A short post this month as time is slipping away. Living in North Carolina gives me a little extra time to get my bees ready for winter. It also give me a little bit more bloom time than northern states.
Many states have already had killing frosts, but we still have plants blooming in late October in North Carolina. Most people think of Chrysanthemums for the fall blooming time. Yes, I have a few mums, but my focus is on plants that my honey bees can benefit from.
The plant that I cannot boast about enough is called “Swamp Sunflower” Helianthus angustifolius. This wonderful fall bloomer has been showing it lovely yellow petals for over 2 weeks now in my gardens. I keep starting more patches of it because it really is a wonderful nectar provider for my honey bees. I have seen the honey bees on this plant, gathering the nectar that is so necessary for their survival through winter. Yes, I have seen them on other plants in my garden too, but most are on this wonderful sunflower. The bees know what they need and they are going about to gather their winter bounty.
If you are a beekeeper, you need to get this plant!! Many seeds companies sell these seeds and I would encourage you to find some. You will want to start the seed indoors and plant the seedlings after the danger of frost. Once these sunflowers are established, they will spread quickly and create large patches of late blooming sunflowers, providing nectar for you bees. This is a perennial and will come back each year and spread by root division. Once established, you can share plants and seeds with other beekeepers. The ease of growing this sunflower also makes it easy to start many patches of it in your yard. Give it ample room to spread!!
Honey Bee on Swamp Sunflower
YES, THERE ARE OTHER FLOWERS BLOOMING… BUT THIS SUNFLOWER IS THE STAR OF THE SHOW!!!
Large patch of Swamp Sunflower in October
Here are some other blooms that are supplying food to my bees this Fall.
That’s my post for the month. Fall is an excellent time to plant for your bees, so
GO OUT AND PLANT SOMETHING!!!!