While bees are needed for pollination in some plants, several other elements including wind play an essential role in the reproductive process of plants.
So, bees certainly don’t have an exclusive designation in the procedure. Now, while the insects are less hostile when foraging, people are wary of stings and would like to do away with the menace.
For those of you who are not particularly keen on creating an inviting environment for bees, the good news is that the task of pollination can also be accomplished by birds, moths and butterflies, the latter being a delightful addition to your garden.
However, bees can be a persistent lot that cannot be kept away from colorful and fragrant blooms. So, if you want to create a less than hospitable garden for these insects, here is a list of plant that do not attract bees and the floral attributes that they don’t find exceptionally appealing.
The flowers that bees don’t particularly like!
Bees are only attracted to white, yellow, purple and blue blooms which are highly fragrant, In other words, despite the aesthetic appeal of a plant and its flowers, if they don’t smell fantastic, bees just won’t be interested.
Also, bees don’t like red blooms because they can see red as gray, an extremely unappealing color to their senses.
These insects also tend to stay away from flowers with packed petals and several inner layers of corolla. They find it too cumbersome to navigate through the maze and get to the nectar.
So, this leaves you with a myriad of options when choosing ‘bee proof’ plants for your garden. Here are just some of the popular varieties that will add to the beauty of your garden without compromising your safety.
Flowering plants that do not attract bees
- Foxglove: The long throated blooms of this plant are simply not attractive to bees; they are pollinated by hummingbirds as only they can reach into the long throat with their beaks to suck the nectar.
The blossoms open up on long spiky stems and are available in fascinating shades of red, cream, magenta and white.
The plant is perennial; however, you will need to give it two years after sowing to see the first blooms.
They need ample of water and partial shade along with medium rich soil for the plant to grow to a maximum height of 5 feet. However, all parts of Foxglove are toxic to humans and animals.
- Zinnias: These small shrubs with their colorful harvest are the perfect addition to any garden, big or small. The flowers have a wide open center that does not appeal to bees, so pollination is done by butterflies that can easily perch on the petals to get to the nectar.
Available in a myriad of colors and sizes, the plant is a tender annual that needs fertile, well-drained soil and full sun.
- Datura: Pollinated by moths, the flattened trumpet shape of datura blooms and their varied colors make them ideal for any garden.
The flowers open just before sunset, emitting a scent to attract their pollinating agents, the moths.
The plant is perennial and grows well in temperate zones.
Datura is perfect for those parts of the garden that prove inhospitable for other plants; the plant can bear full sun and is self seeding. The flowers and the seeds of Datura are poisonous to both humans and animals.
- Marigolds: The bright yellow and orange blooms of marigold contrast beautifully against the green foliage of the plant. The flowers have low pollen and no fragrance so they do not attract bees. Also, the double corolla arrangement is unappealing to the insects.
Although humans do not find the odor emitted by the blooms offensive, it is repugnant to bees. The plants grow well in warm, sunny spots and needs well drained and fertilized soil. It can grow to a height of 2 to 5 feet. Marigolds work well when used as a border for large flower beds.
- Roses: The ever popular roses are a welcome addition to almost every garden; although the plants will need a lot of TLC, the gorgeous blooms are well worth the trouble.
The added advantage is that the unscented varieties of rose do not attract bees; particularly red roses.
Available in a plethora of colors from purple to orange and yellow to white and even the multi colors, roses are perennial and easily available at most plant nurseries.
- Chrysanthemums: Also known simply as “mums”, the double corolla of the flowers does not attract bees. Available in a huge range of colors including red, maroon, white, yellow, orange, pink and cream; the plant needs a sunny spot and well drained soil.
They don’t survive frost, so you will need to protect them once the temperatures start dipping. Also, remember to plant these low pollen shrubs at least 18 to 24 inches apart to give them enough space to thrive. If you live in a warm, arid area, you will need to water them frequently.
- Penstemon: A specific variety of penstemon known as beardtongue is known to repel bees. The flowers of this plant are red with a long, narrow bell shaped corolla. The shape of the blooms promotes pollination through hummingbirds but not bees. The plant commonly grows in western North America.
- Carnations: A member of the dianthus family, carnations are beautiful to human senses but the bees seem to think differently. The plant does not attract bees, despite the fantastic yellow, red and white blooms.
The most common variety of the plant has a single large flower on one stem while other sub species may have more than one bud growing from a single stem. The plant can be grown easily using cuttings from other plants of the species; it should be grown in late fall or early winter.
- Strawflower: Red starflowers are natural bee deterrents; the perennial plant grows to a height of 3 feet and is indigenous to Australia. The advantage of using this plant in your garden is that it belongs to a family of flowering shrubs known as “everlasting”. The adjective points to the exceptional lasting power of the blooms which tend to stay intact long after they have dried.
Apart from these, hibiscus, particularly red and pink blooms of the species and feverfew also work well if you want to keep bees at bay.
When shopping for plants that repel the insect, ensure that you carefully research the characteristics of the bloom.
For instance, tiny, white, highly fragrant blooms like jasmine are bee magnets.
Recommended Flowering Plants Books :