There is often talk of bee-friendly plants, but which plants do bees dislike? The following plants are not well received by the hummers.
Bees are of particular importance for our habitat because they are among the most important pollinators for many plant species. Unfortunately, the number of bees continues to decline for a variety of reasons, such as an increasing number of monocultures and the use of toxic insecticides. To counter this trend, more and more amateur gardeners are deciding to give the bees a hand in their own garden. But did you know that not every plant is bee-friendly or that there are plants that can harm bees? You can find out here which plants have proven to be unfriendly to bees and therefore not enrich a bee-friendly garden.
Help bees and other insects in your garden. Do you have a quiet corner in your garden where you could set up a bee hotel or an isect hotel? This is good news for all insects and nature!
Plants that bees don’t like
The misconception that all plants are automatically bee-friendly is unfortunately widespread. In fact, there are numerous plants that are unfriendly to bees and that do not please the hard-working insects. There are many reasons why plants are not suitable for bees: some plants produce neither pollen nor nectar, while in others the food supply is severely restricted by double flowers. We have collected ten plants for you that bees do not like at all.
- Garden chrysanthemums
Like hardly any other plant, the chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum) provides bright color accents in autumn. Especially the great flowers, which shine from brilliant white to warm orange to intense purple, turn the heads of many gardeners. However, not all types of chrysanthemums are suitable for bees: especially the highly cultivated garden chrysanthemums often have double flowers, which means that they are unsuitable as bee pastures. If, on the other hand, the gardener resorts to chrysanthemums with simple, unfilled flowers such as the autumn chrysanthemum ‘Hebe’ (Chrysanthemum indicum ‘Hebe’), you can give the bee a real pleasure – with its flowering period from October to November, the plant is an important one Source of food in autumn, when most of the other plants have already withered.
- Cultivated roses
For many gardeners, a garden without roses (Rosa) is hardly imaginable, after all, the majestic flowers ennoble every bed. Only bees cannot win anything from the elegant beauty: Most roses are bred in such a way that their double flowers provide little or no food for beneficial insects. Fortunately, there are also roses that are bee-friendly and beautiful. Especially unfilled varieties such as the dwarf rose or the shrub rose are perfect for the growlers. Wild roses are particularly popular with bees: apple rose (Rosa villosa), wine rose (Rosa rubiginosa) and creeping rose (Rosa arvensis) impress people and animals with their abundance of flowers and are a romantic ornament for every garden.
What would spring be without the export hit from the Netherlands? For many gardeners, tulips (Tulipa cultivars) are among the most beautiful spring flowers in the bed. Especially the colorful varieties, which are a bright eye-catcher in the bed, make the tulip a popular guest in the garden. For beneficial insects, however, tulips are a double-edged sword: while wild tulips such as the vineyard tulip (Tulipa sylvestris) are often approached by many beneficial insects, the value of garden tulips is often very low, making the flower unattractive for bees.
- Double dahlias
Whether in the garden or on the balcony – dahlias (Dahlia) are among the classics in the flowerbed and are an indispensable part of garden design. In particular, the large number of sometimes spectacular flower shapes and colors have helped the plant to achieve the cult status it has today. But it is precisely these opulent flowers that make life difficult for the bees: Not only are the stamens responsible for pollen production often stunted, but the path to the nectar is also blocked by the numerous petals. Bees find no food here. If you don’t want to do without dahlias, you can use unfilled varieties such as the orchid dahlias and the bishop dahlias, because bees like to fly to these.
The pansy (Viola wittrockiana) is a well-known classic among the balcony plants, but is also very popular in beds or as grave decorations. The plant particularly impresses with its enormous color spectrum: Almost all shades of the rainbow, as well as various flower drawings can be found on the pansies. Bees, on the other hand, do not enjoy the colorful flowers – due to the long breeding for the most beautiful bloom possible, the nectaries of the pansy are often stunted, so that they offer little or no food for beneficial insects. Fortunately, this problem does not occur with the closely related horned violet (Viola cornuta), which makes it a great alternative to the bee-unfriendly pansy.
