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Roses are arguably the most classic flower of all time and for good reason. They’re gorgeous, they come in numerous different colors, and their romantic element makes them a great addition to just about any garden. What’s more, they’re relatively easy to grow and maintain.
If you’re considering planting roses (or if you already have some in your garden), you might be wondering what pollinators, if any, they attract. Perhaps someone in your household has a bee allergy, so you’re trying to minimize the presence of bees in your garden. Or maybe you’re looking to attract magnificent pollinators like butterflies hummingbirds to make your garden more lively. We’ve researched the pollinators that roses attract to bring you the answer.
Roses do attract pollinators. But how many they attract will depend on the rose, as roses have varying amounts of nectar and fragrance. Generally, more colorful and fragrant roses will attract more pollinators. Common rose pollinators include:
- Insects such as bees and butterflies
- Birds (namely hummingbirds)
If you still have some more questions about the different pollinators that roses attract, don’t worry. This guide aims to discuss this topic in depth and answer any lingering questions you might have. We’ll also talk a little bit about the pollination process so you can better understand what’s going on when you see these little pollinators buzzing around your roses. Without further ado, let’s talk more about rose pollinators.
If you’re unfamiliar with plant reproduction, you might be wondering what exactly pollination is. In short, pollination is the process by which plants reproduce. But how exactly do plants reproduce?
What Part Of The Plant Has Pollen?
Plants reproduce when pollen from a male plant’s anther is transferred to the female stigma of another flower.
This diagram shows the different parts of a flower’s anatomy:
What Happens If You Have No Pollinators In Your Garden?
Since plants can’t complete this process on their own, they depend on pollinators to do it for them. Insects and birds facilitate this pollen transfer as they fly from flower to flower drinking nectar and inadvertently transferring pollen in the process. Wind can also facilitate pollination (more on that later).
Successful fertilization results in the growth of seeds which allows flowers to create a subsequent generation.
Since flowers depend entirely on outside help for pollination, if no pollinators are present, your flowers will be unable to reproduce.
What Attracts Pollinators To Flowers?
Pollinators are primarily attracted to the nectar in flowers. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds drink nectar for sustenance. Flowers with particularly strong fragrances will also attract these pollinators.
Do Roses Attract Bees?
Yes, roses attract bees! In fact, these little buzzing insects are perhaps the most common rose pollinator. So, if someone in your household has a bee allergy, don’t plant roses. But if you’re looking to attract these little guys, roses are perfect.
Bees fly from rose to rose drinking nectar. When they land in each flower, pollen clings to their hairy bodies and legs. When the bees fly to another rose, the pollen they collected is transferred to the new flower, and voila — pollination has occurred.
Bees spend a lot of time buzzing around flowers drinking nectar, so they are particularly vigorous pollinators.
In this photo, you can see just how hairy the body of a bee is. This makes it easy for pollen to hitch a ride to another nearby flower.
Which Roses Attract Bees?
As a general rule, bees will be more attracted to roses with fewer petals and a wider opening. Any kind of wild roses (such as rosa rugosa or rosa acicularis) along with particularly fragrant roses will attract bees.
Do Roses Attract Butterflies?
Yes, roses attract butterflies! So, if you’re looking to plant flowers that are sure to bring in lots of gorgeous butterflies, roses are a great option.
Butterflies pollinate roses the same way bees do. Butterflies land on a flower and use a long and slender straw-like appendage called a proboscis to get nutrients from the flower. As they’re sitting and drinking, their wings collect pollen from the flower. Since butterflies have such large wings, there’s plenty of surface area for pollen to cling to.
Then, when it flies to another flower, the pollen is deposited.
Which Roses Attract Butterflies?
In general, bright and fragrant roses will be most enticing to butterflies. Thus, if you plant roses with bright and fragrant blooms, you’ll have lots of beautiful butterflies fluttering around your garden.
Do Roses Attract Hummingbirds?
Yes, roses attract hummingbirds! If a rose has nectar, hummingbirds will feed on it. But even if a rose doesn’t have nectar, hummingbirds can use it as a perch. Hummingbirds have also been known to buzz around roses as they hunt for various insects.
But how exactly do hummingbirds pollinate roses since they don’t land on them like bees and butterflies do?
If you’ve ever seen a hummingbird up close, you likely observed that its wings were just a blur. This is because, on average, hummingbirds in North America beat their wings 53 times per second. This produces vibrations and turbulence all around the hummingbird, which loosens pollen from nearby flowers. This loosened pollen is then free to float around, landing on other flowers in the area.
This pollination method is less direct than that facilitated by insects, but it can be effective nonetheless.
Check out this incredible video of a hummingbird hovering and drinking in slow motion:
Which Roses Attract Hummingbirds?
Red and orange roses are most enticing for hummingbirds since they can see those colors best. But as mentioned, hummingbirds will likely hang around any roses in your garden as they hunt for insects or perch.
How Else Are Roses Pollinated?
In addition to the pollinators we mentioned, roses (and all kinds of flowers, for that matter) can be pollinated by wind. That’s right — wind gusts and air currents can blow pollen from one flower to another, facilitating pollination.
If you want to optimize your garden for pollination (and you should), make sure there’s ample space between roses. This will increase the likelihood of wind gusts stirring up pollen and facilitating pollination.
Roses are not only gorgeous in and of themselves, but they will attract other gorgeous pollinators to your garden. Thus, roses not only liven up the garden aesthetically, but they will attract and promote new life. We hope this guide has helped you better understand what pollinators like roses and the pollination process in general.
Before you go, be sure to check out these other rose guides: