Date: 3rd March 2020
I love Hypericum shrubs. I adore the cheerful yellow flowers and the berries afterwards (the seeds inside the berries are eaten by some bird species).
It can be quite comical to watch bees, especially fat bumble bee queens and large workers, landing, and almost bouncing on the stamens, which on some varieties are rather long - these are specimens I advise selecting for a bee garden.
Of course, Hypericum (also known as St John's Wort, or Gold flower), provide a bounty of pollen for bees, as can be seen by the full pollen baskets on the bumble bee above. They have a good flowering period too, from summer through to autumn. In other words, they are typically in bloom at a time when colonies are growing and are particularly busy.
I have a Hypericum shrub in my garden which I put in place a couple of years ago. It's still quite small, but I'm also fortunate enough to live fairly close to a boundary hedgerow that has several well established specimens. It gets covered in bees every year.
Most often, I tend to notice honey bees and bumble bees on the flowers, although some solitary species may also be observed. Other pollinators like Hypericum too, especially hover flies.
These shrubs are fairly easy to grow, being attacked by relatively few invertebrates, and not being especially disease-prone (although they can succumb to a condition known as Hypericum rust). Give them a sunny spot, ensuring the shrub will have plenty of space to spread (according to the variety).
I recommend selecting a perennial type (apparently, annuals are available). As stated above, I tend to prefer specimens with long stamens. Not only will the bees like them, but I'll enjoy watching chubby bumble bees landing on them. Here are a few varieties to look out for:
Remember that one of the advantages of having bee-friendly shrubs in your garden is that foraging can be more efficient for bees due to the close proximity of many flowers. This of course means that the bee will use less of its energetic resources flying from flower to flower (they may even be able to clamber about from one flower head to the next).
Hypericum can be grown from semi-hardwood cuttings. However, the wild variety is particularly known for its self seeding capability, and it is possible to cultivate this shrub if seeds are available.
A sunny spot and well-drained soil should keep this shrub and the bees happy, although many soil types may be suitable.
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