It is a long-runner on the terrace or balcony – the geranium (pelargonium) is a real classic when it comes to planting flower boxes and pots in summer. With its radiant color and its wonderfully double flowers, the geranium is a real eye-catcher and transforms every balcony into an oasis of well-being. But what we humans like is a horror for the beneficial insects: The double flowers of the geranium ensure that the plants hardly produce any pollen and that the nectar is slumbering behind a wall of flower petals inaccessible to the insects. Thus the plants are useless for the bee. Those who want more bee-friendly balcony plants should instead keep an eye on bluebells (Campanula) or lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – these plants are not only beautiful to look at, they also provide bees with enough food.
- Tree of Life
It is one of the most popular hedge plants and is often used as an evergreen privacy screen – the tree of life (Thuja occidentalis) with its smooth, slightly shiny needles is a popular guest in many gardens. Their extremely frost-hardy and easy-care species ensure that the hedge plant is a popular plant. However, the tree of life is not a lifesaver for bees – like all conifers, the thuja relies on wind pollination, which is why it does not provide nectar or pollen for the small animals. But a hedge does not always have to be bee-unfriendly: Bee-friendly hedge alternatives that also look good would be, for example, privet (Ligustrum), snowberry (Symphoricarpos) or the Deutzia (Deutzia).
- Forest trees
Unfortunately, not only are conifers unfriendly to bees – numerous forest trees are also worthless to the small insects. Oaks (Quercus), birches (Betula) or beeches (Fagus) rely on wind pollination and therefore have no value for bees. Only the rare supply of honeydew that occurs when trees are infested with aphids ensures that bees can be found on the forest trees from time to time. Aspens (Populus tremula) and alders (Alnus) are also not good pastures for bees, because they donate a small amount of pollen, but no nectar. In order to create a bee-friendly garden, it is therefore best to fall back on fruit trees: These not only provide bees with a very good range of food, but also reward their gardeners with delicious fruits. Deciduous trees such as the bee tree (Tetradium daniellii), the sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) or various types of willow (Salix) are ideal for bee-friendly planting.
With its numerous blue-violet flowers, the lilac (Syringa vulgaris) is one of the most beautiful ornamental trees that can be found in the garden. In addition to its magnificent, almost opulent flower arrangement, the plant inspires above all with its wonderfully sweet scent that wafts through the whole garden. But despite the large number of flowers, the lilac is actually not a bee-friendly species: One problem with the plant is that many highly cultivated noble varieties only produce little nectar and are therefore not suitable as a fodder plant. But bees also avoid wild lilacs. The reason for this is the poisonous ingredients of the plant, which among other things make the nectar taste extremely bitter – that makes the plant extremely uninteresting. But don’t worry – the black elder (Sambucus nigra), which is also known as lilac, is a very good pasture for bees, unlike the common lilac.
What a splendor of flowers – when the forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia) shows its numerous, golden yellow flowers in March, it transforms into a real eye-catcher in the garden. The luminous eye-catcher, which is also known under the name of gold bells, is also very popular because of its frost resistance and compact growth. But anyone who believes that such a sea of flowers is bee-friendly is wrong. In fact, the forsythia is a sham: the flowers look beautiful, but are dry, which means they do not produce nectar or pollen. The plant is completely worthless for bees because it offers them no food. A good alternative to forsythia is the cornel cherry (Cornus mas), because it also blooms wonderfully yellow at the same time and is also a good pasture for bees. Those who do not want to do without the forsythia can fall back on the ‘Beatrix Farrand’ variety – this is one of the few forsythia species that produce pollen.
Of course, in addition to plants that are unfriendly to bees, there are also numerous species that are particularly suitable for bees. I have linked you to a mixture of plant seeds that bees like very much. Just plant a few of these plants in the garden and do something good for the bees and other insects!
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