Seed catalog or Site that tells whether plants are good for Bees

Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)February 3, 2013

I'm a new gardener and bought from High Country Gardens the last 2 years for 2 reasons: 1) plants were mainly for my growing situation- altitude, drought tolerant, and 2) they had nice little icons that would show if a plant was good for pollinators- bees, butterflies, birds, etc.

Because there are so many hybrid versions of plants, I can't tell if I'm getting something that's good for bees or not because the sites don't mention them. I have been on several- looked through lists on this forum, but does anyone use a site that tells you if a plant is good for pollinators? I have read that hybrid versions have had most of the beneficial stuff that attracts pollinators breeded out.

Thanks!

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I have read that hybrid versions have had most of the beneficial stuff that attracts pollinators breeded out.

Hybrids of what? Annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, etc.? That claim, while it might apply to some, would NOT apply to hundreds of different flower, herb, and vegetable varieties.

If I understand your question correctly you are seeking to attract pollinators - specifically bees - to your garden. Can I ask for what purpose? Are you raising bees or merely want to insure adequate pollination when it is needed? For flowers I assume rather than vegetables or herbs since flowers is what HCG specializes in - drought-tolerant landscaping. You understand I assume that many plants are self-pollinating and no bees are needed?

So assuming the goal here is flowers that attract pollinators then a Google search is the place to start as it will lead you to lots of sites with lists of flowers that attract pollinators. Some lists specify bees.

Once you compose the list of flowers you are interested in then you can order them from any seed company - many of which are much less expensive than HCG.

Hope this helps.

Dave

PS: linked one such list below

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant lists for bees

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 3:12PM
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mandolls(4)

Saw you post this morning then ran across this in the afternoon

Here is a link that might be useful: important for bees

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 4:07PM
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Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)

Thanks Mandolls.

Dave- I have a bee hive and want to plant for them, plus attract butterflies, hummingbirds, birds, etc. It's not for pollination purposes.

I make no claims to understanding gardening yet. I have read that when flowers are hybridized they lack the same amount of nectar and pollen than before. Therefore pollinators have to work extra hard to get what they need to survive. For example, sunflowers- i bought a packet at the garden shop last year and only realized too late that I bought the pollen-less variety. When I looked this us, that's when I read about hybrid flowers. Another indicator was the number of rows of petals in the flower as having less nectar.

I could be over thinking this and should just plant some things. I just keeping thinking back to year 1 of gardening and all the marigolds I bought to put in my garden, only to learn that I needed to buy French Marigolds in order to attract the beneficial insects.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 5:03PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I have read that when flowers are hybridized they lack the same amount of nectar and pollen than before.

Yes, as I said above, that is true for some hybrid flowers. It all depends on the degree of hybridization, the genetic changes that are made by the hybridization - what genes are messed with. :)

What determines the resulting changes is whatever the purpose of hybridizing the particular flower is - EX: different color genes won't affect nectar or pollen production, but size/height/flower diameter genes may affect it but they could make it more or less, etc. Some hybrids are created specifically to produce greater amounts of pollen.

Hybridizing for sex purposes - all female or all male would definitely affect the nectar production.

So in other words it isn't an all or nothing issue in as that statement would imply. Some hybrids may produce less nectar, some may produce more, some may be unaffected. See what I mean? If you want to get deep into the subject and the botany and biochemistry of it here is one good article.

all the marigolds I bought to put in my garden, only to learn that I needed to buy French Marigolds in order to attract the beneficial insects.

Don't know where that info came from as many species of marigolds are considered attractors. Same goes for most varieties of sunflowers, cosmos, celosia, all the salvias, 4 o'clocks, columbine, etc.

And don't forget the herbs. Many of them, if left to bloom are very attractive to all the pollinators.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Check out this discussion and pics

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 5:31PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

My sedums are enormously popular with insect pollinators of all kinds. But, in my experience, Agastache is phenomenal at attracting insect pollinators as well as birds, after the seeds have set. I call my Agastache " beesicles". They'll be covered with honeybees when in bloom.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:42AM
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weirdtrev

So the answer here is to grow native plants to your area. Most places don't label if things are bee friendly but do label native plants. Native plants are something that you might come across on a hike through the wilderness in your area.

And when it comes to hybrids rest assured pollinators will go to them as well. The difference is that native plants typically are plants you can find right in the wild. What makes them successful as plants is that they are attractive to pollinators, because without pollinators the plants wouldn't reproduce.

Now most hybrids, and really anything that has been bred by humans, we've taken pollinators out of the equation because we breed them and pollinate them ourselves to get seed. We also select plants to continue breeding based on appearance or disease resistance and rarely, if ever, based on if pollinators go to them.

If you are worried about your beehives look up your local apiarists and ask them what they plant. I know a handful of people that raise bees they really don't do anything in terms of plants because the bees travel far and wide, they'll find what they are looking for without your help. That being said there are wildflower mixes that are for bees. I also know that the beekeepers I know have 50lb bags of sugar to mix with water and feed the bees.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:37PM
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