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Planting Bottlebrush Shrubs for the Bees

Hey Bee Boxers,

It’s springtime, and that means we’re starting to plan our spring gardens and we’re hoping you’ll add some bee friendly favorites to yours as well. One type of shrub that you might not have considered is the bottlebrush plant. These shrubs are native to Australia, but they are great performers around here in the Sacramento area due to our mild climate. The best thing about them (other than attracting lots of honey bees) is that they have a long blooming season. They start blooming in the spring and continue well into the summer months.

Caring for you Bottlebrush:

If we’ve convinced you to add a lovely bottlebrush shrub to your garden, there are some tips to caring for it you’ll want to know to get you started. First, you’ll want to plant it in a sunny spot although some species will tolerate partial shade. A south-facing placement will usually ensure adequate sunlight. Bottlebrushes are also relatively drought resistant, but you will want to give them a thorough watering once a week it. You’ll want to keep the soil moist but not soggy in order to establish the roots. Just make sure the soil is well draining and as the plant ages it naturally becomes more drought tolerant.

Once blooming is complete at the end of summer and into fall, you’ll want to water them less often. Bottlebrush shrubs are extremely drought resistant which adds to their relative ease of care. You will also want to prune your plant in the fall once it’s done blooming in order to ensure that future flowers are not damaged. If you’re looking to prune based on shaping the plant or reducing the height, then you’ll want to prune in the early spring before blooms occur. Bottlebrush looks best in its natural shape, but people will often shape it to a style more closely resembling a tree.

Why Bees Love Bottlebrush:

Bees are attracted to bottlebrush because it is a major pollen and nectar producing plant. Not only that, but it has a plentiful amount of blooms so bees will be flocking to it from near and far. Planting a major pollen producing plant like bottlebrush will ensure that bees can make less trips to get the food they need. In addition to bees loving this plant, you may also find more hummingbirds and butterflies flying around since they are big fans of it as well.

So, if you’re looking for a plant that is extremely bee friendly and relatively easy to keep, you really can’t go wrong with a bottlebrush shrub. The bees and other wildlife will thank you.

-The Bee Box

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