Do Hydrangeas Attract Wasps? What Creatures Might Visit Your Plant (Revealed)

Wasps on hydrangea

The striking heads of hydrangeas come in various appealing shapes and colors.

They look beautiful to us, but what about some of the creatures we commonly find in gardens?

Do they find them equally enticing?

Initially, I was going just to answer the question, do hydrangeas attract wasps? 

But then I thought, why focus just on them, what about all the other creatures that sometimes frequent our gardens?

So let’s get started.

Do Hydrangeas Attract Wasps?

Particular varieties of hydrangeas will attract wasps. If you don’t want wasps to visit your hydrangeas then you are best off planting the mophead cultivar which is less attractive due to its lack of fertile flowers. The same goes for bees and butterflies.

All Flowering Plants Attract Pollinators

The bottom line is that all flowering plants attract pollinators and hydrangeas are no different.

Hydrangeas tend not to attract hornets or the most predatory wasps, but their smell and bright flowers and, in some but not all instances, pollen, will mean you will get some species of wasps regularly visiting some of your hydrangeas.

Note I say ‘some’ of your hydrangeas.

Wasps, and pollinators in general, won’t visit sterile hydrangeas as they provide no benefit.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) publishes a list of pollinator plants. On that list are hydrangea petiolaris and hydrangea paniculata.

One particular paniculata I always find swarming with wildlife is my Quick Fire hydrangea.

We will expand on this a bit more in our next section, which is…

Do Hydrangeas Attract Bees?

So if you have been wondering do hydrangeas attract pollinators? You now know the answer!

And, of course, there is no more prevalent pollinator than the bee.

So yes hydrangeas attract bees. Bees are attracted to the same varieties of hydrangea that wasps are.

So let’s look into the varieties they do like in a bit more detail.

Hydrangea paniculatas are listed on the RHS list of pollinator-friendly plants, and they do emit a faint scent that attracts pollinators such as bees to their fertile flowers.

Bee on hydrangea

Not all paniculatas are popular with bees however.

If you want to bring the bees to your yard popular paniculata cultivars include Confetti, Kyushu, Praecox, Greenspire, Big Ben, Dharuma, Floribunda and of course Quick Fire.

The other pollinator-friendly variety on the RHS list is the hydrangea petiolaris or the climbing hydrangea.

These maximize growing space and will be regularly visited by bees.

The sprawling leaves and gentle white flowers of oakleaf hydrangeas are also bee (and wasp) friendly as are some lacecap hydrangeas, in particular the Blue Wave cultivar.

If you want to grow hydrangeas that don’t attract bees (or wasps), then you will want to consider planting mophead hydrangeas.

This variety is easily recognizable by their spherical ‘mophead’ blossom heads. They usually have just a tiny number of fertile blooms despite their vibrant and showy look.

You might get the odd bee or wasp settling on them momentarily, but as soon as they know there is nothing of interest for them, they fly off again almost immediately

Do Hydrangeas Attract Ants?

Ants are not attracted to hydrangeas, instead they are attracted to aphids that often frequent hydrangeas.

Aphids are tiny soft-bodied insects that eat sap from leaves and flower buds.

When they have done this, they excrete a sticky, sweet substance called honeydew and ants love it!

That is why if you see ants on your hydrangea they are most likely there for the aphids.

Aphids and ants have what is called a symbiotic relationship.

Aphids produce food for ants and in return ants protect aphids from predators.

To get rid of the ants you will need to get rid of the aphids.

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Thankfully, that is fairly easily done.

A simple spray of water mixed with some dish soap should do the trick.

Sometimes ants will also nest in pots and may cause root disturbance. 

If they are nesting in your potted hydrangea usually this is a sign that conditions are very dry and your plant needs watering.

To water your hydrangea and get rid of the ants, dilute a few drops of essential oil cloves in around 5 liters of water and pour on.

Ants won’t like the smell and will move on.

Do Hydrangeas Attract Butterflies?

Seeing butterflies fluttering across your backyard is a sight to behold, and hydrangeas can definitely make that sight more of a likelihood.

Once again if you want these delicate creatures to visit your hydrangeas then take a look at the list of hydrangeas that bees like.

