Plants for bees

Categories: All about bees, Bee hive keeping |

Honey plants is a large group of angiosperm plants from which the bees collect nectar and pollen, food supply of beekeeping. Producing nectar nectaries are in the form of flat points, bumps, grooves, often located deep in flowers, and sometimes they are hidden in special thickening of sepals or petals. Nectaries are less frequently on stems, petioles, stipules and bracts. Quantity of nectar varies greatly in different species, for example, tropical orchids of the genus Coryanthes has up to 30 g, a common lime – 0,15-7,46 mg, macrophylla – 0,5-11,54 mg, raspberries (on average) – 14 mg, clover – 0.16 mg. Honey bees and other insects of the family of  the bee recycle collected nectar and pollen in honey and ambrosia. The same plants often serve as a source nectar and pollen. Some plants (poplar, birch, cherry, etc.), in addition, secrete resinous substance, from which the bees make glue – propolis.

Plants for bees - honey plants (4)


   Honey plants are classified mainly by flowering time, the nature of a harvest and habitats. By flowering time they are most often divided into four groups: early spring, spring, summer, autumn. By the nature of a harvest distinction: plants from which the bees collect only pollen, for the collection of pollen and nectar, nectariferous – giving only nectar. By habitat they are divided into: forest, fruit and parkland, meadows and pastures, farm honey plants, honey plants sown specifically for bees.

Plants for bees - honey plants (1)

 Choosing a location for an apiary it is not always possible to find such places, which have around abundance and continuous flowering of honey plants. Therefore it is necessary to organize activities to improve the food supply to fill periods without harvest or make collection stronger and more sustainable.

Plants for bees - honey plants (2)

   Usually bees collect pollen from entomophilous plants that produce and the nectar. But in some periods of the season (especially in the early spring) when the honey plants are not yet in bloom or very few of them are in bloom, bees take this food from wind-pollinated plants. The most valuable for the bees are: hazel, alder, elm, oak, birch, walnut, aspen, castor bean, lupine, maize, mullein, hemp, quinoa.

Plants for bees - honey plants (3)

A good source of nectar and pollen is hay (dry meadows and flood). Their value is measured not only by the size of areas, but also by the composition of plants. Most valuable are meadows, which have a lot of clover (pink, white), yellow alfalfa, deervetches and other legumes.

Plants for bees - honey plants (5)

Forest honey plants for beekeeping are crucial. In addition to tree and bush honey plants, a good source of honey are herbaceous plants for bees of burnt areas, deforestation, vacant lots and glades.

   The main groups of honey plants, growing in forests and parks are: wood, shrub and suffrutescent – tilia cordata and macrophylla, maple, willow, white and yellow acacia, honey locust, honeysuckle , snowberry, chestnuts, olive, heather, raspberries, grassy – cyprus, angelica, cow parsnip, goldenrod, goutweed, Pulmonaria.

Approximate quantity of nectar of honey plants for bees

Name of plant
The sugar content in nectar of 1 hectare of a plant (with continuous growth), kg
Cyanosis blue
Skerda marsh
Black currant in the floodplain
Goutweed common
Winter cress
Phacelia in mixtures
Bird cherry
Chin meadow
Sage Meadow
Sage whorled
Pink Sage
Blue Sage
 Èl’sgol’ts Patras
White dead-nettle
Purple dead-nettle
Deadnettle spotted
Hairy hawkweed
Spotted orchid
Buckwheat is a rich source of nectar for bees, which gives about 60 kg of honey per hectare. Buckwheat honey has a dark color and distinctive taste.
Plants for bees - honey plants (6)

White clover and pink give a long and rich harvest, and these plants are gladly visited by bees.

Plants for bees - honey plants (7)

Sainfoin gives abundant early harvest,  it blooms about a month. Honey from the nectar of sainfoin has high quality.

Plants for bees - honey plants (8)

In some places the bees like to visit alfalfa and hairy vetch .

Plants for bees - honey plants (9)

Sunflower in many southern areas is the main source of nectar. One hectare of sunflower in good weather gives 30-50 kg of honey.

Plants for bees - honey plants (10)

Cotton creates a stable food supply in southern regions.

Plants for bees - honey plants (11)

Mustard, rapeseed, winter cress also increase the food supply for bees.

Plants for bees - honey plants (12)

Melons and vegetables give small, but steady collection of nectar and pollen.

Plants for bees - honey plants (13)

Locust – one of the great southern honey plants – gives ample harvest, often constituting the main honey flow.

Plants for bees - honey plants (14)

Linden provides the highest quality honey and in many places is a major honey plant, providing ample harvest. However, lime is very sensitive to unfavorable weather conditions, especially drought, so it is unstable.

Plants for bees - honey plants (15)

Fruit trees (plum, pear, cherry, apple) give nectar in the early spring. It promotes good development of bee colonies. Hectare orchard gives about 35-37 kg of honey.

Plants for bees - honey plants (16)

Maples – (field, tatar, platanoides, silver) are lovely honey plants that provide up to 500 kg of honey per hectare of plantation in good conditions.

Plants for bees - honey plants (17)

White mulberry gives much pollen, and sometimes juice of overripe berries.

Plants for bees - honey plants (18)

Rowan is visited weakly, but in some years it is a good help to bees in the honey harvest.

Plants for bees - honey plants (19)

All shrubs , except for hips, are good nectariferous. Some of them give early spring harvest (golden currant and black willow, etc.), and a number of shrubs give nectar in the early and mid-summer (yellow acacia, honeysuckle). In early spring wild rose and hazelnut give pollen, as these plants do not have nectar.

Plants for bees - honey plants (20)

Fireweed is a basic bee plant of many central and northern areas. It grows in forests, especially in clearings, abundant in burned areas. In a good weather flowers produce a lot of nectar.

Plants for bees - honey plants (21)

Heather – late honey plant, common in the forests. Heather honey has is not suitable for feeding bees during the winter.

Plants for bees - honey plants (22)

Phacelia is good honey plant, provides up to 150 kg of honey per hectare. It is often sown specifically for bees. Phacelia begins to bloom in 40-60 days after sowing. It can be sown at different times so the bloom can occur in a period when other plants do not bloom, and bees do not collect nectar. Phacelia is used for silage in mixture with other crops (corn) and for plowing for green manure. Blooms during a month, eagerly visited by bees. It is recommended to make wide-row crops, so Phacelia gives more nectar.

Plants for bees - honey plants (23)

Borage gives about 200 kg of honey per hectare. It is planted specifically for bees. For one hectare you need from 6 to 8 kg of seed. It begins to bloom in a month after planting and blooms for 30 days.

Plants for bees - honey plants (24)

Bees take a lot of nectar from angelica goutweed, oregano, lespedeza, lungwort and other honey plants – from forests and fields.Vacant lots, ravines and other uncultivated areas have good honey plants – camel thorns, dead nettle, sage, bruise, field sow thistle, blue cornflower, gills, etc.

Plants for bees - honey plants (25)


Share Button

Plants for bees

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *