Eucalyptus trees are the beekeepers friend 😉 Eucalyptus trees produce an abundance of flowers which last for several months, often during the early spring before other sources of pollen and nectar are available.
Photo by Lopezlago
Which Eucalyptus varieties are best for bees here in Ireland 🤔 For the most part this is determined by other factors, i.e. how suitable is the variety for cultivation in the Irish climate. Is it frost hardy, other local factors will be important. Soil type, wind tolerance, salt tolerance if you are near the coast.
Eucalyptus for beekeepers, my recommendations:
- Eucalyptus Gunnii is the most versatile and one of the hardiest of the Eucalyptus grown in Ireland and its flowers are attractive to bees. It can also be coppiced and reacts well to pruning, so can be kept at reasonable height in smaller gardens or close to buildings.
- Eucalyptus Viminalis is a favourite of mine due to its very fast growth rates. It does coppice, follow the link to its suitability to coastal areas. It may get burnt off during strong winter winds at the coast, but quickly reestablishes. Flowers from March to June.
- Eucalyptus Globulus is grown specifically in Tasmania for honey and flowers from March to June in northern climes.
- Eucalyptus Dalrympleana produces flowers that are attractive to bees from March to June as well.
- Eucalyptus Pulverulenta wouldn’t have been a variety I’d have considered as suitable Eucalyptus for beekeepers, though the few I planted here in Ireland produced lots of flower buds in the second year of growing and started blooming at the beginning of February, a little under two years from being planted.
Scientific research into which varieties are best, is as of early 2020, more or less non existent. Mentions in scientific papers tend to be a sentence here and there and not the main topic of the report.
What was evident from most of the research I did was that most Eucalyptus produce flowers that are attractive to bees, with Eucalyputs Globulus being the most commonly cultivated specifically for honey production in South Africa’s Cape Provence, Australia and Brazil generally. I suspect when you buy a jar of Eucalyptus honey in the supermarket, the honey will have its origins in the plantations of these countries.
Still Eucalyptus Globulus is frost hardy and grows most places, including here in Ireland 😉
Another non Eucalyptus tree to consider for early flowering is Paulownia.
Grants are available for beekeepers in Ireland, though a stipulation is that you are a member of a recognised beekeeping federation:
If you are new to beekeeping, then this would seem a good place to start. Beginning with bees I do have it in mind to have a hive for my own personal supply of honey.
I am evidently a big fan of Eucalyptus and most of my trees started producing flowers in the third growing season. Eucalyptus Pulverulenta started producing flowers in their second year, and during a very mild winter 2021 – 22, the first flowers developed at the end of February and they continued well into June; as in the video below, the bees loved them 🐝
Eucalyptus for beekeepers looking to add a splash of colour to their gardens and mini forests.
Please 🙏🏻 don’t get too exited ! most Eucalyptus flowers are white and most of those in the photos below I suspect are growing in the warmer areas of Australia. Australia and Tasmania do have some very cold climatic areas as well !
Few are named by the photographers 😏
Still some great eye candy and you can be sure if I come across a hardy variety with vibrant colourful flowers I will be cultivating them 😉
Photo by Steve Bredemeyer
Photo by phunnyfotos
Photo by Bennilover
Photo by Terri Turner
Eucalyptus Erythrogorys. A popular ornamental tree for obvious reasons, sadly it isn’t a hardy variety, being native to Australia mid western coast around Perth. Fabulous yellow flowers that the bee is evidently enjoying.
Photo by Anni
So there you have it, Eucalyptus for beekeepers 🤣 oh and here’s one tucking in so to speak 🙂