Depending on your position, bees can be welcome guests or bothersome nuisances in your garden. Regardless of which opinion you have, you want to know which flowers will or will not attract bees. In this brief post, I’ll explain the bee-attracting quality (or lack thereof) of geraniums, as well as other blossoms that may attract bees to your garden.
Do geraniums attract bees? The simple answer is no. In fact, some red geraniums are especially effective at repelling bees altogether.
If you want to create a garden intended for bees, it shouldn’t involve a hefty lot of geraniums. However, it is not impossible to introduce geraniums into a bee-friendly garden, either. Continue reading to learn more about the effect that geraniums have on bees and how you can achieve your desired goals with your garden, whether that means repelling bees or attracting them.
Why Aren’t Geraniums Attractive to Bees?
Geraniums, in general, are not especially appealing to bees. This is because they release a scent that bees do not particularly like. In fact, bees tend to avoid the scent of geraniums. But their scent is not the only thing to deter bees from interacting with geraniums.
Red geraniums are especially problematic for bees, as bees simply do not see the color red. Paired with the scent, there’s no reason for a bee to really love the presence of geraniums in your garden. Additionally, bees tend to prefer tube-shaped blossoms that allow them to collect pollen. Geraniums do not fit that bill.
Here's a complete guide on how to plant Geraniums.
Which Bugs Are Attracted to Geraniums?
While bees might not be the biggest fan of geraniums, there are other bugs that will flock to them in droves. This is information that you should find useful, especially if you want your geraniums to thrive. Some bug species, like the whitefly, will wreak havoc on a geranium garden. Here are the species of bugs that are fond of geraniums:
This fly species isn’t notoriously harmful to geraniums, but they can build a very obvious and obnoxious presence in your garden. In the warmer months of the year, they breed and spread very rapidly.
Just as common for geraniums as the whitefly, greenflies actually do harm plants. They eat petals and leaves and often require the plant to be separated from others in a pot as to reduce the risk of harm coming to other plants in the garden.
These flies only inflict harm to geraniums and other plants by going after the root system. Fortunately, their life cycle is fairly short – around 2 months – so if you act proactively, you can rid their existence from your garden for good.
Aphids and Mites
These pests are most likely to occur in geraniums that are moved indoors. They feast upon leaves and will leave obvious holes in the leaves of a geranium plant to indicate their presence.
These are the most prevalent and potentially damaging pests that can afflict geranium plants. Also known as tobacco budworms, these worms feast upon the petals and leaves of the geranium plant. Their telltale sign is the depositing of feces on leaves and petals, as well as the chewed-on appearance of the flower or other plant life. These worms are the singular most common culprit behind a geranium’s inability to thrive.
What Other Flowers Do Bees Avoid?
If you’re looking to cultivate a garden that is free of bees, it is important to know which blooms will not attract them. Geraniums aren’t tasty to bees, but here are some other options that you can plant if you want a bee-free garden.
Despite the fresh, watery flavor profile of cucumber, the outer skin can be quite acidic. Bees and wasps alike tend to avoid gardens with cucumber because of the acidic content.
This herb is popularly utilized in tomato sauces for humans, but bees view it as entirely unpleasant. This is because the scent severely deters bees from interacting with the basil plant.
Because it contains absinthe, a seriously bitter flavor, bees do not enjoy it and will flock away from wormwood plants whenever possible.
Mint plants are durable and hardy, able to withstand even the most grueling of summer temperatures. Stinging insects have no interest in mint, so why not plant some mint for a fresh Mint Julip?
Many mammals and marsupials favor the eucalyptus plant because of its fragrance. Bees, on the other hand, find the distinctive fragrance offensive and will avoid it at all cost.
So, What Do Bees Hate?
If you are planning to construct a garden without the presence of bees and/or wasps, it is best to favor not only geraniums but also fragrant crops like cucumber or basil, as well as mint and eucalyptus. Bees detect the strong scent profile of these items, as well as some others, so it is worth having them around if you have no desire to have bees in your garden.
You can still have bees present in your garden if you have geraniums, but it helps to avoid plants and flowers that have very powerful scents. A powerful scent will deter a bee because of how abrasive it is to their senses. So, it helps to plant flowers and foliage that have more subdued scents if you are determined to plant geraniums in your flower bed.
More geranium help
If you're considering geraniums for your backyard or porch, here are some useful links we think you'll find interesting -
Do Deer Eat Geraniums? (And how to prevent them from doing that)
Creeping Geranium Plant Guide [Care Tips, Pictures and more]