Do Bees Like Roses?

Matchball from Vintage Roses

Matchball from Vintage Roses

Do bees like roses?

The answer is no. And yes.

Let me explain. Bees like flowers that look and smell good to them.

Bees aren’t generally attracted to red and bright pink flowers. They prefer shades of blue, violet, white, yellow and orange.

They’re put off by lots of big fluffy petals. It’s too hard to get at the nectar and pollen. They prefer flowers with shapes that provide them easy access to the goodies.

Bees are very sensitive to odors, both good and bad. Like people, they are drawn to flowers with a sweet fragrance.

Many modern roses have bunches of tightly closed petals in shades of red and bright pink. Some have little or no fragrance.  As a rule, bees don’t like ’em.

But many of the older “heirloom” roses have single or double blossoms that smell heavenly. They have big yellow “bullseyes” that seductively invite bees to visit.  Here are a few of my favorites, all from The Antique Rose Emporium:

Champney's Pink Cluster

Champney’s Pink Cluster

Clytemnestra

Clytemnestra

Bishop Darlington

Bishop Darlington

Fortunes Double Yellow

Fortunes Double Yellow

Veilchenblau

Veilchenblau

17 thoughts on “Do Bees Like Roses?

  1. Emily Heath says:

    I actually prefer the look of the vintage roses, and I adore their smell. Bring back the old roses!

  2. Francesca says:

    Such a lovely post! I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! I enjoyed writing it!!
      I love roses, and it was difficult for me to narrow my selection of rose pictures. Maybe I’ll have a “Part 2!” 🙂

      xo Deb

  3. Great post. I haven’t gotten into planting roses (only rosa rugosa – they were gifts and are easy to grow here in Maine) because we rent our home and I haven’t wanted to invest the time and money into roses when, I know, we will eventually move…but until then, I will add these roses to my list of ‘will have one day’…thanks so much! Love your blog.

  4. […] Do Bees Like Roses? (romancingthebee.com) […]

  5. petit4chocolatier says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Love the vintage and the aroma!

  6. […] Do Bees Like Roses? (romancingthebee.com) […]

  7. Channah says:

    What about David Austin Evelyn? It has been on my wish list since it was sold out last year (I bought Paul Barden’s Marianne instead). It has two out of three anyway. IIRC, it is apricot colored, and I know for sure it is heavily scented. I’m afraid it may be too full though. Is it? Or will the bees get over that if they like the smell and color, and be willing to try to get in?

    • I adore David Austin roses and Evelyn is gorgeous. It has the color and fragrance going for it, and I think bumbles if not honey bees will make the effort despite its fluffiness!

  8. […] Bees aren’t generally attracted to red and bright pink flowers. They prefer shades of blue, violet, white, yellow and orange. […]

  9. José Vidal says:

    Thanks… Really educational 😀 God Bless

  10. Haven P says:

    Thank you! I have a lot of roses in my yard, because they’re the only flowers I can keep without them dying, and I wanted to have something bee-friendly. The roses I have aren’t the kinds bees like, but at least I know that now!

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