22 Best Trees For Bees + FREE Printable

Best trees for bees

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

Planting bee-friendly trees for bees is an excellent way to help reverse the decline in worldwide bee numbers. But you need to choose the right species – some will provide limited nectar while others may repel insects!

Keep reading as we reveal 22 of the best trees that attract bees.

What are the top trees for honey bees?

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.

1. Red Maple

Red Maple tree
Red maples have eye-catching foliage.

The red maple is a tall deciduous tree that is basically a pollen factory for honeybees. It produces red flowers and fruit that bees are highly attracted to. Their brilliant red fall foliage makes them as popular with humans as they are 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 and they’re packed with an alluring fragrance.

Although the flowering season is short-lived, there are huge numbers of flowers that bees love. So much so, that Lindens 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 that is better known for its delicious hazelnuts. It is easy to grow and offers a pollen-only source of food 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 one of 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. The common and Canadian serviceberry 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.

No list of nectar-producing trees would be complete without a mention of the redbud tree. In early to mid-spring, its unique mauve-pink blooms sprout up all over the tree including the branches and trunk.

There are a variety of redbud species that 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 very large, providing a bounty of vibrant flowers filled with pollen. They are very useful 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 potentially 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 that gets plenty of rainfall, an alder tree could be a good option to plant. They don’t need bees for pollination, so bees won’t get access to any nectar from this tree. However, they offer an abundant supply of pollen in early spring when other food supplies are in short supply.  

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 have bright, multi-colored that appeal to bees.

Blossoms appear in late spring and may still be 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 keep on 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. Its flowers provide the perfect recipe for honey, loaded with nectar and pollen.

A crabapple tree is an excellent option for anyone with a small yard. It doesn’t take up much room and offers an impressive splash of color in spring. Best of all, they don’t require a lot of care but enjoy a cool climate.   

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 must be the tulip poplar. Their blooms are riddled with so much nectar that one 20-foot tree can produce eight pounds of nectar. Source.   

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 that is native to eastern and southern Asia. This tree serves up a buffet of nectar for your bees, although its flowering season is relatively short-lived 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 3 weeks to get their fill before blooming ends. During this time, the tree produces masses of flowers that attract a tremendous number of 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 source of pollen, nectar, and propolis. Also 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 may provide us with healthy produce, but they’re also ideal for honey bees. Cherry, apple, pear, plum, and peach trees are all ideal trees for beekeepers and their hives. You may want to also plant an early flowering fruit tree like the blackthorn or cherry plum. That way, you extend the foraging season for the 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. If you live in swampy, wet areas or sloughs then the water tupelo is a great choice. 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 will attract over 500 species of insect. Included in that tally are almost 60 wild bee species that use the flowers as a vital foraging source. They 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! That means a lot of nectar and pollen is on offer, which bees happily collect.  

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 that is 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 that has a prolonged blooming season that honey bees appreciate. Also known as the Korean evodia, this tree grows impressive fragrant clusters of flowers that pollinators can’t resist.

Summary table: Top trees for honey bees

Check out the table below which summarizes 22 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

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