plant list

SUBURBANIZATION, AN OVERABUNDANCE OF MOWED LAWNS, MULCH, AND CLEARING OF NATURAL MEADOWS AND ROADSIDE WILDFLOWERS HAS SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES FOR BEES.

DO PLANT FLOWERS, BUT LET THE DANDELIONS, GOLDENROD, CLOVER AND WILD PLANTS FLOURISH WHERE THEY WILL.

Plants for Honeybees

What Do Honeybees Like?
This following introduction is taken from Melissa Gardens, but the plant list below is for Rockland County.

Which Botanicals Best Nourish Honeybees?
An original question was: Which botanicals best nourish honeybees? If, for example, thyme is a strong anti-microbial – and thyme honey clearly has these properties, would thyme be an important plant for honeybee health? And, if thymes, what if we were to expand beyond culinary thymes and include species thymes of the Mediterranean? We learned that honeybees favor pollen from heirloom roses, especially the rugosas. We consulted with authorities, Kate with Dr. Gordon Frankie at U.C. Berkeley whom she has worked with on pollinator gardens, and Priscilla with Dr. Vetaley Stashenko, an apiculturist, naturopath and apitherapist, formerly of the Ukraine and now living in the U.S.

Quantity of Nectar and Quality of Pollen
Quantity of nectar and quality of pollen, timed throughout the year to support the seasonal needs of the hive, are the key guidelines in plant selection. Having good sources of propolis nearby are as important, ensuring the hive can provide for its hygiene and health. Dr. Stashenko noted five top plants to support the honeybees with nectar and pollen throughout the season: phacelia, borage, echium, melissa and goldenrod, and he also suggested a more extensive foundation list for ornamental gardens.

Click here for Dr. Stashenko’s list of honeybee plants.

Above all, we learned that there are no absolutes. Terroir is an important concept in regard to honeybee forage. The locale is captured in the nectar and honey, and in the pollen. Plants express themselves totally based on where they are planted, the fertility of the ground, and the gardening methods used. Honeybees, from the human perspective, are mercurial. While they might go for pollen from crocuses in one garden in the early spring, they may completely ignore them in another garden if they find botanicals they like better. They are always attuned to finding the best pollen and nectar sources available. The question on relative nourishment from different botanicals remains, and we invite input.

Plant List for Rockland County- (download list as PDF-click)

Top Honeybee 
Plants
Borage
Buckwheat*
Clover*
Echium
Goldenrod
Melissa/Lemon Balm
Phacelia

Perennials:
Achillea
Allium
Anise hyssop
Baptisia
Buttercups
Clematis
Cosmos
CrocusesDahlias
Echinacea
English Ivy
Foxglove
Geraniums
Germander
Globe Thistle
Hollyhocks
Hyacinth
Rock Cress
Roses
Sedum
Snowdrops
Squills
Tansy
Yellow Hyssop
Shrubs
Blackberry
Blueberry
Butterfly Bush/ Buddleia
Button Bush
Honeysuckle
Indigo
Privet
Raspberries

Annuals
Alyssum*
Asters
Borage*
Calendula
Calliopsis
Candytuft
China Aster
Clarkia
Cleomie
Clover
Collinsia
Cornflower
Convolulus
Coreopsis
Cosmos
Dandelion
Eschscholtzia
French marigold
Gaillardia
Gilia
Godetia
Gyposphila
Lavatera
Limnanthes*
Linum
Mallow
Malope
Marigolds
Mignonette*
Nastertium
Nemophilia
Nigella
Perezia multiflora
Phacelia*
Pheasant’s eye (Adonis)
Poppies
Sunflowers
Zinnias

Herbs:
Basil
Bee Balm
Borage
Catnip
Chives
Coriander/Cilantro
Fennel
Horehound
Hyssop
Lavender
Marjoram
Mint family (labiatae)
Pennyroyal
Rosemary
Sage / Salvias
Savory
Thyme

Garden Plants
Asparugus
Broad beans
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Cantaloupe
Carrots
Chicory
Cucumber
Endive
Gourds
Kale
Leeks
Onions
Other beans
Parsnips
Peppers
Pumpkins
Radish
Squash
Strawberries
Turnips
Watermelons
Wild Garlic

Trees
Alder
American
Basswood
Black Gum
Black Locust
Buckeyes
Catalpa
Eastern Redbud
Fruit Trees (*Crabapples)
Golden Rain Tree
Hawthorns
Hazels
Holly
Linden
Magnolia
Maples
Mountain Ash
Poplar
Sycamore
Tulip
Willows

Pollen only:
Poppy
Saponaria
Scabious
Senecio
Statice
Sunflower
Sweet sultan
Viscaria
Zinnia

Honeybee plants for an ornamental garden (Dr. Vetaley Stashenko).

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