Beneficial insects Gardening Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Plants that Attract Beneficial Insects

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Adult lacewings feed on flower pollen, but their larvae, known as aphid lions, are serious predators of aphids and other undesirable insects.

Most beneficial insects use flowers as a food source for at least part of their cycle, or are simply attracted to flowers. And some plants are more attractive to beneficial insects than others. Here are a few you might want to plant to attract or encourage “good insects”.

  1. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) perennial zone 3
  2. Allium, onion (Allium spp.) bulb zone 3-8
  3. Amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus) annual
  4. Aster (Aster spp., now Symphyotrichum and others) perennial zone 4
  5. Basket of gold (Aurinia saxatilis, syn. Alyssum saxatile) perennial zone 3

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    Monarda ‘Croftway Pink’
  6. Bee balm (Monarda spp.) perennial zone 3
  7. Betony (Stachys spp.) perennial zones 3-8
  8. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) tree zone 4b
  9. Buckwheat (Fagopyron esculentum) annual grain
  10. Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) shrub zone 6b
  11. Candytuft (Iberis spp.) annual or perennial zone 4
  12. Caraway (Carum carvi) annual herb
  13. Cinquefoil (Potentilla spp.) perennial zone 3
  14. Coneflower, black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.) annual or perennial zone 3
  15. Coreopsis, tickweed (Coreopsis spp.) annual or zone 3
  16. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) annual herb
  17. Corn cockle (Agrostemma githago) annual

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    Cosmos bipinnatus
  18. Cosmos (Cosmos spp.) annual
  19. Creeping bugle (Ajuga reptans) perennial zone 3
  20. Crocus (Crocus spp.) bulb zone 3
  21. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) perennial zone 2
  22. Dill (Anethum graveolens) annual herb
  23. Dwarf morning glory (Convolvulus tricolor) annual
  24. Echinacea, purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) perennial zone 3
  25. Edging lobelia (Lobelia erinus) annual
  26. Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) biennial zone 4

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    Ammi visnaga
  27. False Queen Anne’s lace (Ammi majus and A. visnaga) annual
  28. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) perennial herb zone 5
  29. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) perennial zone 4
  30. Golden marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria) perennial zone 3
  31. Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) Zone 3
  32. Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) annual or tropical shrub
  33. Houseleek, hens and chicks (Sempervivum spp.) perennial zone 3
  34. Korean angelica (Angelica gigas) perennial zone 3

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    Lavandula angustifolia
  35. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) herb zone 5
  36. Marigold (Tagetes spp.) annual
  37. Masterwort (Astrantia spp.) perennial zone 3
  38. Melilot (Melilotus alba) biennial zone 3
  39. Melissa (Melissa officinalis) herb zone 4
  40. Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) perennial zones 3-10
  41. Mint (Mentha spp.) herb zones 3-7
  42. Orach (Atriplex hortensis) annual
  43. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) biennial zone 3
  44. Penstemon (Penstemon spp.) perennial zones 2-7

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    Phacelia tanacetifolia
  45. Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia) annual
  46. Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) annual
  47. Purple Poppymallow (Callirhoe spp.) annual or perennial, zones 3-6
  48. Red clover (Trifolium incarnatum) Zone 3
  49. Rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) perennial zone 3
  50. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) herb zone 7
  51. Rue (Ruta graveolens) herb zone 5
  52. Sage, salvia (Salvia spp.) annual or perennial zones 3-10
  53. Sedum (Sedum spp.) perennial zones 2-10

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    Sedum kamtschaticum
  54. Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) perennial zones 3 to 5
  55. Silver lace vine (Fallopia baldschuanica, syn. Polygonum aubertii) perennial climber zone 6
  56. Snow-in-summer (Cerastium spp.) perennial zone 3
  57. Snowberry (Symphoricarpos spp.) shrub zones 2-5
  58. Speedwell (Veronica spp.) Zones 2-7
  59. Statice (Limonium spp.) annual or perennial zone 3
  60. Sunflower (Helianthus spp.) annual or perennial, zones 3-6
  61. Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) annual
  62. Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) perennial zone 3

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    Thymus serpyllum
  63. Thyme (Thymus spp.) herb zones 3-8
  64. Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) perennial zone 2
  65. Vervaine (Verbena spp.) annual
  66. Wild carrot (Daucus carota) biennial zone 2
  67. Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) perennial zone 3
  68. Yarrow (Achillea spp.) perennial zone 3
  69. Zinnia (Zinnia spp.) annual

Note that most of the above plants are common ornamentals you can easily find in the average garden center, while others are somewhat more obscure herbs you might need to visit a specialist nursery to find.

Also, some of the plants listed are generally considered weeds… but even weeds can have a good side!

 

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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