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How to Attract Beneficial Predatory Insects & Pollinators to your Garden

How to Attract Beneficial Predatory Insects & Pollinators to your Garden

Planting a diversity of plants is important for the health of your garden. Whether you're looking to ensure your little orchard sets fruit or you want to keep pests away from your produce, adding a healthy variety of predatory and pollinator insect attracting plants to your garden is an AMAZING and chemical-free way to reduce your maintenance needs and avoid toxic chemicals. These plants help bees, beetles, butterflies and more ensure your garden is naturally managed by top tier flower dancers and insect eaters so you can set your irrigation timer and forget about the rest (until it's time for harvest)! 

What are Predatory Insects? 

Predatory insects eat aphids, cabbage moths and other leaf or vegetable-eating insects. It was recently reported in a research study from Michigan University that predatory insect attracting plants save farmers “an estimated $4.6 billion last year on insecticides.”  Let us hope they continue to up their creativity in their predatory insect attracting planting techniques and quit even more insecticides!

Predatory insect attracting plants will dramatically improve garden safety and health, protecting it from herbivorous insect plagues. And the best part is a lot of insect attracting plants you've already thought about planting in your garden!

Go pesticide free - grow these flowers for attracting predatory insects to the garden - allium

Best Predatory & Pollinator-Insect Attracting Plants

Apiaceae: Umbels

  • Angelica, Anise, Carraway, Carrot, Celery, Chervil, Cicely,
  • Carrot, parsnip, queen anne's lace 
  • Herbs: Cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, parsley
  • Lovage -  Levisticum
  • Hemlock - Conium

Umbels have umbelliferous shaped flowers. A number of carrot species can be major skin irritants and cause severe rashes if sap gets on skin and is exposed to the sun. Others like hemlock, are highly toxic. 

Alliums: Onions (Ornamental)

Asteraceae: Composites/Daisies

  • Daisy / Aster
  • Sunflowers - Encelia, Helianthus, etc. 
  • Sneeze weed - Helenium
  • Marigolds - Tagetes
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Dahlias / Zinnias

Lamiaceae: Mints

  • Mint - Menthe
  • Lemon balm - Melissa 
  • Bee balm family - Monardella
  • Catmint - Nepeta
  • Hummingbird mint - Agastace
  • Rosemary - Rosmarinus
  • Lavender - lavandula
  • Teak
  • Herbs: Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Sage, perilla


best herb plants for pollinators in California gardens

These are just a few of the most common predatory and pollinating insect attracting plants. Remember if you're using herbs or vegetables for this purpose you have to let them go to flower to be effective to be an attractant or food source for your pollinating and predatory insect friends. 

They attract beetles, centipedes, spiders, bees, butterflies and the like because the shallow flower shapes allow these desirable insects to feed.  ”Many insect pest predators and parasites use flower nectar as a source of energy while they search for prey (Edible Forest Gardens 164).” Their prey being your plant-eating pests! 

Why do we need these insects?

Because predatory insects and parasites will eat the herbivorous insects and parasites that eat your plants. There are four levels of predators in the micro-ecosystem in a healthy garden. And they need the support of food from flowers when their ideal herbivorous prey is not around. Having a steady residential system of beneficial predatory insects ensures the health and stability of your garden ecosystem by preventing herbivorous insect plagues on your crops.

Pollinators are of obvious importance in fertilizing the flowers that produce the fruit, vegetables and grains that we grow to survive. Without pollinating insects around we would have a lot of painstaking hand fertilizing work to do. According to the UN the work pollinators due managing our food crops is tantamount to $200 billion a year worth of labor. 

It is not just important to plant some of these flowers but to plant lots of them and a large variety of them in order to ensure that your predatory and pollinating insects have a stable supply of nectar spring, summer and fall (winter too in milder climates!).


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