Flower seed mixes for honeybees

Field wild flowers

Field wild flowersThe following seed mixtures contain exclusively honeybee flowers offering either nectar, pollen, or both.  There are many other seed mixes available that provide some honeybee plants along with forage for other insects but I know I was curious to learn more about my bees and their particular food material so wanted to know which plants were specifically for them.

Wild flower seed mixes can be sown on bare soil and are predominantly annuals that would self seed in the wild.  They generally do better on poor soils as grass tends to out-compete them in more fertile conditions.  If you are thinking of establishing a meadow I recommend having a good read of the Really Wild Flowers website which has information on the appropriate planting for different conditions.

Whether to allow non-native flowers into your mix is largely a matter of personal taste.  Sarah Raven (BBC 2’s Bees, Butterflies and Blooms) found that successional flowering was improved when non-native flowers were allowed and Dr Nigel Dunnett, the Sheffield University wild flower guru used both native and non-native for the Olympic park displays.  Rudolf Steiner on the other hand said:

‘The very greatest care should really be taken today not to grow plants for the bees that are totally foreign to them; bees in their whole organic nature are bound up with a particular country. …. Bees are most strongly bound by their habits to their native country, and one cannot help them in any real way by giving them the nectar or honey belonging to entirely different countries.’

If you wanted to put together your own mix the ‘Best wild flowers for nectar and pollen‘ table shows which plants honeybees would choose and seeds can be purchased separately from companies such as Wildflower Mixes and Emorsgate Seeds.

Click on the company name to go to the website and see the plant list or purchase seed.  Postage and packing is not included in the price listed below but all are under £2 except the BBKA which charges £3.50.

Thompson & Morgan Annual & perennial, not native £1.99 1 gram
Victoriana – Milly’s Annual – not nec. native £3.95 500 seeds
Plant World Seeds Annual – wild, native £1.75 Not specified
BBKA Annual – wild £3.00 10 grams
Nicky’s Nursery Annual – wild.  No grass. £2.75 5 grams
Amazon – Imberhorne Nursery/Michaels’s Seeds Annual – wild £3.99 Not specified
e bay Sow and Grow Kids £11.60  Not specified
NOT JUST HONEYBEES
Really Wild Flowers Bees and insects £9.50 100 grams
Simple Sowing Native wildflower seed carpet £9.99 Carpet 1m x .45m

 

2 Responses to “Flower seed mixes for honeybees”

  1. Ray Smith on

    Hi, I am planning to plant a wildflower meadow, predominantly to encourage honeybees. Can you give me some idea, what area of land would be needed to support 1 hive?

    Cheers

    Ray

  2. admin on

    They say an acre but it depends on the landscape – some are more forage-rich than others- and how many other bee colonies in the area. A wild flower meadow wouldn’t be able to feed them year round on its own but with the trees, shrubs and other wild flowers in the environment it will certainly be a huge benefit.

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