23 Best Trees For Bees + FREE Printable

Trees provide a life-saving source of forage for pollinators like bees, bumblebees, and butterflies. The pollen and nectar are nutrient-rich and arrive in the months when other food sources are scarce.

Some of the best trees you can plant for bees include the red maple, linden, hazel, serviceberry, and redbud. If you’re looking for long-blooming trees then consider the crepe myrtle or the horse chestnut.

Let’s take a closer look at 23 excellent options for your garden.

In a hurry? Download our one-page printable of best bee trees.

1. Red Maple

Red Maple tree
Red maples have eye-catching foliage.

The red maple is a tall deciduous tree that is a pollen factory for honeybees. It produces red flowers and fruit that bees are highly attracted to. The maple’s brilliant red fall foliage makes it as popular with humans as it is with insects.

If you’re looking for a smaller option, consider the Japanese maple.

2. Linden

A linden tree in a meadow on a sunny day
Linden trees are a huge food source for insects.

The linden tree, or basswood, offers a bountiful source of pollen that bees will travel long distances to get to. Its small yellowish-white flowers bloom from late spring to summer, packed with an alluring fragrance.

Although the flowering season is short, they produce copious flowers and are also known as “bee trees.”

The littleleaf and silver lindens are good choices to consider planting.

3. Hazel

Closeup of a hazel tree branch
Hazel trees aren’t just about the nuts.

The hazel tree is a small to medium-sized tree better known for its delicious hazelnuts. It is easy to grow and offers a pollen-only food source for honey bees during early forage, February and March. 

4. Serviceberry

White flowers growing on a serviceberry tree
Serviceberry blooms appear very early.

The serviceberry tree is an American native that tolerates cold winters. Their pink and white flowers are among the first to appear in spring, making them an excellent choice for beekeepers.

Those in the west of the United States may consider the Saskatoon serviceberry. Common and Canadian serviceberries are both popular species in the East.

Other names for the serviceberry tree include the shadbush, shadblow, shadwood, and juneberry.

5. Redbud

Bright blooms on a redbud tree
The redbud tree is stunning.

A list of nectar-producing trees would be incomplete without mentioning the redbud tree. In early to mid-spring, its unique mauve-pink blooms sprout throughout the tree, including the branches and trunk.

Various redbud species range in size, so do your research before planting one.

6. Oak tree

A huge old oak tree on a farm
Oak trees will keep giving for many years.

If you’ve got the space, oak trees can grow huge, providing a bounty of vibrant flowers filled with pollen. They are beneficial trees not only for bees but also for over 500 pollinator species.

Oaks provide a food source as well as shelter from the elements. With a life expectancy of up to one thousand years, they’ll help billions of insects live happier lives.

7. Alder

Alder tree branch closeup
Alder trees need plenty of water.

If you live next to a water source or in an area with plenty of rainfall, an alder tree could be an excellent option to plant.

They don’t need bees for pollination, so they don’t bear nectar. However, pollinators get abundant pollen in early spring when other food supplies are limited.

8. Crepe Myrtle

Colorful crepe myrtle blooms
Crepe myrtles have vibrant flowers.

The crepe myrtle, or crape myrtle, is a honey-making factory for the hive. Its flowers are bright and multi-colored, appealing to bees.

Blossoms appear in late spring and may remain in bloom until the fall. That’s a long time to provide honey bees with nectar and pollen. As winter approaches and many plants stop flowering, crepe myrtle will continue giving.

9. Crabapple

Zoomed in shot of a flowering crabapple tree
Crabapple trees are irresistible to bees.

Crabapple trees are popular with a wide range of pollinators, including honey bees and mason bees. Their flowers, loaded with nectar and pollen, provide the perfect recipe for honey.

A crabapple tree is an excellent low-maintenance option for anyone with a small yard. It takes up minimal space and offers an impressive splash of color in spring.

10. Tulip Poplar

Closeup of a tulip poplar flower
Tulip poplars provide a lot of nectar.

One of the best trees for honeybees and hummingbirds is the tulip poplar. Its blooms are riddled with so much nectar that one 20-foot tree can produce eight pounds of nectar.

The honey produced by hives adjacent to tulip poplars is dark, rich, and sought after.

11. Golden rain

Clusters of yellow flowers on a golden rain tree
Golden rain trees are packed with flowers.

The Koelreuteria, or Golden Rain tree, is a medium-sized deciduous tree native to eastern and southern Asia. This tree serves up a nectar buffet for your bees, although its flowering season is relatively short each year.

12. Japanese snowball

White flowers hanging down from a Japanese snowball branch
The Japanese snowball is an insect magnet.

