What A Supermarket Display Can Tell Us About Bee Preference

I was on my way in to my local supermarket when a garish orange flower caught my eye. Being a gardener of course, I had to detour over to take a look.

Mystery tropical

I’ve no idea what this is–of course it wasn’t labeled. It’s quite eye catching. But even were I so inclined to buy it, I wouldn’t and here’s why. Every buzzing thing on the table was avoiding it like the plague. Who wants that in a garden?

Actually, some later research indicates it’s a tropical called crossandra. And that it’s a shade plant. Interesting since it was in full blazing sun. I wonder if it will still be there this week and fried to a crisp?


Of course, I couldn’t investigate too carefully because the plants were interspersed with these lovely blue agastache–a brilliant marketing scheme, as well as great color design. Of course, I happened to take the one shot where there wasn’t a bee on the flower. But every other flower stalk was literally covered in bumble bees and honey bees. I’ve got to set the brightness on the camera so I can see what I’m doing, clearly (no pun intended!)


As I headed toward the store door, I was again stopped, this time by the pentas. What had me transfixed this time, however, other than the lovely pinks and reds of the flowers, was the fact that these plants were covered in hornets (or yellow jackets–I wasn’t stepping in too closely to try to tell the difference!)

Again, lovely plant–but not necessarily something you want to bring home if it’s going to attract these visitors. And really, you’re going to have to be careful how you even reach for this one. No wonder this flower display is so lush and full–no one can reach for any of the plants!

2 thoughts on “What A Supermarket Display Can Tell Us About Bee Preference

  1. Donna@GardensEyeView August 25, 2014 / 11:41 am

    I know what you mean…the flowers I bought from a grower who failed to answer my question about what they used have no bees…thousands everywhere else though…even the hummers avoided them.

  2. gardendaze August 25, 2014 / 12:38 pm

    Interesting. There was a story earlier this summer about box stores using pesticides that might kill bees on their flowers. I wonder if perhaps the insects and hummers had the good sense to know, somehow, that the flowers had been treated with something? Maybe your grower was using something topical as opposed to the systemic that the box stores were using and the bees could sense it?

    I was down at the shore this weekend and saw some pentas. Thankfully they had bees and not hornets on them. I think the ones in the supermarket display must have had some sap that were drawing the hornets.

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