Trees for Bees in Canterbury

On this page you will find lists of trees that attract bees in Canterbury. Download the full brochure as a PDF
LEGEND: Common Name (Scientific name) — Life form, Maximum height in metres, Months of flowering

Native Trees and Shrubs for Bees

Native plants are the best choice to increase “on-farm” native biodiversity and benefit both the honey bee and the environment.
  • Cabbage tree (Cordyline australis) — Tree, 15m, Oct-Dec
  • Five-finger (Pseudopanax arboreus) — Tree, 8m, Jun-Aug
  • Hebe (Hebe spp. e.g., gracillima) — Shrubs
  • Horoeka (Pseudopanax crassifolius) — Tree, -6m
  • Kānuka (Kunzea ericoides) — Tree/Shrub, 15m, Sep-Feb
  • Karangū (Coprosma lucida) — Tree/Shrub, 4m
  • Kohuhu (Pittosporum tenuifolium) — Tree, 6m, Oct-Jan
  • Koromiko (Hebe salicifolia) — Shrub, 3m, Jan-Feb-(Apr)
  • Lemonwood (Pittosporum eugenioides) — Tree, 10m, Oct-Dec
  • Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) – Tree/Shrub, 5m, Sep-Mar
  • Matagouri (Discaria toumatou) — Tree/Shrub, 5m, Oct-Jan
  • Narrow-lv lacebark (Hoheria angustifolia) — Tree, 10m, Dec-Mar
  • NZ flax (Phormium tenax) — Tufted, up to 5m flw. stalk, Nov-Dec
  • Ngaio (Myoporum laetum) — Tree/Shrub, 8m, Jul-Apr
  • North Island broom (Carmichaelia australis) — Shrub, 2m, Oct-Feb
  • Pink tree broom (Carmichaelia glabrescens) — Shrub, 3m, Dec
  • Scented broom (Carmichaelia odorata) — Shrub, 3m
  • South Island broom (Carmichaelia arborea) — Tree/Shrub, 3m
  • Sth. Rata (Metrosideros umbellata) — Tree/Shrub, 15m, Nov-Jan
  • Tree fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) — Tree/Shrub, 12m, Jun-Jan
  • Weeping kowhai (Sophora microphylla) — Tree, 10m

Non-native Trees and Shrubs for Bees

Exotic plants are good choices because many are multi-purpose for farming and have excellent pollen and nectar.
  • Apple (Malus ×domestica) — Tree, Sep-Nov
  • Bottlebrush (Callistemon splendens) — Shrub, 2m, Oct
  • Grevillea (Grevillea spp. e.g., ‘Clearview David’, or ‘Victoria’)
  • Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) – Tree, 36m,Oct-Nov
  • Lavender (Lavandula stoechas) — Shrub, 1m, Sept-Dec
  • Pear (Pyrus communis) — Tree, Sep-Oct
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) — Shrub, 1.5m, Sep-Nov
  • Tree lucerne (Chamaecytisus palmensis) Tree, 5m, May-Oct
  • Blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) — Tree, 40m, Sept-Dec
  • Ribbon gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) — Tree, 40m, Jul-Apr
  • Silver dollar gum (Eucalyptus cinerea) — Tree, 15m, Dec-Feb
  • Snow gum (E. pauciflora subsp. niphophila) — Tree, 18m, Sep-Nov
  • Swamp peppermint (Eucalyptus rodwayi) — Tree, 15m, Mar-Jun
  • White ironbark (Eucalyptus leucoxylon) — Tree, 30m, Mar-Nov
  • Yellow box (Eucalyptus melliodora) — Tree, 30m, Dec-Feb
  • Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) — Tree, 25m, Aug-Sep
  • To match the plants to your site, consult your plant adviser, e.g., Southern Woods Nursery 03 347 9221;,
  • Email:;.
  • The plants listed above are examples of good Bee Plants that are not on any list of pest plants (weeds) for Canterbury. See our
  • website for further examples and guidelines. Although some plants are good for bees they are on pest plant lists because they are
  • invasive. Planting them would be detrimental to farmers or to the environment and in some cases even illegal (e.g., Unwanted
  • Organisms list). Lists of pest plants change regularly so it is best to consult your regional authorities.
  • 1 Canterbury Regional Pest Management Strategy is listed at 2
  • Plants listed in the strategy must not be planted for various
  • reasons. Contact your Regional Council (Phone 0800 324 636)
  • or for advice about your area.
  • For example do not plant:
  • Sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) — Tree
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) — Shrub
  • Flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) — Shrub
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) — Tree/Shrub
  • Gorse (Ulex europaeus) — Shrub 3
  • Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) — Shrub
  • Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) — Shrub
  • Spanish heath (Erica lusitanica) — Shrub
The National Pest Plant Accord (NPPA) is listed at Plants listed on the NPPA are unwanted organisms under
the Biosecurity Act 1993 and cannot be sold, propagated or distributed even though some are high value bee plants
For example do not plant:
  • Crack willow (Salix fragilis) — Tree
  • Grey willow (Salix cinerea) — Tree/Shrub
  • Lantana (Lantana camara) — Shrub
  • Scottish heather (Calluna vulgaris) — Shrub
The Department of Conservation (DOC) Weed List
contains around 20 high value bee plants that are
aggressive environmental weeds. To protect the
environment, please consult a DOC weed expert for your
Thanks to the New Zealand Charitable Honey Industry Trust for funding. This list was produced from Landcare Research databases with support from the Oceania Pollinator Initiative For other regional Bee
Plant Guides and how to use them see Federated Farmers website or contact Shona Sluys at or Linda Newstrom-Lloyd at

3 comments on “Trees for Bees in Canterbury

  1. Betty Reuter on said:

    We have a very big old Ngaio tree in our garden. It has a lot of dead wood in it. I was wandering if this sort of tree needs pruning or not? It only has leaves at the tips of the branches. Is this how it grows?
    Hoping for your reply.
    Many thanks

  2. Hi Betty,

    Hmmm sounds like it is a bit sick – all teh dead wood should be removed – I highly recommend getting advice from a qualified arborist who will be able to tell you if it will survive and if so get a maintenance program underway.

    Use the search panel to your right.


  3. Betty Reuter on said:

    thanks so much. We had it pruned professionally and it looks much better.
    It is an old tree, but still has a bit of life in it, fortunately not diseased!

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