The Japanese snowbell is a graceful deciduous tree that grows to around 40 feet in height. Its snow-white, sweet-smelling flowers are bell-shaped and hang down along its branches.

Bees have roughly three weeks to get their fill before blooming ends. During this time, the tree produces masses of flowers that attract many bees.

13. Horse chestnut

Horse chestnut flowers
Horse chestnut trees flower for a long time.

Horse chestnut trees are handy for drawing in birds, butterflies, and bees. Their vivid flowers can be seen from April to June in the United States.

With this long blooming season, bees can use the tree as a long-lasting pollen, nectar, and propolis source.

Check out our guide to harvesting propolis.

14. Fruit trees

Rows of fruit trees flowering in an orchard
Fruit trees do a great job of luring bees.

Fruit trees provide healthy produce and are also ideal for honey bees. Cherry, apple, pear, plum, and peach trees are suitable for beekeepers and their hives.

You can also plant early flowering fruit trees like the blackthorn or cherry plum. This extends the foraging season for bees. 

15. Sourwood

Picture of sourwood tree flowers
Sourwood honey is exquisite.

Sourwood honey is extremely popular in some parts of North America. It is revered for its enticing amber color, smooth texture, and buttery caramel flavor.

Also known as sorrel, this tree’s long white clusters of flowers are slightly fragrant and are inviting to insects like moths and bees.

16. Tupelo

A large tupelo tree with blue sky in the background
Tupelo trees love water sources like swamps.

The nectar provided by tupelo trees is much-loved by pollinators. While their flowers aren’t showy, they allow a colony to produce excellent honey.

The water tupelo is a great choice in swampy, wet areas or sloughs. The black tupelo is better suited to sandy, well-drained soil.

17. Black Locust

Black locust tree laden with white flowers in spring
Black locust trees help bees make acacia honey.

The black locust is renowned for tempting bees and hoverflies throughout the United States and other parts of the world. Its aromatic blooms arrive in late spring and provide fructose-rich nectar for about two weeks.

Black locust trees allow honey bees to produce acacia honey. It is prized for its taste and high antioxidant content.

18. Willow

A large willow tree growing next to a large water source
Willow trees provide an excellent pollen source for bees.

The scented flowers of the common willow tree attract over 500 species of insects, including almost 60 wild bee species. Willows bloom in March and April, providing both pollen and nectar.

19. Southern Magnolia

Closeup shot of a magnolia bloom
Magnolias have an enticing fragrance.

The southern magnolia is a lovely ornamental that thrives in the Pacific Northwest and the South.

They produce exceptional perfumed white blossoms that can grow a foot wide! A lot of nectar and pollen is available.

20. Sweet Gum

Sweet gum trees in a park
Sweet gums can grow very large.

The sweet gum, or Liquidambar, is a large deciduous tree that is best suited to large gardens. It is a hardy tree that will tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.

The sweet gum’s flowers may be inconspicuous, but their smell attracts bees en masse.

21. Japanese pagoda

Green leaves of a Japanese pagoda tree
Japanese pagodas are laden with nectar.

The Japanese pagoda is an impressive-looking medium to tall tree native to Korea, China, and Vietnam. Also known as the honey tree, it produces white nectar-laden flowers late in the foraging season.

22. Bee bee tree

A bee collecting pollen on a bee bee tree
The bee bee tree is a good option for beekeepers.

The bee bee tree is a small tree with a prolonged blooming season. Also known as the Korean evodia, this tree grows impressive fragrant clusters of flowers that pollinators can’t resist.

23. Ohio buckeye

The tree’s early blooming period provides a valuable resource when few other plants flower, supporting bee populations in the early spring. It prefers moist, well-drained soils and is often found in floodplains, river bottoms, and near streams.

Summary table: Top trees for honey bees

Check out the table below which summarizes 23 trees that are ideal for attracting bees. We’ve included the scientific name as a handy reference.

Common Tree NameScientific Name
Red MapleAcer rubrum
LindenTilia americana
HazelCorylus avellana
ServiceberryAmelanchier arborea
Eastern RedbudCercis canadensis
Oak treeQuercus
AlderAlnus glutinosa
Crepe MyrtleLagerstroemia indica
CrabappleMalus sylvestris
Tulip PoplarLiriodendron tulipifera
Golden RainKoelreuteria paniculata
Japanese snowballViburnum plicatum
Horse chestnutAesculus hippocastanum
Fruit treesPrunus
SourwoodOxydendrum arboreum
Black TupeloNyssa sylvatica
Black LocustRobinia pseudoacacia
Southern MagnoliaMagnolia grandiflora
Sweet GumLiquidambar styraciflua
Japanese pagodaStyphnolobium japonicum
Bee bee treeTetradium daniellii
Ohio BuckeyeAesculus glabra

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