I live in Europe, and planted several non-native perennials, most notably:

  • echinaceas
  • hellenuims
  • rudbeckias

For all species, I chose several cultivars, for the sake of experimenting.

Although all three species are listed as bee-attractive, bees at my place like only echinaceas and hellenuims. They totally ignore rudbeckias! Is there any plausible explanation for this?

Can it be that european bees are just not used to rudbekias, or simply don't like it, while american bees do?

  • 2
    Rudbeckias aren't known to be hugely popular with bees in the US, although bumblebees will visit them. This video (youtube.com/watch?v=RKBE1Pqe8Lc) shows a number of insects visiting a patch of R. fulgida; the first insect shown is a honeybee, so at least one species of European bee will visit them. As far as I can tell, the only other bee in the video is a bumblebee.
    – Jurp
    Oct 15 '20 at 18:45
  • @Jurp But, let's say, you don't regularly consume mexican food, maybe you would not like it if offered, too hot for you, even though other people enjoy it, and you are the same species, simply perhaps because of different habit. Maybe bees have some "regional habits"? I never saw any kind of bees on my rudbeckias - and if they attract here and there bees in US, this doesn't mean anything to me... Oct 15 '20 at 21:55
  • I'm not saying that your hypothesis is incorrect, just that rudbeckias in their native range aren't particularly popular. You might want to post this question on the Biology stackexchange site.
    – Jurp
    Oct 15 '20 at 22:31
  • It might also be that they are attracted to them but because you planted better offerings and not enough bees, they simply didn't go for them?
    – Throsby
    Oct 16 '20 at 19:12
  • 1
    Bees seem to target different plants from year to year in my garden alone. They used to love our Russian Sage, but not this year or last! They hardly touch it anymore. Try growing Asters. They love ours! Sunflowers, onions, and artichokes are great, too. Oct 18 '20 at 5:50

Rudbeckia generally don't attract many pollinating insects in the UK either, I wouldn't class them as particularly 'bee friendly' in comparison with, say, Lavender or Monarda. According to this https://www.ecobeneficial.com/ask_ecobeneficial/rudbeckia-attracts-lots-pollinators/ Rudbeckia laciniata does attract pollinators, but I've never grown it myself, so I can't comment. Note that particular variety of Rudbeckia may be invasive, but it is hardy down to -20deg C.

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