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Today more than ever, insects are dependent on the active support of gardeners with small gardens. It is not enough to simply hang up an insect hotel. It is particularly important to provide the little animals with enough food, as they are finding it less and less in their natural environment. Flowering shrubs with different flowering times can expand the food supply for bees and co. from spring to autumn. The following selection offers a small overview.

1. Chokeberry (Aronia)

Aronia melanocarpa

Although the Aronia can be grafted on weak trunks and then grows as a small tree, it can also be cultivated as a shrub. While the flowers are visited and pollinated by insects, the berries, unless harvested, are eaten by birds in late autumn.

Size: one to two meters high as a shrub
Location: likes sun and semi-shade, otherwise no special requirements
Blossom: May, in dense clusters, colored white


  • undemanding, also tolerates drought
  • Fertilization not necessary, possibly mulching
  • occasionally thin out in autumn or winter
  • Propagation via stolons possible, can also be removed
  • little susceptible to pests and diseases

Tip: The berries are considered a healthy superfood.

2. Barberry species (Berberis)

Berberis thunbergii

Only the common barberry, also known as sour thorn, is native to Germany. There are cultivars for the garden that come mainly from East Asia. The common barberry is a host of grain rust and has therefore been almost eradicated. After flowering, red berries are formed, which are eaten by birds.

Size: medium tall shrubs
Location: prefers sun, gets along with shade, hardly any soil requirements
Blossom: May to June, yellow


  • Mulch replaces additional watering and fertilizing
  • Fertilization not necessary, possibly mulching
  • Cutting is not necessary, but is tolerated
  • Wear gloves because of sharp thorns
  • Propagation via cuttings
  • Vine weevil can affect evergreen varieties
  • Powdery mildew possible on deciduous varieties


  • Evergreen barberries (Berberis julianae and frikardii)
  • Thunberg's barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
  • Snow barberry (Berberis candidula)

3. Amelanchier pear

Amelanchier spicata

The native serviceberry is mainly found in dry locations. Other varieties, such as the copper pear, can also be planted in the garden. However, some species grow very large.

Size: native species around two meters, larger ones up to six meters
Location: sunny to semi-shady, well-drained soil, possibly improve with sand
Blossom: April, racemose inflorescences, white


  • watering not necessary
  • Fertilize with compost in spring
  • cut not necessary
  • is considered robust, powdery mildew can occur

4. Firethorn (Pyracantha)

Pyracantha coccinea

Cultivated varieties that have been crossed from the different wild varieties are mainly used for the garden. The berry color can therefore vary. The fruits are very sour and birds only eat them late when there is nothing else left. Abundant flowering will only be achieved if the shrub is allowed to grow freely.

Size: 1.5 to four meters
Location: Full sun, tolerates heat very well, also does well in cities, no demands on the soil
Blossom: May to June, umbrella-like, white color


  • watering is not necessary even when it is dry
  • fertilize with compost in spring
  • Tolerant to pruning, but pruning results in fewer flowers
  • wear gloves when working
  • can be propagated by sticks
  • is considered robust, infestation with vine weevil possible

5. Dogwood species (Cornus)

Cornus florida

These include the cornel, which is considered very bee-friendly, but mostly grows as a tree. It blooms well before other fruit trees in February to April, the fruits are edible. Dogwood cultivars that grow as shrubs often have brightly colored bark and foliage that turns attractive in fall.

Synonym: hornbush
Size: medium sized shrub
Location: nutrient-rich soil with lime content, sunny
Blossom: mostly white in colour, but also yellow, May to June, except for cornus


  • Watering and fertilizing are not absolutely necessary
  • Mulching keeps soil moist and fertile
  • Cut should be avoided
  • Propagation via cuttings or offshoots
  • Hardly susceptible to pests and diseases, watch out for fungal infestation and lice


  • Red Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea)
  • Tartarian Dogwood (Cornus alba)
  • Tiered dogwood (Cornus controversa)

6. Hazelnut (Corylus avellana)

Corylus avellana

Hazelnuts not only offer a rich harvest for the gardener. The flowers of the bushes, which open very early in the year, are often the first food for bees and insects. In addition, a hazelnut bush provides shelter for birds and small mammals and, when the nuts are not harvested, provides food for birds and mice.

Synonyms: Common hazel, hazel bush
Size: up to seven meters
Location: lots of sun, otherwise only small nuts are formed, deep, nutrient-rich soil
Blossom: Flower color inconspicuous, pollination is therefore carried out by the wind, February and March


  • Water only when dry
  • Fertilize in early spring, too much encourages wood growth
  • regular pruning for a loose crown and rich harvest
  • Propagation via sinkers
  • hardly susceptible to diseases
  • The most common pest is the hazelnut borer

Notice: Hazelnuts yield more when planting multiple shrubs.

7. Hydrangeas (Hydrangea)

Hydrangea serrata

They're not just popular garden plants. The shrubs bloom very richly and provide food for bees and insects for a long time. Some varieties also produce very attractive autumn colors.

Size: up to two meters
Location: partially shaded, humus-rich and moist soil, rather acidic
Blossom: Color varies, partly depending on soil conditions, July to September


  • needs a lot of water, water regularly
  • Heavy feeder, fertilize with manure, no later than July
  • Thinning possible, too much pruning endangers flowering
  • can freeze back severely in cold winters, cut off what has been frozen
  • Propagation via cuttings
  • watch out for fungal diseases, protect young plants from snails


  • Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)
  • Ball Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
  • Velvet Hydrangea (Hydrangea aspera)
  • Peasant hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  • Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)
  • Plate hydrangea (Hydrangea serrata)

Notice: Climbing varieties are also bee-friendly.

