Honey plants play a major role in a natural vegetable garden.
Before presenting a list of bee plants that are particularly prized by bees, let’s start by defining what a bee plant is.
What is a bee plant?
Honey plants are plants that can provide bees with nectar or honeydew, the basic “ingredients” for honey production.
However, to broaden our point somewhat (and because this generalization is widely accepted), we will include here the plants that are sources of pollen or propolis.
Nectar is a sap generally secreted by the nectaries of plants.
Harvested with the tongue by the collectorsthen forwarded to workers in the hive the nectar passes from mouth to mouth and, mixed with the salivary secretions, becomes honey.
There are many nectar-rich plants…
Among the most popular with bees we have:
- trees: maple, eucalyptus, ash, field elm, locust, linden
- shrubs: citrus, sea buckthorn, heather, honeysuckle, cotoneaster, raspberry, blackberry, thyme, Virginia creeper
- annuals, biennials, perennials, bulbs: fennel agastache, wild garlic, basil, blueberry, borage, chives, Siberian caragana, teasel, knapweed, cirses, comfrey, canola, coriander, pumpkin and zucchini, foxglove, coneflower, wall echinops, baby’s breath , hyssop, lavender, alfalfa, mallow alcea, sweet clover, mint, mustard, nepeta bare, parsnip, phacelia, dandelion, sage, clover, bugloss…
For a more complete overview of bee plants, including flowering periods, see the PDF document below.
Honeydew is the sugary droppings excreted by certain bite-sucking insects, such as aphids, aphids, mealybugs or whiteflies.
The workers will turn it into a “honeydew honey”, particularly rich in trace elements, and very popular with amateurs.
The best sources of honeydew are oak, pine, spruce or even maple…
the bees collectors collect pollen from flower stamens.
It is an essential protein source for larvae (pollen is mixed, by bees) nannieswith honey and water).
Furthermore, the queens take advantage of pollen (if there is enough for the larvae) will lay more.
Among the most interesting types for pollen are:
- trees: apricot, cherry, hazel, apple, willow
- shrubs and shrubs: sea buckthorn, baguette, burning bush, chasteberry, cherry laurel, viburnum
- annuals, biennials, perennials: fennel agastache, artichoke, cirses, rapeseed, coreopsis, dahlia, coneflower, autumn sunflower, hyssop, musk mallow, dandelion, Jerusalem artichoke, valerian
(see also the PDF document below)
The collectors collect the resin from, for example, the buds or bark of certain trees (pines, aspens) or even from ivy.
By mixing this resin with their saliva secretions and wax, workers will then transform it into a kind of putty (propolis) useful to smooth the cells or “seal” the hive.
Thanks to these antifungal and bactericidal properties, it is also a real medicine, both for bees and for humans…
Of course, if you have hives in your garden, these honey plants are essential for the bees to feed and survive (and provide you with a share of their harvest…).
And considerable plant diversity ensures a better nutritional balance.
But bees (and other pollinators) are also indispensable in a garden from a broader perspective…
This is what we are going to see now.
Why sow bee plants or plant them in your garden?
Promoting pollination in your garden is the number one reason to plant bee plants, or rather pollinator plants…
Thanks to good pollination, the fruits (remember that tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, aubergines, peppers, courgettes, various pumpkins… are fruits) you grow will give you better harvests…
But it is not the only…
Promote plant biodiversity
The honey-bearing plants that you plant in your garden simply increase the plant diversity there.
And aesthetic importance aside, they can interfere with the sense of smell of certain “pests”, protecting your crops, and they’ll help balance animal populations (the more diversity there is, the better the populations grow naturally). be in equilibrium).
Promote animal biodiversity
When we talk about pollination, we naturally think of bees in the first place…
But they are not the only pollinators.
Let’s quote, for example, the bumblebee, the hoverflies, but also a multitude of butterflies, or even the birds…
In short, in a world where biodiversity is impoverishing day by day, it is our duty as gardeners to do a little bit to help stop this decline, most notably by planting bee plants in our gardens.
The best bee plants
If finding flowers to forage in summer is not normally a problem for bees (which have a range of about 2 miles), it is more difficult, especially in winter or early spring…
Therefore, to meet the needs of our foraging friends while promoting pollination and biodiversity in our garden as best we can, we aim to bloom practically all year round.
To help you make your choices, here’s a detailed list of bee plants (particularly the flowering periods are specified):