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Plants for Year-Round Bee Forage

This is an incomplete list of both wild and commercially-available plants that are important sources of pollen and nectar for bees in the South. It is important for bees, especially bumble bees, to have an unbroken succession of bloom all summer to build up their local populations. If you want to encourage bee populations, grow or encourage plants from this list so that bloom is more-or-less continuous on your property.
Bloom Season Common Name Type Scientific Name Availability
Feb Red Maple tree Acer rubrum Feral
Feb-Mar Redbud tree Cercis canadensis Feral
Titi shrub Cyrilla racemiflora Feral, coastal plain
Mar Native Blueberry shrub Vaccinium elliottii Feral
Mar-Apr Canola ann. Brassica napus Commercial oilseed
Henbit per. herb Lamium amplexicaule Feral
Jessamine shrub Gelsemium sempervirens Feral
Apr Tupelo tree Nyssa sylvatica Feral, coastal plain river bottoms
Apr-May Apple tree Malus spp. Commercial, feral
Black Locust tree Robinia pseudoacacia Feral, piedmont and upper south
Black-berry shrub Rubus argutus Feral, esp. in piedmont
Common Ajuga per. herb Ajuga reptans Commercial ornamental
Crimson Clover ann. Trifolium incarnatum Commercial forage
Dutch Clover per. Trifolium repens Commercial, feral
Red Clover per. Trifolium pratense Commercial forage
Skip Laurel shrub Prunus lauro-cerasus, var. 'Schip-kaensis' Commercial ornamental
Tulip Poplar tree Liriodendron tulipifera Feral
May Gallberry shrub Ilex glabra Feral, coastal plain
Honey-suckle shrub Lonicera fragrantis-sima Feral
Privet shrub Ligustrum sinense Feral, esp. in piedmont
Rhodo-dendron shrub/tree Rhododendron catawbiense Feral, esp. in mountains, commercial ornamental
May-Jun Cabbage Palmetto per. Sabal palmetto Feral, coastal plain
Persimmon shrub/tree Diospyros virginiana Feral
Tallow Tree tree Sapium sebifrum Commercial ornamental
Jun Heavenly Bamboo shrub Nandina domestica Commercial ornamental
Jun-Jul Bee Balm per. Monarda didyma Commercial ornamental, feral
Chaste Tree shrub/tree Vitex agnus-castus Commercial ornamental
Sourwood tree Oxydendrum arboreum Feral, esp. in mountains
Sumac shrub/tree Rhus copallina Feral, piedmont and upper south
Sunflower ann. or per. Helianthus spp. Commercial ornamental and oilseed
Jun-Aug Brazilian Verbena ann. or per. Verbena bonariensis Commercial ornamental
Butterfly Bush shrub Buddleia davidii Commercial ornamental
Crape-myrtle shrub/tree Lagerstroemia indica, var. 'Natchez' Commercial ornamental
Glossy Abelia shrub Abelia grandiflora Commercial ornamental
Mountain Mint per. herb Pycnanthemum incanum Commercial ornamental
Purple Cone- flower per. herb Echinacea purpurea Commercial ornamental
Summer Phlox per. herb Phlox paniculata Commercial ornamental
Wood Mint per. herb Blephilia spp. Feral
Jun-Sept Sweet Pepper-bush shrub Clethra alnifolia Feral, coastal plain
Jul Button-bush shrub/tree Cephalanthus occidentalis Feral
Jul-Sept American Germander per. herb Teucrium canadense Feral
Cup Rosinweed per. herb Silphium perfoliatum Feral
Milkweed per. herb Asclepias spp. Feral
Partridge Pea ann. herb Cassia fasciculata Feral
Redroot per. herb Lachnanthes caroliana Feral, wetlands
Aug Meadow Beauty per. herb Rhexia spp. Feral
Aug-Sept Bush Clovers shrub Lespedeza bicolor and L. thunbergii Commercial ornamental and forage
Aug-Oct Brazilian Pepper shrub Schinus terebinth-ifolius Feral
Mexican Sage per. herb Salvia leucantha Commercial ornamental
Mexican Sunflower ann. Tithonia rotundifolia Commercial ornamental
Pineapple Sage ann. or per. Salvia elegans Commercial ornamental
Thorough-wort per. herb Eupatorium hyssopifolium Feral
Aug-Nov Asters per. herb Aster spp. Feral
Colorado River Hemp shrub Sesbania exaltata Commercial, feral
Sept-Oct Goldenrod per. herb Solidago spp. Feral
Kenaf ann. Hibiscus cannabinus Commercial fiber

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