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The Buzz About Honeysuckle: The Best Varieties for Bees


best honeysuckle for bees
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Why Honeysuckle is Important for Bees

Bees play a critical role in our ecosystem, pollinating plants and ensuring that our food supply remains secure. Unfortunately, bee populations have been declining in recent years due to habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change. One way we can help support bees is by planting bee-friendly flowers, such as honeysuckle. But with so many varieties of honeysuckle available, how do you know which one is best for bees? In this article, we'll explore some of the top choices.

The Best Honeysuckle Varieties for Bees

1. Lonicera periclymenum (European Honeysuckle)

One of the most popular honeysuckle varieties for bees is Lonicera periclymenum, also known as European honeysuckle. This deciduous shrub produces fragrant, tubular flowers that bloom in early summer and are a favorite of both bees and hummingbirds. European honeysuckle prefers well-drained soil and partial shade, making it an excellent choice for woodland gardens or shady areas.

Benefits of Lonicera periclymenum for Bees

  • Produces abundant nectar and pollen
  • Long blooming period provides reliable food source for bees
  • Attracts a wide variety of bee species

2. Lonicera sempervirens (Coral Honeysuckle)

Another popular honeysuckle variety for bees is Lonicera sempervirens, also known as coral honeysuckle. This evergreen vine produces clusters of tubular, red or orange flowers that bloom from spring to fall and are a favorite of both bees and butterflies. Coral honeysuckle prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.

Benefits of Lonicera sempervirens for Bees

  • Produces abundant nectar and pollen
  • Long blooming period provides reliable food source for bees
  • Attracts a wide variety of bee species
  • Evergreen foliage provides year-round shelter for bees

3. Lonicera periclymenoides (Woodbine Honeysuckle)

Lonicera periclymenoides, also known as woodbine honeysuckle, is a deciduous vine that produces fragrant, pink or yellow flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer. This vine prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Woodbine honeysuckle is a favorite of bumblebees and other native bees.

Benefits of Lonicera periclymenoides for Bees

  • Produces abundant nectar and pollen
  • Attracts bumblebees and other native bees
  • Tolerates a wide range of soil types

4. Lonicera japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle)

Lonicera japonica, also known as Japanese honeysuckle, is an invasive vine that can be harmful to native plant species. However, it is still a popular choice for gardens due to its fragrant, white or yellow flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer. Japanese honeysuckle prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.

Benefits of Lonicera japonica for Bees

  • Produces abundant nectar and pollen
  • Attracts a wide variety of bee species
  • Tolerates a wide range of soil types

How to Plant Honeysuckle for Bees

When planting honeysuckle for bees, it's important to choose a location that provides the right amount of sunlight and well-drained soil. If you're planting a vine, make sure to provide a trellis or other support structure. Water your honeysuckle regularly, especially during dry periods, and prune it as needed to encourage healthy growth.

Caring for Honeysuckle Plants

Honeysuckle plants are generally low-maintenance and don't require much care once established. However, it's still important to keep an eye out for pests and diseases, such as aphids or powdery mildew. If you notice any issues, treat them promptly to prevent damage to your plant.


Honeysuckle is a great choice for anyone looking to attract bees to their garden. By choosing the right variety and planting it in the right location, you can provide a reliable source of food for these important pollinators. Remember to care for your honeysuckle plants properly to ensure they thrive and continue to support bee populations for years to come.

FAQs

Q: Is honeysuckle safe for bees?

A: Yes, honeysuckle is safe for bees and is actually a great source of food for them.

Q: How do I know if my honeysuckle is attracting bees?

A: If your honeysuckle is blooming and you see bees visiting the flowers, then it's likely attracting bees.

Q: Can I plant honeysuckle in a container?

A: Yes, honeysuckle can be grown in a container as long as it has enough room for its roots to grow and is watered regularly.

Q: Do I need to fertilize my honeysuckle plants?

A: Honeysuckle plants don't generally require fertilizer, but you can apply a slow-release fertilizer in the spring if desired.

Q: Is Japanese honeysuckle bad for bees?

A: While Japanese honeysuckle does produce nectar and pollen that bees can use, it is an invasive species that can harm native plant populations. It's best to choose native honeysuckle varieties instead.


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