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Do Hydrangeas Attract Bees? (The Best Hydrangeas for Bees)

Do hydrangeas attract bees? If so, which hydrangeas attract bees? Find out in this article!

Do Hydrangeas Attract Bees

Hello and welcome to Hydrangea Love!

This website is dedicated to all things hydrangeas and their beautiful blooms.

Hydrangeas are beloved ornamental plants known for their lush and vibrant blooms.

As gardeners and nature enthusiasts admire these beautiful flowers, a common question often arises: Do hydrangeas attract bees?

In this article, we will explore the intriguing relationship between hydrangeas and bees to uncover whether these popular garden plants play a role in attracting these essential pollinators.

The Anatomy of Hydrangea Flowers:

To understand the connection between hydrangeas and bees, it’s crucial to examine the anatomy of hydrangea flowers.

Hydrangea blossoms are composed of numerous small flowers clustered together in a spherical shape. Each tiny flower consists of reproductive parts, including stamens and pistils.

The colorful sepals surrounding these flowers give hydrangeas their distinctive appearance.

Bees and Pollination:

Bees are crucial pollinators in the ecosystem, playing a pivotal role in the reproduction of many plant species.

Pollination occurs when bees transfer pollen from the male reproductive organs (stamens) of a flower to the female reproductive organs (pistils), facilitating the formation of seeds.

This process is vital for the production of fruits and seeds, ensuring the continuation of plant species.

Hydrangeas and Bee Attraction:

While hydrangeas may not be as famous as some other flowering plants in attracting bees, they do play a role in supporting pollinators.

The nectar-rich flowers of hydrangeas can indeed attract bees, especially certain species that are drawn to the sweet reward offered by the plants.

The extent to which hydrangeas attract bees can depend on various factors, including the specific hydrangea variety, environmental conditions, and the availability of other flowering plants in the vicinity.

Some hydrangea varieties may be more appealing to bees than others, influencing the level of bee activity around these plants.

Do Hydrangeas Attract Bees? Top Hydrangeas for Bees

So which hydrangeas attract bees?

While any hydrangea variety can support pollinators and contribute to the biodiversity of your garden, there are a few specific varieties that are especially good picks.

While hydrangeas, in general, can offer a nectar-rich environment that can entice pollinators, some varieties stand out as particularly attractive to bees.

Here are a few hydrangea varieties known for their bee-friendly appeal:

1. Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf Hydrangea):

Do endless summer hydrangeas attract bees

This popular hydrangea variety is well-known for its large, globe-shaped blooms.

The abundance of tiny flowers within each cluster provides ample opportunities for bees to collect nectar.

Additionally, the varying colors of Hydrangea macrophylla, including blue, pink, and purple, can attract a diverse range of bee species.

P.S. It is important to note that there are many sub-varieties of each major type of hydrangea. “Endless Summer” is one popular bigleaf!

P.S.S. Just be careful if you buy bigleaf hydrangeas as pink flowers – this variety may change into a variety of colors based on the soil they are planted in! It is a good idea to test your soil before planting.

2. Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangea):

Smooth hydrangeas are valued for their white, dome-shaped flower heads.

The numerous small flowers that make up these clusters are rich in nectar, making them appealing to bees. Varieties like ‘Annabelle’ are particularly popular and can be a magnet for pollinators.

3. Hydrangea paniculata (Panicle Hydrangea):

Panicled hydrangeas are known for their elongated flower clusters and cone-shaped blooms.

Related Reading: 11 Cone Hydrangea Varieties We Love

These hydrangeas often produce abundant nectar, attracting not only bees but also butterflies and other pollinators.

Varieties like ‘Limelight’ and ‘PeeGee’ are notable choices that may draw in bees with their showy blossoms.

(Click here to read an in-depth article about the main types of hydrangeas if you want to learn more!)

4. Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea):

Oakleaf hydrangeas feature unique, oak-shaped leaves and cone-shaped flower clusters.

The creamy-white blossoms are not only visually appealing but also provide a source of nectar for bees.

The attractiveness of Oakleaf hydrangeas to bees can vary among different cultivars.

5. Hydrangea serrata (Mountain Hydrangea):

Similar to Hydrangea macrophylla, mountain hydrangeas produce compact clusters of flowers in various hues.

The intricate lacecap and mophead varieties within this group can offer bees access to nectar, making them an appealing choice for those looking to attract pollinators.

Remember, while these hydrangea varieties are recognized for their bee-attracting qualities, it’s essential to consider local climate conditions and the specific preferences of bee species in your region.

6. Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Lacecap’ (Lacecap Hydrangea):

which hydrangeas attract bees

Lacecap hydrangeas are characterized by flat-topped clusters of flowers with tiny, fertile flowers surrounded by larger, sterile ones. (Hence, lace caps!)

The open structure of lacecap hydrangeas provides easy access to nectar, making them an attractive option for bees.

In short, lace cap hydrangea can be a great choice for a pollinator plant.

You Might Also Like: Where To Buy Hydrangeas Online (Top Picks)

So, do hydrangea attract bees?

The answer is yes!

Hydrangeas can be pollinator-friendly plants.

However, there are some hydrangea plants that are not particularly attractive to pollinators.

Here are some varieties of hydrangea that are not as effective in attracting bees and creating a bee-friendly environment.

Hydrangea Varieties Less Attractive to Bees:

While hydrangeas are generally capable of attracting bees with their nectar-rich flowers, some varieties may be less enticing to these pollinators.

It’s important to note that individual bee preferences can vary, and factors such as climate and local conditions may influence bee activity.