Like bees, butterflies will be attracted to hydrangeas with a higher proportion of fertile flowers as they will be attracted to the nectar.

The same Quick Fire variety that bees and wasps seem to like also draws in numerous butterflies.

Butterflies love white and light-colored flowers too, and the head of hydrangea flowers are fairly large, another attraction for butterflies.

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Do Hydrangeas Attract Slugs?

I wouldn’t say hydrangeas attract slugs, but they will eat almost anything it seems so don’t be surprised if they do munch on your hydrangeas…

Slugs generally prefer decaying material for food, but if that isn’t readily available they will feed on plant leaves.

If you see ragged edges and holes in your hydrangea leaves it could be slugs. Usually, they start at the edge of a leaf and work inwards.

Hydrangeas also like their soil to be constantly moist, and this can attract slugs.

The best time to catch slugs in action is at night, so go out with a flashlight and see if you can find them.

You can of course fairly easily get rid of them by picking them off your plants with a bucket of salt water to hand.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the problem will go away!

This Gardeners World article provides some excellent advice on how to get rid of slugs from your garden.

Do Hydrangeas Attract Snails? 

Like slugs, snails will also devour the foliage and stems of a hydrangea given half a chance.

Again ragged holes on the leaves, along with the familiar silvery slime trail is a sure sign a snail (or slug), has been at work.

As with slugs, you can hand remove them, use chemical baits and remove all rubbish, boxes and materials where they may lay their eggs.

The one type of hydrangea a slug or snail won’t eat is the woody hydrangea.

Do Hydrangeas Attract Mosquitoes? 

Mosquitoes are no more attracted to hydrangeas than any other typical garden plant.

They certainly won’t be attracted to them for their pollen in the same way bees and wasps are, for their bright flowers as butterflies are or as a potential food source as slugs and snails are.

The only reason you might notice mosquitoes around your hydrangea is if you overwater and leave puddles of water around them.

Mosquitos are attracted to standing water.

Do Hydrangeas Attract Spiders? 

You may notice spiders spinning their webs across your hydrangea, but they won’t be attracted to them.

However, where you might have a problem is with spider mites.

Spider mites are very tiny eight-legged bugs that can suck the life from your hydrangea if you aren’t careful.

Spider mites are almost invisible to the naked eye and can be found on the underside of hydrangea leaves. They do weave protective silk webs which will be easier to spot.

They pierce leaf cells and feed on the sap of the hydrangea.

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As well as the webbing, the presence of spider mites can also turn foliage yellow and distorted.

If you don’t kill them they will come back year after year. That is why dislodging them with a spray of water often isn’t enough.

Not only will you need to kill the mites on the plants, but you will also need to kill the larvae and their eggs.

Spraying neem oil on your hydrangea every 7 days is recommended, as is gently wiping the branches with a cotton swap dipped in rubbing alcohol.

If you want a more natural solution then ladybirds will eat spider mites, so having plants around that are home to ladybirds can help.

Do Hydrangeas Attract Cicadas? 

Ladybird on hydrangea

Cicadas prefer to lay their eggs in trees and rarely bother shrubs, so your hydrangeas should not attract them.

The only slight risk posed is due to the lack of cognitive ability of cicadas, which may, in desperate times, attempt to lay their eggs in the stem of a plant.

If you are concerned about this you can temporarily cover your hydrangeas with netting and then remove it as soon as cicada season is over.

The trade-off with this is the fact the netting will impair air circulation and slightly increase the risk of a pathogenic infection.

Final Thoughts

Do hydrangeas attract bugs? 

It all depends on your definition of a bug, but I think we can safely say they do.

They certainly attract wasps, bees, butterflies and other pollinators due to their nectar, scent and bright flowers.

You will also unfortunately find snails and slugs like to munch on them too.

Some hydrangeas are more attractive to insects than others, if you want to keep bees or wasps away from a particular part of your garden then plant mophead hydrangeas.

These have a much smaller number of fertile blooms and as such won’t be bothered by potential pollinators.

On the whole though hydrangeas aren’t any more susceptible to bugs and wildlife than any other garden plant.

And the ones that do visit are usually doing something beneficial.

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