Ask a Question forum: Hydrangeas Macrophylla

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Minneapolis, MN, Ramsey County
Oct 11, 2017 4:52 AM CST
Are there any pollinators for Hydrangea Macrophylla?
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Oct 11, 2017 7:05 AM CST

A couple of articles suggest bumble bees are common visitors to Hydrangea macrophylla so one might assume they are the main pollinators, however this article from New Zealand lists other insects that visit it there:
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
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Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hummingbirder Plant Identifier
Oct 11, 2017 7:40 AM CST
Some H. macrophylla are sterile. My reading on the subject says they have no actual flowers and no pollinators will visit them.

Do you know which one you have?
Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas
Oct 24, 2017 8:38 PM CST
I agree with Zencat but sort of. Many H. macrophylla mopheads are mostly sterile BUT.... my statement is not a general statement that applies to all mopheads as a few varieties will have fertile flowers (or a small number of fertile flowers). Also, H. macrophylla normalis (also known as lacecap hydrangeas) consist of mostly fertile flowers. And those fertile flowers would be the ones in the center of the lacecap blooms. The sepals, which surround the fertile flowers, are not real flowers per se.

The same thing that happens with H. macrophyllas also happens with paniculatas.... some paniculatas like Limelight produce few fertile flowers but others like Tardiva produce more fertile flowers.

The native-to-the US smooth hydrangea (H. arborescens), the climbing hydrangea (H. anomala petiolaris) and the rough-leaf hydrangea (H. aspera) all produce lacecap-type blooms that consist of mostly fertile flowers.

Oakleaf hydrangeas produce panicle-like blooms with a big amount of fertile flowers too. They have nice foliage and even better looking foliage in the Fall.

Oddly, the one that I seem to notice attracting the most bees is usually a paniculata. I can detect a small amount of scent on those flowers and maybe that increases the attraction for the bees. Who knooows?!? But I rarely recommend planting paniculatas near the front door for that reason! Hee hee hee!
[Last edited by luis_pr - Oct 25, 2017 7:47 PM (+)]
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