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double and single flowers how do you know?

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Question from Deirdre


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I'm a novice gardener who is interested in starting a wildlife garden. I have a long wish list of wildlife friendly plants after some research and thanks to this amazing website!

I know that the best flowers for wildlife are single flowers rather than double but how do you know if they are single or double? Before you buy? (It would be a great feature if it could be added to the plant descriptions on the website!)

Also I would love some suggestions for a shrub (possibly evergreen, beginner level) that would bear berries from early winter to late spring that birds would love (I have holly on my wish list as one option but i'd love to give the birds more choice!)

Thanks eveyone :-)

  • Views: 1071
  • Replies: 4
  • Posted: Tue. 21st August 2012 12:42

Re: double and single flowers how do you know?

Reply from Patricia Jones

If the plant has Flora Plena after its name this indicates it is double flower and you are correct no good for bees or butterflies.
Any rose that produces hips, Rosa Rugosa and many ground cover roses have hips in winter.The RSPB suggests,
dog rose, guelder rose, elder, hawthorn, honeysuckle and ivy), attractive shrubs like cotoneaster, pyracantha and berberis are especially good for a wide range of birds.

  • Posted: Tue. 21st August 2012 12:50

Re: double and single flowers how do you know?

Reply from Deirdre

Thanks Patricia for the help :-)

  • Posted: Tue. 21st August 2012 14:22

Re: double and single flowers how do you know?

Reply from carol sherratt


Just seen your post. Youy may have an answer by now but if not then... single flowers are simple with a few petals surrounding the stamens. Double flowers have lots of petals that block out the stamens. Bees and butterflies need access to the stamen area to get nectar and pollen so that is why single is best.

Single plants are often primrose shape - with half a dozen or so flat petals. Double flowers are like most hybrid tea roses - lots of petals (sometimes 50+) and no visible centre.

A good shrub would be pyracantha or cotoneaster - birds and bees like both.

Hope this helps.



  • Posted: Sun. 28th April 2013 18:17

Re: double and single flowers how do you know?

Reply from KayBee


I found a really great online tool a while back, on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website, called Bee Kind, and it lists lots of bee/wildlife friendly plants all single flower.

The best I grow include buddleia, catmint, pulmonaria and borage - but there's loads more in my garden and indeed on that site.

Good luck!

  • Posted: Sat. 11th May 2013 19:07