Plants that Attract Beneficial Insects
We are installing these gardens at the farm to attract and ‘house’ many beneficial insects, thus reducing or completely removing the use of insecticides. Some of the plants we have used are for attracting insects and some for habitat. We also decided, while we were at it, to make some of them pay for themselves! We added herbs. We are looking to sell some of our herbs to local chefs! It’s an exciting time here at the farm!
The insects we are attracting: hoverflies, parasitic wasps, lacewings, ladybugs, big eyed bugs, damsel bugs and the minute pirate bugs; all have one job in common. They eat NON-beneficial insects! From aphids to Japanese Beetles, they do the same job as chemical insecticide. Only safer.
This is a list of some of the plants that we are currently working with:
Achillea filipendulina - Fern leaved Yarrow – cultivars, the native one can become highly invasive.
Alyssum saxatilis – Basket of Gold Alyssum – early spring color! Gets those insects going!
Anethum graveolens – Dill – excellent habitat, brings in four of the insects listed. (annual)
Aster alpinus – Dwarf Alpine Aster – another early spring bloomer.
Cosmos bipinnatus – Cosmos should be White Sensation…good luck finding this at the local garden center! We used a mix. Looking for seed for next year. (annual)
Foeniculum vulgare – Fennel using a bronze foliage variety for some color variation! Attracts 7 of the listed insects. (annual)
Lavendula angustifolia – Lavender has many uses! Potpourri comes to mind.
Lobularia maritima – Sweet Alyssum – white! Readily self seeds! (annual)
Penstemon strictus – Rocky Mountain Penstemon – tall white flowers and lower rosette of leaves. Attractor and habitat!
Petroselinum crispum – Parsley – herb to sell! Habitat for the critters. (annual)
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Viette’s Little Suzie’ – Black Eyed Susan – this variety does not get the rust that the standard Black Eyed Susan gets.
Tagetes tenuifolia – Lemon/Tangerine Citrus Gem Marigold - attracts 6 of the listed insects! Tough to find. (annual)