Garden allies to the rescue

Why use insecticides when you can attract beneficial insects to fight the good fight instead?

Credit: Carolyn Herriot

Gardening with wildlife has opened my eyes to new ways of enhancing the health of my garden. Broad-spectrum insecticides can be fatal to wildlife, but encouraging healthy populations of beneficial insects in the garden makes it unnecessary to use such products.

tree frog
Plants that Lure Beneficials:

  • Achillea filipendulina fern-leaf yarrow attracts lacewings and ladybugs.
  • Agastache foeniculum anise hyssop has nectar-rich flowers that are very attractive to both butterflies and pest-eating beneficial insects.
  • Anthemis tinctoria golden marguerite, produces bright-yellow daisies very attractive to five key kinds of beneficials – ladybugs, lacewings, flower flies, tachinid flies and mini-wasps.
  • Borago officinalis borage with bright-blue clusters of edible, cucumber-flavoured flowers. Common green lacewings have a strong preference for laying their eggs on borage.
  • Centaurea cyanus cornflower or bachelor button has nectar highly attractive to ladybugs, lacewings and beneficial wasps.
  • Foeniculum vulgare fennel has flowers extremely attractive to nectar-feeding beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps, lacewings and hoverflies.
  • Lobularia maritima sweet alyssum is highly attractive to syrphid flies, the larva of which eat dozens of aphids daily.
  • Phacelia tanacetifolia bee frien) has lovely purple-blue flowers irresistible to hoverflies and bees.
  • Salix spp. pussy willows are especially valuable because they produce pollen early in spring, when many beneficials are just emerging.

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