Planting suggestion:

To supplement winter sources, consider planting: Elaeagnus, turnips, mustard, redbud and henbit.

To supplement summer sources, consider planting: vitex, Mexican heather, cabbage palm, and mint.

There are many plants out there that provide pollen and nectar for bees. Below, you will find a list of some of the more common ones. Major sources are those that produce a surplus crop when available in significant numbers. Minor sources provide for colony maintenance. Toxic plants are those that bees will tend to avoid unless it is the only source available. Spring and Fall usually provides sufficient supplies for the bees. Summer and winter need an extra boost. We also provide some plant material that we encourage you to consider adding to your landscape.


The two major toxic sources in our area are Cyrilla racemiflora (summer titi) and Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine).

If you aren't sure which titi is which, just pay attention to when it blooms. The good one blooms in the spring. With Carolina jessamine, bees will avoid this unless it is the only source available. It will kill off the hive.

Major sources

  • Cliftonia monophylla (black titi)
  • Ilex glabra (gallberry, inkberry)
  • Serenoa repens (saw palmetto)
  • Nyssa sylvatica (blackgum, tupelo*)
  • Sapium sebiferum  (Chinese tallow, popcorn tree**)
  • Gossypium spp. (cotton)
  • Brasica spp. (turnips, mustard)
  • Alnus serrulata (tag alder)
  • Taraxacum spp. (dandelion)
  • Elaeagnus pungens (Elaeagnus)

*Tupelo is a premier source. It is our official state honey.

**Chinese tallow is the highest nectar producer in the Panhandle. Please note this is an invasive species and should not be cultivated!

Minor sources

  • Acer rubrum (red maple)
  • Vaccinium arboreum (sparkleberry, farkleberry)
  • Salix spp. (willow)
  • Cercis canadensis (redbud)
  • Cornus florida (dogwood)
  • Nyssa biflora (blackgum)
  • Prunus serotina (wild cherry)
  • Prunus laurocerasus (cherry laurel)
  • Pinus spp. (pines)
  • Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)
  • Ilex spp. Holly
  • Castanea pumila (Chinkapin oak)
  • Sabal palmetto (cabbage palm)
  • Bidens alba (Spanish needle)
  • Quercus spp. (oaks)
  • Richardia spp. (Mexican clover)
  • Trifolium spp. (clovers)
  • Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip poplar)
  • Rubus spp. (blackberries)
  • Chamaecrista faciculata (partridge pea)
  • Menta spp. (mint)
  • Lamium amplexicaule (henbit)
  • Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)
  • Ludwigia spp. (primrose willow*)
  • Rhus (sumac)
  • Helianthus spp. (sunflowers)
  • Vitex agnus-castus (vitex)
  • Cirsium spp. (thistle)
  • Solidago spp. (goldenrod)
  • Chrysopsis spp. (golden aster)
  • Aster carolinianus (vining aster)
  • Artemisia trifida (bitter weed)
  • Baccharis halimifolia (sea myrtle)
  • Rhododendron spp. (azalea**)
  • Antigonon leptopus (coral vine***)
  • Cuphea hyssopifolia (Mexican heather)
  • Callistemon spp. (bottlebrush)
  • Ligustrum spp. (privit****)
  • Pyrus calleryana (ornamental pear)
  • Pueraria lobata (kudzu*****)

*Honey with a lot of this tastes awful.

**Nectar is toxic to humans. Caution should be used if there is a lot of this plant in your honey.

***It is illegal to plant this species.

****Honey tastes absolutely foul.

*****Honey tastes like grape jelly and is purple. If you want to know where this invasive vine started, go out to Chipley to the research station and you'll see the historic marker.