Come and grow – the spoga+gafa blog » News » Selecta one: Research of insect-friendly plants

Selecta one: Research of insect-friendly plants

Bee on dahlia – Photo: Selecta one

Today, many people are no longer satisfied if flowers and plants for the garden and balcony only look beautiful. They should be as bee- and insect-friendly as possible. In times when the important pollinators hardly find any food in our tidy cultivated landscapes and monocultures, more and more hobby gardeners want to set something against it.

Selecta one took advantage of the summer 2017 to conduct a study on insect-friendly plants in cooperation with the public Teaching and Research Institute for Horticulture (Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Gartenbau – LVG) in Heidelberg, the nursery Staudenrausch and the Bee Research Institute of Hohenheim (Landesanstalt für Bienenkunde). The family company is a world-leader in breeding, producing and marketing vegetatively propagated ornamental plants. The breeding activities include bedding and balcony plants, poinsettias, perennials and cut flowers. With eleven production sites and distribution companies in Europe, Africa, Asia and America, the corporate group serves all relevant markets worldwide.

The aim of the “project for the development and implementation of a biodiversity breeding program to increase the urban green for insects”, was to get information about which varieties mostly attract insects and contribute to their nutrition by determining the preference of flower-visiting insects. Background of the project is to strengthen the assortment of Selecta even more with insect-friendly plants.

Butterfly on lavender – Photo: Selecta one

“Bee friendliness is currently an important topic everywhere. Everyone has a bee friendly concept. But often this is not filled with content because it is not much known about what insect-friendly in relation to ornamental plants means,” announces Lea Kretschmer, postgraduate at the Bee Research Institute of the university of Hohenheim. Studies conducted by the NABU since 1989 have shown that in the last years the number of insects declined by 80 percent in some places. “That’s where we want to take action to contribute to the receipt of the biodiversity,” says Sebastian Mainz, Senior Trade Marketing Manager at Selecta one.

For this reason, the cooperation project investigated the behavior of insects at three locations during the months from June to August: at the university of Hohenheim, on the testing area of Selecta one in Stuttgart and at the LVG Heidelberg. 30 observations of two minutes were made at each location to identify which variety is most attractive to insects. All insects which contribute to the pollination were included in the project. Besides honeybees, these include also hoverflies, wild bees, butterflies and other pollinator insects. 36 bumblebee species, round about 440 hoverflies species, over 500 wild bee species and about 3700 butterfly species of butterflies and moths are native in Germany.

Research Institute for Horticulture in Heidelberg – Photo: Selecta one

At the beginning, these subsist more and more on pollen and flower nectar of woody and non-woody flowering plants in nature. During the summer, these sources dry up more and more and the insects fall back on bedding and balcony plants. To ensure enough activity of the bees sunny, dry and warm days in the summer months were chosen for the studies. Different varieties of different species were included in the trials. The evaluation showed that there was no variety which was not approached. However, it became obvious that the number of insects which were apparent on a variety during the two minutes of observation, depended heavily on the number of open flowers.

Following results could be made as well: Compared to others, the variety Mohave® Yellow is the most insect-friendly variety among Selecta’s Bracteantha assortment. This variety is interesting especially for big and small wild bees. The lavender varieties ‘Les Blues Thierry‘ and ‘Les Blues Antoine‘ were also popular as a food source for insects. This assumption is confirmed by the fact that simple and semi-double Dahlia varieties are insect-friendly in contrast to double varieties and that they are a very good additional food source. Especially the varietes Dalaya ‘Krishna‘, Dalaya ‘Shari‘, Dalaya ‘Shiva‘ and Dalaya ‘Yogi‘ have many open flowers. This means the anthers are visible and therefore the flowers are interesting for pollinator insects.


Further information:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *