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The Blog: Let's Talk Gardening

Plants that Attract Beneficial Insects

Beneficial insects are good bugs - that means they eat bad bugs like aphids, thrips and spider mites that feed on your plants or they provide a benefit to the plants. Ladybugs for instance are great workers in the garden and a single ladybug can eat more than 5,000 aphids in its lifetime. Flowers attract other beneficial bugs including bees, butterflies and hummingbirds that help pollinate. Caterpillars are also beneficial. When they are preparing to form their cocoon, they will eat aphids. Here’s a list of some of our favorite plants that attract beneficial bugs.

Dill - has feathery green foliage that stands tall in the back of herb gardens. But, don't just plant it there, mix it in with your perennial flowers. It attracts butterflies and ladybugs. Dill has clusters of pretty yellow flowers. Its also a spice for fish dishes or to incorporate in salads.

Salvia – a member of the mint family these blooms offer long lasting color and attract butterflies and pollinators. Salvia is typically a rapid grower and tolerates summer heat with more graceful, spiky blooms. Many colors are available from different types of salvia and these include blues, purples, pinks, reds as well as some whites and yellows.

Lobelia - has brilliant blue or white flowers that are a favorite of hummingbirds. Plant them in container gardens and beds that receive full to partial sun.

Agastache - has spikes of tubular shaped flowers and aromatic foliage with a lemon-peppermint fragrance. This perennial is a favorite of ladybugs, butterflies, hummingbirds and gardeners alike.

Parsley – This is a favorite of the parsleyworm caterpillar, which becomes the treasured black swallowtail butterfly. White the caterpillar will ea much of the plant, they will not kill so we suggest planting some for your and the soon to be butterflies. Grow in full sun to part shade.

Scabiosa – also known as the Pincushion flower. The lavender blooms look like a pincushion. They bloom profusely from early spring through summer. Plant this perennial in a sunny spot for you and the ladybugs to enjoy.

Coneflowers - Echinacea, or Coneflowers are a favorite summertime perennial that attract ladybugs, butterflies and hummingbirds. Best known as the Purple Coneflower there are many different varieties available today in all sorts of shades of purple, white, orange, yellow, pink, red and peach. Plant in full sun and enjoy these hardy perennials

Coreopsis - is another perennial that blooms profusely through the heat of the summer. While ladybugs and butterflies love it, deer do not and this bloom can be planted in a deer resistant garden. It will thrive in full sun.

Lavender - there are many different types of lavender which will attract ladybugs and butterflies. Their spikes of lavender or blue flowers are also prized for their fragrance. Plant them as a hedge in your herb garden, in a mass in a waterwise landscape or in container gardens in full sun.

Milkweed (Asclepias) - is also called Butterfly weed and is known as a butterfly magnet, but they aren't the only beneficial insect that loves Milkweed, ladybugs do too. The beautiful flowers of Milkweed are either yellow, orange, or red and yellow mixed. Plant them in a sunny spot.

Yarrow - is one of the easiest perennials to grow. Beautiful clusters of flowers in yellow, pink, or white sit atop fern like foliage. Yarrow is beautiful planted in mixed perennial borders and makes an excellent cut flower for drying. Plant in full sun and once it is established it requires little extra water.

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