8. Honeysuckle (Lonicera)

Lonicera x purpusii

The honeysuckle include not only the species that grow as a shrub, but also those that wind up as lianas on other plants. The flowers often have a strong scent and depend on pollination by moths, bumblebees or hoverflies.

Synonyms: Honeysuckles, as a liana also: Jelängerjelieber
Size: 50 to 70 cm, lianas several meters
Location: variable, mostly sunny, but also shady, well-drained and moist soil
Blossom: between May and June, white, yellow and red


  • Drought tolerant, deep rooters, self-moisturizing
  • Fertilizer not absolutely necessary
  • regular pruning encourages new blooms
  • Propagation can be done by cuttings
  • robust against disease
  • susceptible to aphids

Notice: A special feature is the winter honeysuckle (Lonicera purpusii), which flowers as early as January.

9. Jasmine (Jasminum and Philadelphus)

Jasminum nudiflorum

Although both genera are not related to each other, they both have a strong scent and are very bee-friendly. The flowers also attract other insects. The false jasmine (Philadelphus) is also called pipe bush.

Size: one to four meters
Location: Sun to semi-shade, the lighter the more flowers, hardly any soil requirements
Blossom: Winter jasmine flowers yellow from December, other species white from May


  • water regularly
  • provide nutrients from time to time during the growth phase
  • occasional thinning promotes flowering
  • Propagation via cuttings
  • is considered robust


  • Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)
  • Farmer's jasmine (Philadelphus coronarius)
  • Garden jasmine (Philadelphus x lemoinei)

10. Currant (Ribes)

Ribes rubrum

Planting berry bushes in the garden offers two advantages. Insects receive food during flowering and later the berries can be harvested. The pollination of the shrubs is not only done by bees and Co., but also by wind. Of all the types of berries in the garden, currants are considered to be particularly bee-friendly.

Size: up to 1.5 meters depending on the variety
Location: Full sun for particularly aromatic berries, nutrient-rich soil
Blossom: inconspicuous and early, endangered by late frost


  • water regularly and thoroughly, shallow roots dry out easily, mulch
  • Top up with compost two to three times a year
  • Maintenance cut in winter
  • Propagation via cuttings or sinkers
  • Susceptible to powdery mildew, watch out for infestation with blackcurrant aphids

11. Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

This dense hedge plant is not only popular with insects because of its flowers. The berries serve as food for birds and the dense foliage offers plenty of hiding places. Sometimes birds also breed in cherry laurel hedges.

Synonym: Laurel cherry, Pontic laurel cherry
Size: uncut shrubs four to seven meters
Location: semi-shady to shady, prefers clay soil
Blossom: May to June, creamy white, candle-like inflorescences


  • Water and fertilize regularly as a hedge plant, otherwise undemanding
  • Pruning in June, depending on the desired shape
  • Propagation mainly via cuttings
  • Watch out for fungal infestation, also susceptible to vine weevil

12. Privet (Privet)

Ligustrum japonicum

The privet is also one of the popular hedge plants. Many varieties are evergreen, which means that they don't lose their leaves until very late and can therefore also provide protection for birds in winter. The berries, which are poisonous to humans, are eaten by birds, while bees and other insects like to visit the flowers of the shrubs.

Synonym: Rain pastures
Size: one to four meters, uncut shrubs also larger
Location: undemanding, prefers sun and drought
Blossom: yellowish white, June


  • highly drought tolerant
  • supply with compost in the spring
  • possibly regular topiary
  • is propagated by cuttings
  • can be attacked by aphids or powdery mildew, otherwise robust

13. Sloe (Prunus spinosa)

Prunus spinosa

The sloe grows wild in natural hedges or can be planted in the garden. The fruits are edible, but can only be eaten after the first frost. It should be noted that blackthorn easily reproduces itself and can quickly form dense undergrowth through root suckers.

Synonym: Sloe thorn, sour plum, hedge thorn, blackthorn, German acacia
Size: three to five meters
Location: sunny and warm, naturalizes even on poor soil
Blossom: white, March to April, very numerous


  • does not need to be fertilized or watered
  • possibly rejuvenation cut
  • propagates via root suckers, remove excess
  • serves as a host plant for some butterfly species, otherwise watch out for aphids and fungal diseases

14. Snowball species (Viburnum)

Viburnum opulus

The snowball gets its name from the usually round inflorescences. These are often visited by bees and co., who also ensure that the shrubs are pollinated. The berries that form later are red and only edible when fully ripe. The plant itself is considered slightly poisonous.

Size: 0.5 to four meters
Location: Sun, partial shade is tolerated, the soil is not too dry
Blossom: white, spherical inflorescence, April to June, winter viburnum from November


  • requires little maintenance
  • Mulching keeps soil moist and nutrient-rich
  • Pruning is tolerated but not necessary
  • Propagation via cuttings
  • is attacked by the snowball leaf beetle, watch out for powdery mildew


  • Winter viburnum (Viburnum fragrans)
  • Easter Snowball, Korea Snowball (Viburnum carlesii)
  • Evergreen viburnum (Viburnum burkwoodii)
  • Snowball (Viburnum opulus)

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