Plants for Bees in Late Summer and Autumn

While I was busy harvesting Tomatoes and Corn and Kumara the bees were harvesting pollen to feed new bees and nectar for honey to keep them going through the winter.

The standout flowers in the later part of summer were Mexican Sunflower(Tithonia), Helenium, Cosmos, Dahlia, Salvia, Blue Mist Caryopteris, Cleome, and Sedum. Many of the earlier flowers carried on, of course, with Asclepius, Tomatillos, and wild Rocket popular at various times. Surprisingly to me the Rugosa Roses were also popular. Still going are a few Salvias, Alyssum, Tomatillo, a few Dahlias, Chrysanthemums and daisy bushes Agranthemum and Euryops, as well as Kniphofia, which I still haven’t seen bees on.

The single dark leaved Dahlias were the favourites with all the bees for at least 2 months, and even the big Tip Dahlia (picked up at the local dump) opened up to a bee friendly version eventually. There are few of these still flowering, and the big cream flowered Tree Dahlia has just started.

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bee in cosmos flower

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Caryopteris Blue Mist – this is after a rain, and the Bumble Bee is very wet

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Cleome, with its beautiful red pollen.

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Salvia leucantha has been covered with bees for at least 6 weeks. It’s just finished flowering last week. The bees seem to drink the nectar through a hole at the base of the flower. I’ve heard of bumble bees doing this, but didn’t know that honey bees did. A bit of research and I found that the short-toungued bees like Bumble bees often make the hole, and then the honey bees use the same hole. This is common with the more narrow-tubed Salvia flowers. A smaller insect actually does the pollinating.
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Salvia African Blue, one of my favourite flowers and a perfect blue, just getting established after being divided last year. Shown here with a very wet bumble bee.

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This Rugosa Rose was given to me as a sucker and is growing into a thicket. The bees seem to like the pollen.

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9 thoughts on “Plants for Bees in Late Summer and Autumn

  1. I have some dwarf Knifophia in the garden and I have never seen a wild bee on them but this year since we have been keeping bees, I see honey bees on them.
    I could not get all your photos down loaded. I suppose the power of my Internet is just not up to it.(: Amelia

    1. Hi Amelia,
      I will look more closely at the Kniphofia and watch for bees. My photos are huge so it makes them slow. I should really shrink them before I upload them, or set WordPress up so it can shrink them.
      One day…:)

  2. This was awe- inspiring for me. The photos were beautiful, but to watch the loaded bees was amazing. I noticed the marking patterns on some of the flowers and tried to imagine what that would look like to a bee. Have you read The Reason for Flowers by Stephen Buchmann? If not, you should,

    1. Thank you, I’m just downloading that book, will look forward to reading it. It would be interesting if we could make a pair of glasses which would approximate what bees see 🙂

      1. My idea is glasses with a tiny camera attached. I have missed so many photos due to lack of camera. It would be great to just reach up at push a button.

      2. Since we are inventing things, you may as well make it voice activated, for when you have dirty hands or gloves on, or you just have your hands full.

  3. Lovely post. I always have to shrink my images before I upload them as our internet is slow here in rural Italy. If you do find an automatic way to do it please let me know! My husbands phone camera can be voice activated, he just has to say “cheese”!

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