Do Hydrangeas Attract Bees? (An Accurate Answer)

Bees are attracted to the most appealing flowers oozing with pollen and nectar. The characteristics that have the most appeal are color and form.

So striking hues such as blues, purples and yellows draw in bees more than any other color. Furthermore, they tend to go for flowers that have flat or shallow blossoms.

But do hydrangeas attract bees as well?

Yes, hydrangeas do attract bees, but the blooms that draw in the most bees include daisies, zinnias, asters and Queen Anne’s lace. Hydrangeas are also high on the list, but not all varieties.

In this article, we’ll go through the types of hydrangeas that bees are and aren’t attracted to and a range of other flowers that bees enjoy collaborating with. 

Do hydrangeas attract bees

Do hydrangeas attract bees and wasps?

Some species of hydrangeas attract bees and wasps to help with this realm’s ongoing pollination works.

Surprisingly, wasps aren’t generally recognized as pollinators but play just as important a role as bees. The only difference is that they are also quite aggressive.

Therefore, we often associate wasps as pests instead of helpers for this very reason. However, not all species of hydrangeas attract bees and wasps or any pollinators, for that matter. 

Hydrangeas species most attractive to bees and wasps include Lacecap Hydrangeas (Some variants), Climbing Hydrangeas (Silver Lining, Mirranda, Crûg Coral), Oakleaf Hydrangeas, and Smooth Hydrangeas.

Similar to the less attractive variants, it depends on how the florets are placed regarding their accessibility.

Do hydrangeas attract bees and wasps

However, these variants are generally much brighter in color, have a lot more food and energy to offer, and are also easier for pollinators to make their way in and out. Suppose you’re unsure about what type of Hydrangea you have.

In that case, there are a few defining characteristics that can help you distinguish between them. 6 main groups are generally found in North America. Here’s a quick overview of how to identify them. 

  1. Bigleaf: Usually contains larger fluffy globe-like blooms or flats. The colors can range from white, pink, blue and violet. The most common species include lace cap, mophead, hortensia or florist hydrangeas. These 2 variants bloom on old wood in Zone 5 during July and August. 
  2. Mountain: They have similar lacecap blooms to Bigleafs but are more winter hardy. They are also Zone 5 and bloom on old wood. 
  3. Panicle: Their larger, cone-shaped cluster blooms usually present themselves mid-late summer. They can range from white, cream, green, pink or red. They are Zone 3 hardy meaning they can handle -40°F (-40°C) and they bloom on new wood. 
  4. Smooth: They usually bloom larger spherical shaped heads in late June to July. They can be white, cream, green, pink or light red. This variant is also Zone 3 (grows at -40°F) and forms on new wood. 
  5. Oakleaf: They grow a little like the Panicle variant with cone shaped cluster blooms. They begin as a creamy white color, then turn pink, and then a paper/rust brown shade. Their leaves are shaped like an oak leaf, so it’s quite easy to distinguish this type. They are Zone 5 and bloom on old wood. 
  6. Climbing: There are 2 types (Hydrangea Petiolaris) which is a Zone 4 and climbs via aerial roots. This type blooms creamy white lacecap blooms during June/July. The other type is (Schizophragma) and is known as a false Hydrangea but is a relative of the Hydrangea. It also has aerial roots but is a Zone 5. Instead of florets surrounding the inner bloom, it has individual petals instead.  

What does it mean to bloom on old or new wood?

Blooms that form on old wood will begin to form during the fall and continue to grow until they bloom during the next Spring-Summer. In contrast, blooms that form on new wood start to form in the Spring just before they bloom. 

Which hydrangea does not attract bees?

Some species play almost a decoy kind of role. Some can either have sterile florets, fertile florets or a mixture of both. The ones more of a decoy have sterile outer florets and fertile inner florets.

The interest of the pollinators will pique, and then upon closer inspection; they will realize that there is too much effort required to pollinate those specific variants. As a result, they will fly on to the next flower that can be more accessible.

Which hydrangea does not attract bees

The species that don’t attract bees and wasps due to their degree of energy required include Mophead Hydrangeas, Lacecap Hydrangeas (Some variants), and French hydrangeas.

As mentioned, some of these species may be attractive to the less experienced pollinators, but they soon realize that there is no food and move on. 

What attracted you to hydrangea?

