M is for Magnolia

Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, appears to be a hot spot for bee nectar-collecting.

Trees For Bees! The tree is big, the flowers are big! And they are so sweetly scented that even us squirrels are drawn over to the tree.

Bees collect both the sweet-scented nectar and the pollen, and so do many other insects. It’s native to the southeast U. S., but is widely planted in the warmer states. It’s slow growing in a full sun spot and takes up a good bit of room both sideways and up–it grows to 120 feet tall. It will flower better in full sun. The shiny, thick leaves are evergreen and the seed pods are interesting, too.

If you have a big space, a Southern magnolia is a good choice. If your space is smaller, consider a Sweetly Magnolia, Magnolia virginiana, also native to the eastern U. S. and very tolerant of wet areas! That might be a selling point alone!

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Purchase plants and seeds from a known source that does not use pesticides / insecticides, particularly neonicotinoids. They are not safe for honeybees and native bees. Watch this bee researcher’s Ted Talk to learn more about bees, why they are dying and how you can help:

Marla Spivak: Why Bees Are Disappearing

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