The Q&A Archives: Bee Resistant Plants

Question: Is there a listing of plants which do not attract bees?

Answer: Most flowering plants rely upon bees and other flying insects to transfer pollen, which enables the flowers to produce seeds. It's been my experience that fragrant, brightly colored flowers growing in full sunshine are most attractive to bees, and small flowers growing in the shade are the least attractive to bees - but your mileage may vary.

If you absolutely, positively do not want to attract bees to your landscape, you can plant only non-flowering plants, ornamental grasses (which are wind-pollinated), or plants that produce cones or catkins rather than flowers. Pines, mulberry, willow, boxwood, grapevines, bamboo, and early flowering forsythia are good choices. (Bees and other flying insects are not as active in cold weather as they are in spring, summer and fall. Forsythia blooms in late winter so you'll be able to enjoy color in the garden without the threat of bees.)

If, after reviewing these suggestions, you decide you want to include some color to your summer garden, you might consider adding flowering shrubs such as lilac. You can prune away any flowers produced on the lower branches where bees might be a threat, yet leave flowers on the taller branches where bee activity won't bother you.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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