Which dahlias do bees like? These lovely plants offer a variety of gorgeous blooms that are popular with bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
Gorgeous shades of red, pink, orange, yellow and white are available. Flower heads can be showy with many petals, or simple, with fewer petals.
Very often, the accepted wisdom is that simple, single-petalled, open flower heads are best for bees and butterflies, but of course, there are always exceptions. If you like showy blooms and want to help bees, you will easily find a number of dahlia varieties to fit the bill.
One of the best things about dahlias is that you can find varieties that will bloom in spring, summer or autumn. As such, you can always find something to plug a gap in your border, add vibrancy and feed the bees at the same time.
If you select the right varieties, they'll be visited by bumble bees, honey bees and various solitary bees.
Butterflies are also attracted to the flower heads, and for me, it is an especially lovely sight: gorgeous, showy blooms decorated with a beautiful butterfly!
Various flies, including hover flies also visit. They don't mind sharing the flower heads either.
I couldn't possibly list all of them, but many suppliers state suitability for pollinators as appropriate, and here are a few examples:
Reds and deep crimsons:
Oranges and yellows:
Peachy shades, blushed pink/yellow/orange:
Dahlias are tubers, and need a sunny spot in well-drained, humus-rich soil. Cut them back close to the ground in autumn after flowering.
If you live in a colder climate with heavy soil, it's a good idea to go a step further: dig up the tubers in autumn, clean, dry and store them in a tray (cover them with a little potting compost). Replant them in spring the following year.
Alternatively, dahlias can be started off in pots under glass in early spring, then planted out when the danger of frost has passed. Ensure you plant them about 12 inches deep, and leave plenty of room between tubers to allow the plant to spread and grow.
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