Plants Japanese Beetles Like

Japanese beetle. Photo: Benny Mazur, Flickr

Here’s a list of the plants Japanese beetles (Popilia japonica) like best. If the pests are common in your area or are heading your way, you might want to avoid growing them.

  1. Apple (Malus spp.)
  2. Apricot (Prunus spp.)
  3. Aronia (Aronia spp.)
  4. Asparagus (Asparagus spp.)
  5. Basil (Ocimum spp.)
  6. Basswood (Tilia spp.)
  7. Bayberry (Myrica spp.)
  8. Bean (Phaseolus spp.)
  9. Bilberry (Vaccinium spp.)
  10. Black walnut (Juglans nigrum)
  11. Blackberry (Rubus spp.)
  12. Blazing star (Liatris spp.)
  13. Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.)
  14. Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)
  15. Bramble (Rubus spp.)
  16. Buckeye (Aesculus spp.)
  17. Buddleia (Buddleia spp.)
  18. Butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.)
  19. Canna (Canna spp.)
  20. Carrot (Daucus carota)
  21. Catalpa (Catalpa spp.)
  22. Celosia or cockscomb (Celosia argenta)
  23. Cherry (Prunus spp.)
  24. Chestnut (Castanea spp.)
  25. Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
  26. Chokeberry (Aronia spp.)
  27. Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.)
  28. Corn or maize (Zea mays)
  29. Cosmos (Cosmos spp.)
  30. Crabapple (Malus spp.)
  31. Cranberry (Vaccinium spp.)
  32. Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.)
  33. Currant (Ribes spp.)
  34. Dahlia (Dahlia spp.)
  35. Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)
  36. Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)
  37. Eggplant or aubergine (Solanum melongena)
  38. Elderberry (Sambucus spp.)
  39. Elephant’s ear (Caladium spp.)
  40. Elm (Ulmus spp.)
  41. Evening primrose (Oenonthera spp.)
  42. Fleeceflower (Polygonum spp., Fallopia spp. and Persicaria spp.)
  43. Four o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa)
  44. Foxglove (Digitalis spp.)
  45. Gooseberry (Ribes spp.)
  46. Grape vine (Vitis spp.)
  47. Gray birch (Betula populifolia)
  48. Gumbo (Abelmoschus spp.)
  49. Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)
  50. Hazel (Corylus spp.)
  51. Heather (Calluna vulgaris)
  52. Hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.)
  53. Himalayan birch (Betula utilis jaquemontii)
  54. Hollyhock (Alcea spp.)
  55. Hops (Humulus spp.)
  56. Horsechestnut (Aesculus spp.)
  57. Hydrangea, oak leaf (Hydrangea quercifolia)
  58. Impatiens (Impatiens spp.)
  59. Iris (Iris spp.)
  60. Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica)
  61. Japanese lilac (Syringa reticulata)
  62. Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)
  63. Japanese quince (Chaenomeles spp.)
  64. Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium spp.)
  65. Kiwi (Actinidia spp.)
  66. Knotweed (Polygonum spp., Fallopia spp. and Persicaria spp.)
  67. Lablab bean (Dolichos spp.)
  68. Lawn grass (various grasses)
  69. Liatris (Liatris spp.)
  70. Linden (Tilia spp.)
  71. Marigold (Tagetes spp.)
  72. Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)
  73. Mauve (Malva spp.)
  74. Meadowsweet or queen of the prairie (Filipendula spp.)
  75. Morning glory (Ipomoea spp.)
  76. Mountain ash (Sorbaria spp.)
  77. Ninebark (Physocarpus spp.)
  78. Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
  79. Okra (Abelmoschus spp.)
  80. Paper birch (Betula papyrifera)
  81. Pawpaw (Asimina spp.)
  82. Peach and nectarine (Prunus spp.)
  83. Pepper (Capsicum annuum)
  84. Phlox (Phlox spp.)
  85. Pin oak (Quercus palustris)
  86. Plane (Platanus spp.)
  87. Plum (Prunus spp.)
  88. Poison ivy (Toxicodendron spp.)
  89. Popular (Populus spp.)
  90. Porcelain vine (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)
  91. Potato (Solanum tuberosum)
  92. Privet (Ligustrum spp.)
  93. Purple coneflower (Echinacea spp.)
  94. Ragweed (Ambrosia spp.)
  95. Raspberry (Rubus spp.)
  96. Rhubarb (Rheum spp.)
  97. Rose (Rosa spp.)
  98. Sassafras (Sassafras spp.)
  99. Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)
  100. Silver lace vine (Fallopia aubertii, syn. Polygonum aubertii)
  101. Soya (Glycine max)
  102. Squash (Cucurbita spp.)
  103. St. John’s wort (Hypericum spp.)
  104. Summersweet (Clethra spp.)
  105. Sundrops (Oenonthera spp.)
  106. Thistle (Cirsium spp.)
  107. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)
  108. Viburnum (Viburnum spp.)
  109. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolius)
  110. Willow (Salix spp.)
  111. Wisteria (Wisteria spp.)
  112. Zinnia (Zinnia spp.)

If you’re looking for plants Japanese beetles are less likely to nibble on, here is a list you might find interesting: Plants Japanese Beetles Tend to Avoid.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

12 comments on “Plants Japanese Beetles Like

  1. Christopher Zippel

    Hypericum a favorite.

  2. I’d rather battle the beetles than give up so many of the plants I love that are on your list! It was interesting to read though. I’ve already found them on my roses, blackberries, basil and celosia (which I noticed was not on your list, but it is their go-to plant here right now!) Once the soybean fields start blooming, we have little problem because that’s their absolute favorite and a seemingly endless supply of food until the plants are done blooming, then the beetles return to the roses and cannas.

  3. Oh, heck no! Even if Japanese beetle were here, I could not do without apple, apricot, cherry and so on!

  4. Virginia Creeper is all, at least it is not poison, like poison oak.

  5. A list of what they don’t eat might have been shorter for you to input. 🙂 If you find anything that does eat virginia creeper or japanese knotweed, please text because I’ll get right on it. 🙂

  6. Beetle traps to stop adults, milky spore to kill the grub, NO it will NOT harm earthworms, only grubs.
    I will not stop, just because the government let bad bugs in the USA!

  7. Margaret

    My daughter called them Japanese beetle-bugs when she was about four. Pretty cute, huh?

    As for me, I would gladly give up my basil if something came to eat my poison ivy, wild grapes, wisteria and Virginia creeper. I would be sad to lose the daylilies, though.

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