    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    We just got finished planting them, but with the few blooms they had, the ladies definitely showed some interest. The reason we planted them was because we heard from a variety of sources the bees liked visiting them in January when there really isn't a lot blooming.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    Crepe Myrtle, Vitex, Seven Son Flower Tree, Maackia, Hercules club, Japanese Pagoda Tree, Shiny sumac, & Evodia

    garden plants for honey bees.jpg This book has been very good at helping me decide what to plant, although you may find some things hardy in your area that are not in this book as it was written for plants in Delaware.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    French Lavender (also called Spanish, or Italian lavender), grows well even when it's dry. We have 3 types of lavender and the bees only horde this cultivar from daylight till dark while in /Spring/summer bloom.

    Here is a link to show the flower on this type
    https://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/lavstochas.htm

  8. #7
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    try asters - my wife tells me they are a late bloomer that bees love

  9. #8
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    salvia, russian sage, mints, oregano and as stated above lavender.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    salvia, russian sage, mints, oregano and as stated above lavender.
    This is definitely a good summer list. I don't see a lot of activity on asters until these are in decline. But that's my neighborhood.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    Hyssop. We had some this year that started bloom in late May and finally stopped blooming early October. Bees were all over it July-August.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Western View Post
    French Lavender (also called Spanish, or Italian lavender), grows well even when it's dry. We have 3 types of lavender and the bees only horde this cultivar from daylight till dark while in /Spring/summer bloom.

    Here is a link to show the flower on this type
    https://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/lavstochas.htm
    My wife loves lavender, but I want to get the right one (for the bees, of course). Which one are you proposing?
    From your link:
    L. stochas ---- Spanish Lavender is often referred to in older publications as French Lavender (which, today, is how we refer to L. dentata).
    Last edited by texanbelchers; 02-02-2017 at 01:31 PM. Reason: Fix HTML

  13. #12
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by barberberryfarm View Post
    It would be great if we could find a summer flowering vine that would cover the fence, like clematis, but have tons of nectar-loaded flowers that bloom in July and August they couldn't resist.
    Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.
    I have not had very good luck with summer-fall flowering vines either. Maybe some nice looking annuals in the gourd family (cucurbits)? At least I know honey bees love cucumber and zucchini.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    russian sage
    I'd like to have a couple acres of Russian sage. My bees are all over it during our dearth.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  15. #14
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    If mountain mint grows in your area, it is a bee magnet, flowers until frost, and also spreads slowly (although not invasively). smells really nice too.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlestonbee View Post
    How do your bees like the camellias?
    Mine use them nearly exclusively in January.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    My wife has a little jungle of zinias and a red flower she calls Texas sage. Both are popular with the bees in the late summer.

  18. #17

    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    Thank you everyone for your thoughts. I went to a nearby retail nursery today that specializes in a wide variety of flowering plants and trees. I asked them what their recommendations were for some great flowering plants that bloom in central Alabama in July and August. Here are some of their suggestions which I wound up buying to go along with the plants I mentioned at the beginning of this thread - Jerusalem sage, Abelia, blue giant hyssop and Joe Pie weed for shrubs and dortmund rose and coral honeysuckle for climbers on the lattice fence which will each cover around a 20 feet spread. In all cases these plants are supposed to each produce tons of blooms. That is, of course, if I provide adequate water, fertilizer and sunshine for them to flourish.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    I don't know much about the coral honeysuckle that the bees will like them or not. The
    red, blue, green, yellow, white and purple passiflowers they will. You will see beautiful flowers
    that the bees like on trellis all summer long. The mature fruits you can make refreshment out of them.
    I would like to add catmint too. Sweet annie the bees will be all over them. Don't forget about the
    golden rods too both the July and Oct. blooming type. Choose the variety that grows in your area. So Bee bee tree already
    mentioned. Good list so far!
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  20. #19
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    Crepe Myrtle

  21. #20
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    Default Re: What flowering plants do honey bees love to visit in the South during the Summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by texanbelchers View Post
    My wife loves lavender, but I want to get the right one (for the bees, of course). Which one are you proposing?
    From your link:
    The plant pictured is the one, "Lavandula stoechas" is the tech name. Easy to ID because of the shape of the "flower". Here is another google search with more info on this particular one..
    http://everything-lavender.com/spanish-lavender.html

    BTW, very easy to propagate with cuttings in the Spring as well, so one plant could turn into how ever many you want.

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