No pollinator garden

tigerdawn(7)September 11, 2011

I am redoing my in-laws' front garden beds this fall. They pulled out the overgrown holly hedge and would like an up to date flowerbed. The catch is my mother-in-law doesn't want any bees around because she is allergic. The other specifications include: yellow and purple, east facing, northwest OKC, windy much of the time, 1-2 foot high raised beds with all imported soil. Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas for flowers that won't attract pollinators? Perennial is always preferred but I'm open to annuals too. Thanks!

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Sounds like a fun chance to do all-foliage, no flowers. Add contrasting color with a nice big pot.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 10:26AM
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I don't have specific plant recommendations, but it sounds like you'll need to give extra attention to the importance of varying textures, and the final shape of a mature plant. Wayside Gardens and White Flower Farms both have great photos that help inspire me in those areas.

I have Callicarpa americana 'Early Amethyst'. a/k/a American Beautyberry. The blooms on it are negligible, but it makes pretty metallic purple berries that persist into winter.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 12:59PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I don't necessarily have any specific ideas about flowers that don't attract bees, because I plant to attract bees and other pollinators so lack experience in choosing those that don't attract them. However, the bees seems to especially love yellow, purple and blue flowers. I'm not sure if they don't like the specific red-blooming flowers that I have planted here, or if they don't like red flowers in general, but I don't see nearly as many bees around the red blooms as the yellow, purple and blue ones.

I also think some night bloomers might work for her since some of them bloom after the bees have retired in the evenings, and that's especially true of anything with long, thin tubular blossoms that exclude the bees by being too narrow for them.

I think if you googled and searched for a list of bat-pollinated or wind-pollinated plants, you might find some ideas there.

Finally, some modern hybrids lack pollen---the sunflowers bred specifically for the cut flower industry are one example of this, so they might be less attractive to bees. That's just a guess though.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 1:49PM
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Hostas, maybe? There are those purple/black and lime/yellow colored sweet potato vines. That's hard because purple and yellow are like bees favorite colors. Yellow roses, I guess. hmm

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 9:41PM
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Non-flowering plants are a good idea, grown primarily for foliage, of which there are many, including Hostas. Some night bloomers do well, but don't plant Datura, because it DOES get a lot of bee action.

Select tubular flowers that bees or wasps cannot get into. I noticed NO bees or wasps on my Flame Acanthus this summer, and I believe it is because they can't get to the pollen inside. Same with my Cuphea ignea 'David Verity', which has very small tubular orange/yellow flowers.

Ornamental grasses come in different sizes, shapes, colors, etc. Carex, clumping Bamboos as well.

I've never noticed bees on my 4 o'clocks - has anyone else?

Asparagus sprengeri is a good annual foliage plant. Elephant ears don't flower much here, and if they do, they are pollinated by flies, not bees. So goes for anything in that family, like Jack-in-the-Pulpits, Arums, Caladiums. A lot of these need shadier conditions.

I have never seen bees on Roses either. Especially the newer cultivars. I've also seen no pollinators on my mums.

Coleus would be good, but be sure to cut off the emerging flowers.

Hardy Palms.


Evergreens - Acuba japonica, Spruce (many), Junipers (many), Piceas (many).

I have never seen bees or wasps on my hybrid Azaleas either.

Just a few ideas. No flowers does not mean a garden is not interesting.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 9:08AM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

The sun coleuses give some beautiful color. They will eventually bloom, but you can remove the flower stalk, the same as the hosta. They are annuals, but they are gorgeous.

Sweet potato vines would give some great color too. I do a patchwork of the green and purple. You can dig up the tubers and save them if you want. I always swear I am going to, but it never happens!

There's Tradescantia pallida (purple heart, purple wandering jew). It does flower, I don't remember a lot of flowers. Mine is on the east side of my house, albeit somewhat protected, and it wintered over this last year.

Purple perilla (annual, but reseeds...however if you remove the flowers, you might need grow from seed each year)


What about grasses?

I've attached an article. It doesn't give a lot of detail, but it might open up some ideas...

It is good that the best is on the east side, good foliage plants tend to be shade plants, I think. However, how much full sun is there?

Here is a link that might be useful: Bee Free

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 10:20AM
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