Best Fall Flowers for Honey Bees

As the colder temperatures finally start creeping into our Northern Virginia landscapes, you may wonder what the honey bees are up to prior to forming their winter clusters. While the weather in Virginia tends to flirt in between spring and winter temps, honey bees find themselves in a limbo of sorts waiting for winter temps to come so they can call it a season and tuck into their hives for the winter.

Here are the best 5 fall flowers for honeybees.

But on those warmer pre-fall days, long after the spring blooms have called it quits for the year, what’s left blooming for honeybees? You’d be surprised about a few fall flowers that put in late season work for our flying friends. Here are the best 8 fall flowers for honeybees.


One of the earliest fall bloomers, goldenrods often ring in the fall weather gracing roadsides with their bright, yellow blooms making them one of our favorites for fall flowering plants. The dusty yellow coloring provides a welcoming warmth for the cooler weather. Often blamed as the culprit for fall allergies, it’s actually ragweed at fault which happens to bloom at the same time as goldenrods.

Purple Aster

Gorgeous in color, these adorable purple flowers feature delicate lilac petals and typically bloom in the wild making them a favorite for honeybees. Native to North America, you can find purple aster blooming in parts of Virginia during the fall season. Growing 2 – 3 feet in height and being resilient to drought makes these some tough flowers! Birds and butterflies also enjoy these fall flowering plants.

Maximilian Sunflower

A sister plant to the more recognized sunflower, the Maximilian sunflower finds its peak in the fall season making it our third runner-up for cooler colored blooms. Also native to North America, this sunflower grows just as tall at around 5 – 8 feet with 3-inch blooms.

Joe Pye Weed

As resilient as it is red, the Joe Pye weed is a strong contender for fall flowers. Ranging from 3 to upwards of 7 feet tall, this towering flower thrives in slightly moist soils. With nectar-rich blooms, this is a favorite of both bees and butterflies.


Almost as pretty as it is horrifying to spell, this fall favorite decorates the stoops and flower beds of any avid Northern VA gardener. This versatile perennial prefer a sunny spot and drink of water as the soil starts to dry out. With their seemingly never-ending range of colors, chrysanthemums can be a huge hit in decor and food for flying bees.

Thinking of helping our bee friends through the fall? Consider planting these top 5 fall flowers to get the bees a little leg up on winter clustering as well as sprucing up your fall foliage game!