With one of the most enviable climates in the country, it is no surprise that the Southern California region is booming. As areas like Culver City continue to become more urbanized, we must take measures to keep our spaces feeling natural, green, and sustainable. Pollinators and beneficial insects are essential components of a natural ecosystem. Beneficial insects help control many garden pests naturally by eating them or their eggs. Plants that attract beneficial insects are a terrific long-term investment for your garden.
5 Plants for Attracting Beneficial Insects
1. Black-Eyed Susans
Also known as Rudbeckia, Black-eyed Susans are a common garden flower. However, did you know they have a secret power? Their composite flowers attract both beneficial insects and pollinators. Hoverflies, bees, robber flies, and wasps are all commonly found around Black-eyed Susans. These flowers are low maintenance and self-sowing – you can plant a couple and watch your flower patch expand!
Predatory beetles and other insect decomposers search for dark, moist habitats. Enter mint – a densely growing herb that can create a shady area for these beneficial insects. Mint flowers also attract pollinators such as bees. Don’t forget the bonus of harvesting the mint leaves for tea or mojitos!
Yarrow is a perennial flower with gorgeous, wild-flower-looking blossoms. These flowers are nectar-rich, which attracts beneficial insects and butterflies. Yarrow flowers vary in color, most notably in white, red, and varying shades of yellow. These flowers have an umbrella-like lacy spread and release a sweet fragrance when crushed. Some gardeners also believe that planting yarrow close to aromatic herbs will make the herbs more flavorful, so it is often recommended to place them close to basil, chive, rosemary, and oregano plants.
4. Native Buckwheat
Buckwheat is more than just another trending grain – it is also an excellent plant for attracting beneficial insects. This fast-growing California-native plant’s flowers appear in approximately six weeks. These flowers attract parasitic insects and pollinators such as wasps and bees, making them a multitasking addition to any California garden. Plus, these are tough plants that are easy to grow, even in dry conditions, making them an excellent choice for drought-tolerant landscape designs.
5. Prairie Coneflower
Prairie coneflowers are a North American flower that once was widespread on prairies across the continent. They grow two feet tall, with a prominent cone above a layer of yellow petals. Coneflowers should be planted adjacent to vegetable gardens as their nectar attracts many predatory insects. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that coneflower is known for attracting deer and birds. Therefore, you will want to plant carefully if your garden tends to attract a lot of wildlife; you certainly wouldn’t want them eating your flowers and veggies!
Got wildlife coming and going from your yard that you don’t want? Check out our article on how to deter wildlife.
What types of insects do I want to attract for pest control?
While we mentioned a few beneficial insects above for your garden, here is a quick list of the top insects you want to attract to your garden to prevent bad pests from causing unnecessary problems, according to a pest control company.
- honey bees
- big-eyed bug
- praying mantises
- syrphid flies
- green lacewings
- touch stinkbug
What plants are safe for honeybees?
Most plants provide a symbiotic relationship with bees, however, there are a few that can be dangerous to our buzzing friends. We would recommend avoiding planting Summer Titi (Cyrilla racemiflora), Yellow Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens), Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), and Jimsonweed (Datura Stramonium). Also, keep in mind that American Basswood and California Buckeye can be toxic to bees during times of drought, but otherwise, they are an excellent source of nectar.
What plants are great for composting?
If you are a multi-purpose gardener, you can use your flowers as a source of compost booster. For example, the Yarrow plant we mentioned above is excellent as it helps with decomposition. Other excellent plants for composting include legume, clover, alfalfa, borage, comfrey, kale, and daikon radish. Keep in mind that some of these may attract other pests, so you will want to plant carefully.
Does lavender attract beneficial insects?
Lavender is a popular flower due to its vibrant color and lovely scent. Many people harvest the plant to be transformed into oils, soaps, and other products. Fortunately, lavender is known for attracting ladybugs and butterflies, excellent insects to have in a garden. We recommend planting them as edging for herb gardens!
Which herbs attract beneficial insects?
While we mentioned mint above, it isn’t the only herb that can attract beneficial insects to a garden. Other herbs you can utilize not only in your meal planning but to help protect your garden include cilantro, dill, parsley, fennel, oregano, thyme, basil, and lemon balm.
What should I do with infected plants?
On the chance that your gardening doesn’t stop every insect, it may mean an infected plant. If you have an infected plant of even leaves, you should remove them and put them in the trash. Do not leave them in the garden, and do not put them in the compost; trash only!
Design Scapes – Design a Garden for Beneficial Insects
If you are looking to attract beneficial insects into your garden, we can help! Our expert designers can create a meaningful garden design that will aid your environment and those around you. Whether you want a drought-tolerant landscape design, a traditional English plant garden, or the ultimate vegetable and herb garden, we can design a functional and beautiful design that will serve you well for years for come. For more information, please book a consultation with us!