Wordless Wednesday–Bad For Bees?

Double Rose of Sharon

In keeping with Monday’s theme of “Plant Adaptation,” here’s a plant that has been bred to have lovely double flowers and variegated leaves. It’s one of my favorites in the garden and I always post about it when it’s in bloom.

Larger view of variegated double rose of sharon

As I stood watching, before I took these photos, however, it became obvious to me that the bees had to do quite a bit of extra work to get to whatever pollen was there. And as I watched further, I noticed that they were not coming back out “pollen laden” either.

It’s entirely possible this plant is sterile. I know I don’t find little plants popping up all around it.

But for those that argue that “nativars” (which this is surely NOT) are the same as native plants, perhaps they might want to watch the bees for awhile on them.

4 thoughts on “Wordless Wednesday–Bad For Bees?

  1. roberta4949 August 13, 2014 / 10:16 pm

    was that a rose of Sharon? they bees we have love them, in fact if you see bees coming out without pollen it might be because another bee got there before him. it is possible to have sterile flowers, many horticulturists are trying to come up with plants so people can have the flowers without the mess of seeds or unedible nuts or fruits from them, or have them reseed popping up every where like the mimosas do, but that might not be a good idea since so many animals depend on flowers for survival like bees some other insects like some flies and butterflies.

  2. gardendaze August 14, 2014 / 6:43 am

    Hi Roberta,
    Thanks for your thought. Yes, you could be right, except I watched the bees go in and out of numerous flowers & come out “pollen-less”, for lack of a better word. I’ve watched what you describe too–in that case, the bees don’t hang around the plant very long. They “get it” that the plant has been harvested and move on. But great observation!

    I have the more traditional rose of sharon in another garden–the kind where you can actually see the pollen laden stamen in the middle of the bloom. That kind is always full of bees–bees full of pollen too.

    What I was thinking about with this post was those really frilly cone flowers. I don’t even know their names because I don’t grow them. But I’m willing to believe wildlife gets no benefit from those at all.

    I have a neighbor with lots of them in her garden. I’ll have to watch as they go to seed.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.


  3. Jim August 22, 2014 / 12:45 pm

    It is no doubt a very beautiful shrub. The double form is gorgeous and the variegation is just icing on the cake. Just this year I started watching some British Cottage Gardening videos on YouTube and one woman really only plants single-flowered plants, and she does it all for the bees. Certainly you have no shortage of single flowers for the bees to feast upon, so having your double rose of sharon is no crime against nature! LOL But watching those videos caused a shift in my thinking that we not only garden for our own enjoyment and for the beauty of it, but for our buzzing friends as well. 🙂

    • gardendaze August 22, 2014 / 1:34 pm

      Hi Jim,

      As a general rule, I try to consider all the pollinators when I’m planting–bees, butterflies, hummingbirds–you get the idea. And if I choose my plants, I’m always going to go for the plant that is best for the “wildlife.” But also I’m fortunate as well to be part of a Proven Winners shrub test program. They send me shrubs–often before they’re even on the market–to test. So I can’t always choose my varieties. This lovely hibiscus, Sugar Tip, was part of that program.

      I’ve recently learned that ants pollinate our spring ephemeral wildflowers. Now I’ve always been a fan of the ants–so long as they’re outside–because they help aerate my heavy clay. But ants are pollinators too!

      In this day when so many pollinators are threatened, I don’t think we can carelessly douse insects with poison anymore. We just don’t understand their importance.

      Thanks for reading & commenting!


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