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Autumn nectar sources for bees and etc?

ecokidecokid Posts: 138

Over the last two years i've managed to establish a very bee friendly garden, despite being sandwiched between two very busy roads I'm looking for advice related to autumn flowering plants that are bee magnets. I have a autumn fruiting raspberry that will hopefully flower until early Oct.

I know a lot of people consider ivy to be a bit of a nuisance, but i'm considering growing it for autumn nectar source for bees and other insects. I have two sites that might be a good spot - one would involve growing in a container up a stench pipe or the other would be a west facing fence that gets 3/4 hrs of sun? 

I'm looking for suggestions for types of relatively well-behaved ivy (whilst providing lots of nectar) Ornamental would be a plus. Otherwise, i'm open to suggestions for bee friendly mid autumn + flowering and preferably native plants?

Thanks for any tidbits! image



  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,909

    Sedum spectabile


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • OnopordumOnopordum Posts: 390

    A lot of the Asters would do, e.g. Aster x frikartii 'Monch'. This has a very long flowering season.

  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,173


    Ivy is a great late nectar source for bees but it takes quite a few years to become a large enough plant for it to flower. I've only ever seen bees on native ivy ... I'm not sure if ornamental ivies would get big enough to flower ?

    Our honeybees are very happy on the astilbie chinensis pumilla .... bit of a thug but a nice one and easily removed if necessary. Kniphofias are also popular providing nectar and pollen ... but the most sought after plant by far in the large stands of Impatiens glandulifera (aka himalayan balsam) on our riverbank. They just love it !


    Gardener and beekeeper in beautiful Scottish Borders  

    A single bee creates just one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,931

    It's only when ivy has reached the top of it's support and produced its arborial form that it will produce flowers and berries, and this takes several years - however, it is possible to take cuttings from the arborial form of ivy and grow them as shrubs which flower and fruit.  I've seen this done where it has been used as an attractive low hedge.

    It is an offence in the UK (Wildlife & Countryside Act) to introduce Himalayan Balsam into the wild - as the seeds catapault high, far and wide, if you grow it in your garden it is virtually impossible to prevent it spreading.  I know, I lived next door to someone who had one plant in his garden.  Within two years his garden and mine were full of it, within five years it had spread into every garden along our side of the street.  It was a total pain in the neck pulling the seedlings up year after year. 

    We moved house.


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • BiljeBilje Posts: 740
    I grow open flowered dahlias, my favourite is a dark leaved variety with bright pink flowers called Fascination, but there are many others.. They are an absolute bee butterfly magnet, flowering from mid summer to the frosts
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,237

    How about Coronilla valentina, flowers all winter long! Here it is at Bristol Botanic Garden last November - this is C. valentina subsp. glauca

     Needs a well drained warm sunny spot, at the base of a south facing wall would be spot on.

  • ecokidecokid Posts: 138

    Thanks for the replies. Much appreciated. I'll rule out ivy for now then and concentrate on acquiring some of the suggested specimens. 

  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,173


    Just take heed of the information Dove has given re himalayan balsam.

    Whilst the bees just can't get enough of it ... it is an absolute menace and it is illegal to plant it.

    Be nice to see some photos when you're further on.

    Gardener and beekeeper in beautiful Scottish Borders  

    A single bee creates just one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime

    Hi ecokid, pleased to hear you're getting on well with your garden.

    Why not grow plants you know flower in the autumn this year, and in the autumn have a look around gardens and garden centers to see what is actually in flower at the time. That way you will be able to see the colours of the flowers and size of plants that would be suitable for your garden.   You will probably see lots of flowers and flowering plants that you never even thought of.  Whatever you decide to grow, good luck, and I'm sure the bees will appreciate your efforts.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,931

    Asters are much loved by bees and butterflies in the autumn - this is interesting i


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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