Several active insects, bugs and birds are attracted to Hydrangeas. However, some of these include unwanted pests. Firstly, the ‘good’ hardworking pollinators come from bees, butterflies and birds. There are also many kinds of beetles, some good and some bad.

The ground beetle types, especially the soldier beetle (smaller red and black variant), are extremely beneficial for helping eradicate caterpillars and aphids, which they munch on as a snack.

Surprisingly, they also enjoy eating a range of harmful insect eggs which prevent them from spawning again.

Otherwise, beetles are generally pests that should be kept away at all costs. They have a habit of damaging these beautiful blooming plants. The most damaging insects or bugs attracted to hydrangeas include Aphids, Japanese Beetles, Slugs and Spider Mites.

What flowers are bees more attracted to?

Research shows that bees don’t have the best vision. Or more so, they can only really see colors that are more at the yellow or blue end of the color spectrum. As a result, they are most attracted to any flower with shades of white, yellow, purple or blue.

They can’t see shades of red, but we still see them working hard with colors such as this due to their other senses being heightened.

They have an uncanny ability to sniff out the pollen and nectar they desire when they can no longer rely on their sight to direct them to their favorite flowers. There are some flower types that bees are especially attracted to; these include:

Bee Balm

The Native Americans used Bee Balm as a tea to help treat cold and flu symptoms when also infused with the Monarda plant. It was also used as a topical antiseptic to help treat the swelling of bee stings, where it gets its name.

Bees are attracted to this plant because of its abundance of nectar and pollen. They commit something known as ‘nectar robbing’, where they essentially smash a hole in the base of the flower to gain access to the nectar faster than they would by going in from the opening. 

Bee Balm



The purple blooms draw in the bees, and the abundance of both nectar and pollen keeps them busy for long periods.

These plants pump out as much nectar in the midday to afternoon hours as they do in the morning. Therefore, the bees never run out of supply. 


Snapdragons are usually yellow or blue, which bees are extremely efficient at honing in on and going about their business.

The colors also help them adapt a landing pattern, enabling them to work smarter instead of harder. They use these colors as a guide to get them from point to point without the need to assess. 




The yellows and blues of the Hosta make them a prime target for bees. Their blooms are also quite easy to access for bees and pollinators. Furthermore, the scent of these plants is another attractive factor.

Simply placing a Hosta in an area that gets even the slightest breeze will help drive the waft into the path of the bees, which will almost make them do a 180° to head toward them. 

Evening Primrose

As beautiful as nature is, the Evening Primrose makes it more of a joy to understand.

These plants attract bees by sweetening their nectar within minutes as they sense or hear the frequencies of the bees’ wings getting closer. This drives the bees crazy and makes them head straight for the source. 

Evening Primrose

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Limelight hydrangeas attract bees?

Limelight flowers may attract some bees, but their flowers are sterile, so they offer no value to them. Therefore, they will generally land, realize they are in the wrong area, and then fly away again. 

Do bees like little quick fire hydrangea?

Little Quick Fire Hydrangeas have a ton of rich nectar florets that all pollinators, including bees, adore! The loose formation of their flowers allows easy access to nectar and pollen for the hard-working bees. 

Do endless summer hydrangeas attract bees?

Endless Summer Hydrangeas are particularly attractive for pollinators due to their drawing colors and easy access florets.

Do Pinky Winky hydrangeas attract bees?

Pinky Winky Hydrangeas have both sterile and fertile blooms, making them a perfect workplace for all pollinators. The attractive colors and easy access forms allow the bees to be drawn in and enjoy an exceptional work environment.

Does panicle hydrangea attract bees?

Panicle Hydrangeas produce a mesmerizing scent that the bees are extremely drawn to. The colors and ease of access florets are a welcomed bonus.

Do mountain hydrangeas attract bees?

Mountain Hydrangeas can attract bees as well as other pollinators. They come in a range of bright, showy colors, and their flat formed florets allow easy access to the working pollinators.


As we can see, Hydrangeas attract bees, but because there are many species, not all have that hypnotizing effect. The most attractive factor is color, followed by scent and accessibility. Yellows and blues are most attractive, whereas bees cannot see reds due to their strange color perception range.

Understanding the diverse Hydrangea species will help you build the pollinator garden of your dreams. We hope that this guide has been helpful.

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