Here are a few hydrangea varieties that are often considered less attractive to bees:

1. Hydrangea aspera (Rough-leaf Hydrangea):

The large, textured leaves and lacecap-like flower clusters of Hydrangea aspera may be less appealing to some bee species.

While these hydrangeas can still attract pollinators, they might not be as popular among bees compared to other varieties.

2. Hydrangea involucrata (Hairy Hydrangea):

The hairy texture of the leaves and flower stems in this hydrangea species might deter bees in some instances.

While it can still provide nectar, the unique characteristics of Hydrangea involucrata may not make it a top choice for bees seeking floral resources.

3. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’ (Double-Flowered Oakleaf Hydrangea):

Double-flowered hydrangeas, like ‘Snowflake,’ have an abundance of petals that can reduce accessibility to nectar for bees.

While these hydrangeas can still attract some pollinators, they may not be as effective at drawing in bees as other varieties with more accessible nectar.

4. Hydrangea petiolaris (Climbing Hydrangea):

Climbing hydrangeas are prized for their ability to scale walls and structures, producing clusters of white flowers.

However, the placement and structure of the flowers may make them less accessible to certain bee species. Despite this, climbing hydrangeas can still contribute to a garden’s overall appeal and biodiversity.

5. Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nikko Blue’ (Nikko Blue Hydrangea):

While many Hydrangea macrophylla varieties can attract bees, certain cultivars like ‘Nikko Blue’ with its large, tightly packed blooms may be less preferred by bees.

The breeding and selection process that results in specific flower characteristics can influence bee appeal.

P.S. It’s crucial to remember that the attractiveness of hydrangeas to bees can be influenced by various factors, and individual bee species may have distinct preferences.

There are so many different types of hydrangeas to choose from!

But the good news is that several of them do attract bees with their large flowers.

Again, gardeners interested in supporting bee populations should consider planting a diverse range of flowers, including different hydrangea varieties, to create a pollinator-friendly environment in their gardens.

Do bees like hydrangeas?

Encouraging Bee-Friendly Gardens:

Planting a mix of hydrangeas and other flowering plants can create a diverse and inviting habitat for bees, contributing to the overall health of your garden ecosystem.

For those looking to enhance their gardens as pollinator-friendly spaces, incorporating hydrangeas can be a positive step.

While hydrangeas may not be the sole attraction for bees, they contribute to the overall biodiversity and ecological balance within the garden.

Gardeners can further support bee populations by planting a variety of flowers that bloom at different times throughout the year, providing a continuous source of nectar and pollen.

(Planting native plants is another important consideration.)

Creating a diverse and bee-friendly garden not only benefits the bees but also contributes to the health and sustainability of the entire ecosystem.

So, do you want to plant some hydrangeas to attract bees?

Tips for Planting Hydrangeas and Supporting Bee-Friendly Gardens:

Planting hydrangeas requires attention to detail to ensure their successful growth and to create a welcoming environment for bees.

Here are some basic tips for planting hydrangeas and supporting a bee-friendly garden:

  • Choose the Right Variety:

Select hydrangea varieties that thrive in your climate and soil conditions.

Different species and cultivars have specific requirements, so choose those that are well-suited to your local environment.

  • Optimal Planting Time:

Plant hydrangeas during the early spring or fall when the weather is mild. (Early summer is usually okay, too.)

This allows the plants to establish their root systems before the stress of summer or winter.

  • Site Selection:

Choose a location with well-draining soil and partial shade.

Full sun is not advised for most species of hydrangeas.

While hydrangeas can tolerate some sunlight, too much direct sun exposure may lead to wilting. A balance of sunlight and shade is ideal.

  • Soil Preparation:

Hydrangeas prefer rich, organic and well-drained soil. Incorporate compost or well-rotted manure into the planting hole to enhance soil fertility and moisture retention.

A slightly acidic to neutral pH is generally suitable. However, soil pH can affect the color of some hydrangea varieties, so be careful if you’re choosing your showy blooms based on color.

  • Proper Planting Depth:

Plant hydrangeas at the same depth as they were in their nursery containers.

Avoid planting them too deep or too shallow, as this can affect their overall health and growth.

  • Spacing Considerations:

Allow enough space between hydrangea plants to ensure proper air circulation.

Proper spacing helps prevent diseases and allows each plant to receive adequate sunlight.

  • Watering Routine:

Hydrangeas appreciate consistent moisture, especially during the growing season.

Water deeply to encourage a strong root system. Their showy flowers need quite a bit of water in the late summer. However, avoid waterlogged conditions, as this can lead to root rot.

  • Mulching:

Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the hydrangea to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

Mulching also contributes to the overall health of the plant.

  • Pruning Practices:

Learn about the specific pruning requirements of your hydrangea variety.

While some hydrangeas bloom on old wood and should be pruned after flowering, others bloom on new wood and can be pruned in late winter or early spring. Other varieties can be pruned in late fall without problems.

  • Fertilization:

Fertilize hydrangeas with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in spring.

Avoid excessive use of high-nitrogen fertilizers, as this may promote lush foliage at the expense of flower production.

By following these basic tips, you can create an environment where hydrangeas thrive, providing not only aesthetic beauty but also contributing to a pollinator-friendly garden that attracts bees and supports overall biodiversity.

In conclusion, hydrangeas do have the potential to attract bees, particularly those seeking nectar from the beautiful blossoms.

While they may not be the most prominent bee magnets, hydrangeas play a valuable role in supporting pollinators as a food source and contributing to the overall ecological balance of a garden.

As we appreciate the aesthetic appeal of hydrangeas, let us also celebrate their role in fostering a harmonious relationship between plants and bees in our outdoor spaces.

Until next time,

Your Fellow Hydrangea Lover

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