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If you’re keen to introduce more pollen-seeking bees into your garden or backyard, then you’re in luck! Bees love a wild variety of wild blooms, and as you may already know, these plucky critters are vital for the survival of our wider ecosystem. But the burning question for many wild gardeners is – does clematis attract bees?
Yes – the great news is, clematis are fantastic for attracting bees. In fact, out of the hundreds of different species, very few will be unattractive to our honey-making friends. Therefore, planting a clematis or two is always likely to turn your yard into a wild hive.
However, there’s a little more to clematis than meets the eye. Therefore, keep reading – and we will tell you everything you need to know about attracting bees with their attractive flowers.
What is Clematis?
Clematis is a gorgeous, flowering vine plant that is said to have more than 250 different varieties or species! You will generally find them growing and propagating across USDA hardiness zone 3 and 4, if not beyond. Almost 40 of these species, total, are native within the US.
There’s even better news if you live in Virginia in particular – as it’s a hotspot for the vines. There’s said to be around ten different species that are purely native in-state!
Clematis are well-loved by bees and gardeners alike. It’s mainly thanks to the fact that they are both impressively colorful, and often sprout incredible collections of flowers over time. What’s more, clematis flowers bloom in a broad palette of colors. You may find some in pink, others in blue, and then varying towards red, yellow, white, and even split palettes!
Knowing how to attract bees to your garden is sometimes a complex art – but with many clematis, you are sure to see some buzzing crowds emerge!
Why Do Bees Love Clematis?
Here’s the thing – not all clematis will attract bees. Given that there are so many species and varieties, it is easy to assume that bees may not be too picky about the flowers they flock to.
However, it does pay to be careful with the clematis you plant – as you may find there are a few that don’t appeal to bees at all. In most cases, it makes a lot of sense to grow as many different clematis species as you can. Therefore, you can be assured that bees will enjoy seeking pollen from at least one or two of the flowers you have available!
Generally, however, clematis proves to be exciting enough to bees – in terms of colors and scents – for them to keep coming back again and again. Many clematis flowers droop downwards, too, which allows for bees to easily fly underneath, climb inside and seek pollen.
Do also keep in mind that bees enjoy feasting on insect secretions on rare occasions, too – so if your clematis are already welcoming a variety of mini beasts, you stand a good chance to see a bee or two in the near future.
Which Clematis Species are Likely to Attract Bees?
As mentioned, you will normally do well attracting bees simply by setting up an array of different clematis species. However, there are a handful of ‘safe’ options that you can all but guarantee they will make a literal beeline for.
These may include the Diana’s Delight, a blue-purple blooming vine that grows tall, and which propagates well during the summer and fall. Other popular choices with similar blooms include the Arabella, which is a big pollinator pal towards the start of the summer. It’s also said to be a big winner with bees who are set to hibernate in the near future.
It’s perhaps impossible to make a ‘complete’ list of all clematis species that bees are likely to enjoy. This is because many gardeners find that it is a hit and miss process! Attracting bees can be trial and error in the first instance – so do always make sure you plan ahead with a variety.
Is It Difficult to Grow Clematis?
Growing clematis can, in some cases, be tricky. Again, there are so many species of the vine that it is difficult in itself to apply a general rule of thumb! However, you will need to be very careful to support any vines you wish to grow.
Drainage is absolutely essential for the clematis – they love soil that is moist, but not waterlogged. The vast majority of clematis, too, will do well in the sun – but you’ll be able to get some good growth with partially shaded plants.
Do make sure you have wooden or plastic supports in place that your clematis can carefully grow onto and depend on as time goes by. These plants will generally ‘train’ so that they grow around and cling onto supports. They tend to coil, too – so watch them with interest.
Many experts also suggest that pruning your clematis will encourage a healthier crop of flowers to grow over time. However, there is such a thing as over pruning your clematis – as well as under pruning, as they can tangle up! It’s therefore worth researching your specific type of clematis to see what the recommended plan of action is.l
Encouraging Bees with Clematis
Yes – clematis are great for attracting bees. However, you need to be careful not only with the species you grow, but also that you can support these vines as they extend!
If you’re just getting started with bringing bees to your yard, it may also be worth looking into the best sugar for bees – and growing a wider variety of plants and flowers they are known to love.
If you have any experience with attracting bees to your backyard or garden, we’d love to hear from you – please leave us a comment below and tell us your clematis stories and tips!