It’s not only people who love roses. They also attract many insects and birds. When you plant these beauties in your garden, you’ll be enjoying them as well as giving biodiversity a helping hand.
Roses are essential for wildlife in a garden: insects thrive on the pollen produced by roses, rose hips are a welcome source of food for birds in the autumn and winter, and the rose bushes provide birds with nesting sites and give small mammals shelter. All this wildlife makes your garden or balcony a lot more fun to watch. You get to enjoy your roses while also encouraging biodiversity.
Single-flowered roses (the ones with open centres) are particularly rich in available pollen, but insects such as honeybees, bumblebees and hoverflies will also collect pollen from semi-double roses. The fragrance of roses is an extra way that roses have of attracting insects from greater distances. A rose bush can be buzzing with bees on a sunny day! Should aphids find their way to roses, this will also attract ladybirds, lacewings and other natural predators.
Birds like thrushes, blackbirds and redwings will feed on the rose hips during the autumn and winter. And some bird species such as green finches and goldfinches will peck out the seeds inside rose hips. These birds also eat many aphids and caterpillars on these plants. The rose bushes themselves provide nesting sites for birds and shelter for small mammals.
Interesting little facts about biodiversity
- Did you know that roses are a host plant for a number of moths, including the Black-spot Chestnut? They need the rose to grow and change from a caterpillar into a moth.
- The light yellow pollen produced by roses is usually released during the late morning hours. This is when you have the best chance of seeing insects heavily powdered with pollen.
- Cut back roses that produce many rose hips immediately after the first flush of flowers. The second flowering will provide insects with extra food.