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Olearia and Forsythia

I have grown both these shrubs from cuttings.  I can't find anything on google to tell me if they are either native or attractive to bees.  I think Olearia is from New Zealand, what about Forsythia?


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,217
    Plants don't have to be natve to attract bees and other beneficial insects.  

    The RHS website says olearia is good for pollinators - little bee sign - 

    Forsythia does not appear on their list of pollinator friendy plants so maybe it's just short on pollen and/or nectar.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,511
    Forsythia comes from the Far East but has been around in the UK for a couple of hundred years. Because it flowers early it is useful to bees.
  • Olearia is a useful bee plant. I remember it from when I was little, in NZ. Which one is it, O. macrodonta with the holly-like leaves or the smaller leafed one, O. haastii?  I tend to stop O. macrodonta from going to seed as I think it's a bit untidy then, but it's architecturally rather striking.
    Forsythia is usually too early for most pollinators and I understand that most cultivars produce little nectar, or none at all, so any bee activity round a flowering forsythia may well be only in hope! 
  • Thank you all - we had almost decided that neither was good for pollinating insects and I couldn't find any information to tell me otherwise.  The Olearia is the holly leaf variety @Hortum-cretae , with small whitish flowers - we have always called it the crinkle hedge - it certainly is hardy, we have had 3 or 4 bushes for over 40 years and still it thrives! The Forsythia is fairly new to me and I haven't noticed any insect activity around it although the stems and leaves look fresh and attractive.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,217
    The trouble with forsythia is that it looks good for 2 weeks - assuming you like the brash yellow - and then horrendously dull for the next 50 weeks and appears not to be any good for insects out loking for food in spring.  We have one here which is disguised in a mixed hedge and even so I'm considering replacing it with something attractive.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,511
    2 weeks flowering without getting eaten by deer makes forsythia a star in my garden  :D
  • There's two sides to most things and I can appreciate it's qualities for you @steephill and also the lack of attraction for most wildlife too @Obelixx - swings and roundabouts.  I guess I should start a new thread, but will ask here anyway - how about a Himalayan Honeysuckle - I have a couple of those rooting in the garden - do they have any qualities to attract wildlife - I would use one instead of the Forsythia if it is better suited to my boundary hedge. They do grow quite dense here.
  • MuddyForkMuddyFork North HampshirePosts: 435
    I have loads of bees and hoverflies on my Himalayan honeysuckle.  Wrens and blackbirds enjoy the berries later in the year.
  • That is a thumbs up, thanks @MuddyFork , I will nurture them ready for transplanting later in the year.  They do grow quickly don't they with a bit of pruning every year.
  • MuddyForkMuddyFork North HampshirePosts: 435
    They can grow about 4feet in a year.  I cut mine back each spring to about a foot.  They can be short lived but self seed so well there never seems to be a gap
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