Flowers don't contain enough nectar to feed bees

Flower beds full of blooming begonias and brightly-coloured pansies are certainly a spectacular sight.

But gardeners should stop growing many of the most popular ornamental bedding plants – because they are bad for bees, an expert has warned.

His warning comes as bees are in decline across Britain, with two species having become extinct in the past century and the great yellow bumblebee now only found in Scotland. 

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Flower beds full of blooming begonias and brightly-coloured pansies are certainly a spectacular sight. But gardeners should stop growing many of the most popular ornamental bedding plants ¿ because they are bad for bees, an expert has warned (stock image)

Flower beds full of blooming begonias and brightly-coloured pansies are certainly a spectacular sight. But gardeners should stop growing many of the most popular ornamental bedding plants – because they are bad for bees, an expert has warned (stock image)

WHICH BREEDS ARE USELESS TO BEES? 

Professor Goulson, of the University of Sussex, said the plants in our gardens may be contributing to the declining bee problem. 

These include:  

- Tea roses

- Bedding plants bought from garden centres

- Begonias

- Hybrid tea roses and carnations

- Pansies 

Many favourites of British gardens have been bred to look beautiful, but no longer contain enough nectar to feed insects, according to biologist Professor Dave Goulson.

And other 'mutant' flowers now have nectar tubes that are too long for bees to reach inside. 

While agricultural pesticides are often blamed, Professor Goulson, of the University of Sussex, said the plants in our gardens may be contributing to the problem.

Giving a presentation at the British Science Festival in Brighton, he said: 'Some ornamental flowers are really rubbish for bees and other wildlife because they have been bred for these big blooms, extra petals and colours.

'Intensive selection has made these flowers useless to insects; they have lost their organic function which evolved to attract bees and they are a bit of a travesty as far as wildlife are concerned.'

He described 'mutant' tea roses as a 'waste of space' and urged gardeners to 'get rid' of their bedding plants bought from garden centres and 'drenched in pesticides'.

Begonias – a British favourite thanks to their pretty petals but controversially called 'repulsively ugly' by Gardener's World host Monty Don last year– contain 'almost zero nectar', he said.

Professor Goulson described 'mutant' tea roses as a 'waste of space' and urged gardeners to 'get rid' of their bedding plants bought from garden centres and 'drenched in pesticides'

Professor Goulson described 'mutant' tea roses as a 'waste of space' and urged gardeners to 'get rid' of their bedding plants bought from garden centres and 'drenched in pesticides'

WHY BREEDING BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS IS BAD FOR BEES 

Many favourites of British gardens have been bred to look beautiful, but no longer contain enough nectar to feed insects, according to biologist Professor Dave Goulson.

And other 'mutant' flowers now have nectar tubes

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