Marigolds are a favorite food of bees who will be attracted to your yard by the ultraviolet light emitted by the flower. Marigold flowers do not repel bees but varieties with tight petals will make it more difficult for the bees to reach the nectar they are searching for. Marigolds with open centers will attract more bees to your garden because the nectar is easier for the bees to reach.
It is commonly thought that the strong smell of the marigolds keep bees away but there is no strong evidence that this is the case. Marigolds are great companions for tomatoes in your garden and are more likely to attract bees than to repel them.
Marigolds have been used in gardens for many years to repel pest insects that suck sap from your plants like aphids. Increasing the biodiversity in your garden by planting a variety of flowers and shrubs will help to prevent pests from growing in large numbers.
A healthy garden with lots of flowers, shrubs, healthy soil and no pesticides will help to keep pest insect numbers under control by allowing predatory insects like ladybugs to move in. Ladybugs can consume 100 aphids a day and will visit a healthy garden space.
Marigolds are a beautiful flower to grow in the summer months to feed visiting pollinating insects like bees and increase the biodiversity in your yard.
Why bees are attracted to marigolds
Marigolds have large flowers with lots of nectar which bees love to feed on. The also have a strong scent and emit ultraviolet light that attracts bees. If you want more bees in your garden or to increase the pollination rates of other plants including your lemon tree plant marigolds.
Do marigolds keep bees away?
Marigolds do not keep bees away however they may not always attract them either depending on the type of marigold that you choose and the bee variety in your garden. Marigolds with small petals that are tightly woven may not attract bees as well as other flowers in your garden.
If you notice that bees are keeping away from your marigolds, it may be that they have found another flower that is easier to collect nectar from. Bees in my garden will land on these closed-form marigolds but will feed on other flowers such as salvia, citrus or star jasmine if they are available instead.
Other creatures that look similar to bees like wasps or hoverflies will not be attracted to marigolds either. Wasps are insects that pray on other insects. They can head over to flowers to feed on the pollinating insects but they generally do not attack bees.
Open centered marigolds are the best type to attract bees to your garden to increase pollination.
How to grow marigolds to attract bees
Marigolds are easy flowers to grow because they are drought hardy and grow quickly. They will grow well between flowers, next to basil or near your pepper plants. Plant them in the corner of your vegetable garden and you can water them when you water the rest of your garden.
Once the marigolds have established they will survive on small amounts of water. Prepare the soil first with compost and aged manure and you will not need to fertilize them throughout summer.
The easiest way to grow marigolds is to grab a tray of seedlings from your local garden center. Look for ones with no or few flowers so that they can establish their roots before flowering. This will lead to a healthier plant in the long run.
You can also grow marigolds from seeds planted in early spring. Protect them from frosts in a green house and water them regularly until they reach the size of 3-4 inches. They will be then ready to plant out into your yard to attract bees.
Do bees and butterflies like marigolds?
Bees and butterflies love marigolds and will feed on them if they fly past. Marigolds with tight petals will be more difficult for the bees to collect the nectar from but butterflies are usually able to reach deeper into the plant.
Marigolds with wide open centers make it easy for the bees to reach the nectar so they are more likely to visit. Butterflies will also feed on marigold nectar when they come across the plant. I find that butterflies visit a range of summer flowers in my garden including my gaura, society garlic and marigolds.
The most important factor when aiming to attract bees to your garden is to choose a variety of flies, in different sizes colors and that flower at different times of the year. Keep them fed well in winter with salvia and they will love a marigold treat in spring and summer.
Natural ways to keep bees away from your yard
If you don’t want your garden full of bees, then you will need to create a space that is not attractive. This means that you need to take away the things that bees love which include nectar filled flowers like marigold and water.
Here are 3 easy ways to naturally keep bees out of your yard.
1. Choose plants with colorful leaves not flowers
To keep bees away from your yard, choose plants with colorful or green leaves and minimal flowers. Bees will be attracted to the ultraviolet light emitted by the flowers so keep them out by avoiding this.
Choose green hedging plants with small flowers, green leaves rather than bright flowers. If the bees do not have nectar to feed on, then they will not stop and visit your yard and will continue to fly by.
2. Trim flowers off early
Another way to keep bees out of your yard is to remove flowers from plants early. Trim them off before they bloom to deter bees.
3. Keep water away from your yard
Bees are attracted to water so keep open water sources out of your yard. Open buckets of water, ponds and trays filled with rainwater will attract bees looking for a drink.
4. Keep sugary substance away from your yard
Avoid leaving sugary food outside in your yard and clean up spilled soda. The sugar can attract bees looking for sweet nectar.
Bees are a fantastic addition to your yard but if you are allergic or worried about stings, these tips can safely deter them without harming them or your plants.
Marigolds and Bees | Summary
Marigolds will attract bees to your garden because they contain nectar that bees feed on. Choose open centered marigolds to make it easier for bees to reach. Marigolds will not repel wasps but they will not attract them either. Wasps feed on other insects rather than nectar. Wasps and bees get along well in your garden so plant a variety of flowers including marigolds to create a healthy ecosystem.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.