Mediterranean Bee Plants in Our Food Forest
As we practice permaculture, we see the bees as our partners – not our employees. We let the bees live as bees with minimum interference.
We still harvest honey, but our focus is on the health of the colony above how much honey we can produce.
The bees supplement our permaculture food forest by pollinating our vegetables, fruit trees and flowers and providing us with endless joy, engaging challenge, and yes… some delicious honey.
Here is a list of our bees’ favorite bee plants, and the months they flower in our mediterranean food forest (altitude: 1,200m/4,000ft):
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
An aromatic evergreen shrub with blue/pale violet flowers that bloom in spring and summer (but often it flowers as late as November).
Tagasaste (Cytisus proliferus)
Tagasaste is a Nitrogen-fixing legume originating from the Canary Islands.
The flowers are pea-like in shape, white and bloom in winter and attract bees when other sources of honey are scarce.
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)
Its blue-purple flowers, with their unmistakable scent, bloom from February until July or even later.
We planted tons of French, English, Spanish and local (endemic) Lavender in the first phase of developing our food forest – to support the bee population.
Aeonium flowers are made of many, many small yellow flowers, bloom in winter (January-March).
Fruit trees (Prunus)
Most fruit trees will provide forage to bees, but apple (Malus domestica), plum (Prunus domestica), peaches (Prunus persica) and cherry (Prunus avium) trees bloom in February-March and are the most bee-attracting trees in our mediterranean food forest.
Almonds (Prunus dulcis)
Almond trees help strengthen the bees because they provide honey bees with their first natural food source each spring (early January in our place).
Oranges and grapefruits bloom usually in February-March, but our lemons and limes bloom continuously (as the trees produce fruits up to four times a year).
Peruvian Pepper tree (Schinus molle)
The tiny yellow or white flowers yield lots of nectar and can appear several times a year from spring through fall (mainly between May and July).
Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)
It blossoms in the winter and the bloom lasts at least 2 months.
It is an important source of pollen nectar for our honey bees.
Our bees’ favorites are:
- Carpobrotus acinaciformis – flowers april to July
- Aptenia cordifolia – flowers September to July
- Malephora crocea – blooms most of the year
I’d love to learn from you…
What mediterranean bee plants, trees and herbs bees and other pollinators devour in your own garden or food forest.