Q. What colors are bees attracted to in the garden?
Bees do not see color the same way humans do, so they are attracted to certain flower colors. Plants on the blue and yellow end of the color spectrum attract bees because those are the colors they can easily perceive. Darker colors such as red appear black to bees, and since black is the absence of color bees are not naturally attracted to plants with red hues. Also, some tubular flowers are not attractive to bees because the shape is not conducive to pollination.
Choosing red plants will discourage bees in the garden. Annual (and some non-annual) plants that add beauty to a garden while not attracting bees include marigolds (Tagetes), tulips (Tulipa), daylilies (Hemerocallis), Impatiens and pinks or carnations (Dianthus). Both tulips and daylilies can be considered perennials in most areas but are also commonly used as annuals. Ornamental grasses are also an attractive option. Flowering herbs such as mint (Mentha), thyme (Thymus), rosemary (Rosmarinus), and feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) are another less showy option that can work because bees do not like the smell these plants give off. If you want to add some visual interest in the fall, chrysanthemums are an excellent option and come in a wide variety of shapes and colors.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our https://libguides.nybg.org/portalpage.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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