From the glimpse we garnered from an earlier post, hummingbirds can’t resist red–whether the red tin roof of the Love Shack or a plastic feeder, hummingbirds will definitely fend for red flowers. Nearly all flowers that depend on hummers for pollination are red or red-orange. Their nectar is held deep inside the throat of the flower, inaccessible to most other pollinators.
Butterflies will flutter in towards the color purple. Although the color purple isn’t as strong as an enticer than red is to a hummer, purple has been shown as a preference color. And you just can’t have too much purple!
The hummingbirds and butterflies will sip the nectar of any color plant that suites their needs, but to attract them to the garden you can count on red and purple respectively.
Bees have a preference to the color blue. Bumblebees, honey bees, mason bees, and many of the other bees see in the ultraviolet spectrum from 600 – 300 nm–the colors of blue-green, blue, violet, and ultraviolet. To the bee’s eyes, vivid red hummingbird flowers simply blend into the background. They don’t see red and have a hard time distinguishing it from surrounding green leaf backgrounds.
To bring in the bees, plant some of their favorite blue flowers-Agapanthus, anise hyssop, crocus, hyacinth, salvias, blue spirea, germander, bog sage, as well as obedient plant, and many others.
Bees, like most other insects, may be drawn in by a color preference; but they will gather nectar and pollen from any flower that suites their needs. You will find them flocking to your red-toned bee-balm; but that red didn’t bring them into the garden. But once the blue drew them in, they can bump into red and feast the flowers. Do you have a bee friendly garden?
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Helen’s book, Gardening with Confidence–50 ways to adding style for personal creativity is due out this fall.