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Which flowers are best?

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Joined 2012-05-29

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Can anyone help please.

I am trying to only have bee friendly plants and flowers in my garden and am currently re-designing my small garden.

I have just bought 2 Rudbeckia goldsturm which say they attract bees but i haven’t seen one bee on them! Lots of hoverflies but no bees. I also want to get an Echinacea but am worried they won’t attract bees like the Rudbeckia too.

Last year i bought 3 Cosmos plants from the garden centre but this year i grew them from seed and have 41 plants in my garden. The bumble’s have been on these consistently all summer and i am wondering if the cosmos provide more nectar or pollen, than the Rudbeckia and that is why the bees are not going to the Rudbeckia. Can anyone help with this query at all?

Thanks for reading this grin

     
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Joined 2012-07-17

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I’ve definitely seen this too - in general I think you’ll get bees on purple/blue/red flowers and hoverflies on yellow - I guess the different colours just appeal to different species.

Our Echinacea, which is a regular pink one, had loads of bees all summer, so I wouldn’t worry on that score, although I have noticed that the fancier varieties attract less - as with many plants, they’ve been bred for colour or whatever which may well deplete the nectar stores but the breeders aren’t worry about it.

     
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Joined 2012-05-29

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Thanks for your reply Malcolm. I never thought of the colour being a factor, so thanks.

I will go ahead with buying the Echinacea then from your recommendation. Cheers grin

     
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Joined 2012-06-11

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Hi Alibumble,
I am glad you asked this question as I have been wondering the same thing, all bees are completely ignoring the rudbeckia in my garden too but as Malcolm says the hoverflies are enjoying them. There definiately seems to be a constantly changing order of preference depending on what is available.
I have also noticed that unlike all the other bees, the common carder bees are ignoring the sedums in my garden, much prefering the wild knapweed so wondered if the favored plants also depends on the types of bee visiting.
best regards,  Carol

     
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I do know that different bees have different length of proboscis, which affects the type of flower that they can access the nectar on - might be causing the difference that you’re seeing.

     
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Joined 2012-06-11

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That’s interesting Malcolm, as with most things. there is obviously more to this subject than first meets the eye.

     
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Total Posts: 91

Joined 2012-05-29

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Thanks Carol and Malcolm for your replies. It certainly is food for thought.

     
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Joined 2012-05-22

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Hi alibumble

Both rudbeckia and cosmos as good food plants for bees and other pollinators, but each plant can probably feed different species. I believe that rudbeckia has quite a shallow flower, and is most appealing to those species with short tongues (and hoverflies!). Cosmos flowers have small florets that are deeper and wider, and easier for those species with long tongues to feed from. I would keep both plants in, just because they can then feed a greater diversity of bees.

Try looking at them at different times of day, as some flowers produce nectar at different times. It may be that the rudbeckia is producing its enctar early and it’s not being replenished quickly enough.

Hope this helps!