Attracting Beneficial Insects with the Right Plants

Your garden is a living ecosystem, and many beneficial insects play important roles in supporting its growth and to keep plants healthy in general.

Some even defend your garden from harmful insects, including lacewings, spiders, beetles, and parasitoid wasps - which are predators of common pests. Selecting and growing the right plants will help attract these good bugs to your landscape.

For example, milkweed attracts butterflies and lady beetles, and dill or fennel also appeals to parasitic wasps. Having a steady population of beneficial insects can effectively keep pests at bay, improve harvest yields, and boost the quality of your soil. Here are some suggestions on plants you can grow to help attract beneficials and make them stay. 


Mint for foliage and shelter for beneficial insects | Vego Garden

Adding some mint is a great way to increase foliage and shaded areas in the garden that serve as shelter for certain beneficial insects. They provide a nice habitat for predatory beetles and bees, while they are also great for certain dishes and teas. 


Marigolds attracting several beneficial insects and pollinators | Vego Garden

The vibrant and colorful flowers of Marigolds attract many types of pollinators, including butterflies, ladybugs and hoverflies. These are your garden allies and natural predators of pests like aphids, keeping these harmful insects from damaging your crops. Marigolds can be grown as companion plants alongside crops like tomatoes, strawberries and roses. Apart from their attractive blooms, their strong scent naturally deters pests like mosquitoes and cabbage worms. 


Buckwheat flower field | Vego Garden

This grain crop is also ideal for attracting helpful pollinators and predators like parasitoid wasps. Bees and wasps are attracted by its flowers as well. Plant some buckwheat in your garden and expect flowers to appear as fast as six weeks - inviting a host of pollinators to frequent your backyard. 


Zinnias are vibrant and attract pollinators | Vego Garden

Hands down one of the best flowering annuals to attract pollinating insects like butterflies, Zinnias are low maintenance and will last the whole summer. They’re an excellent choice for attracting bees and butterflies. Mix them in between your vegetables or around other crops to keep pollinators around.


Chamomile in gardens is beneficial for pollinators and a cup of tea | Vego Garden

The annual version of this flower is the most well-known, usually for herbal tea infusions. They are quite easy to grow and spread quickly to form a sort of thick ground cover in your garden. The small and fragrant flowers are ideal for providing both shelter and pollen to beneficial insects.


Dill flowers in the garden attract beneficial insects | Vego Garden

Like fennel, dill flowers are a favorite of many beneficials, such as parasitoid wasps and bees. Plant some dill and they will bring in helpers like lacewings, braconid wasps, lady bugs, hoverflies, and more. These little helpers are great for controlling a variety of pests like aphids, whiteflies, fleas, mites, and squash bugs. 

A few more tips 

Apart from adding the above plants, try to provide a more natural and wild habitat whenever possible to keep more good insects around. This might mean leaving some autumn leaves and weeds alone, and letting trees and shrubs grow in parts of your garden. 

It is also recommended to plant as many varieties of flowers and veggies as possible to encourage a healthy population of pollinators. Include some blooms and pollinated flowers around your vegetables. Additionally, companion planting can be a useful tactic to attract good insects and deter pests at the same time. 

Finally, avoid using pesticides if you can. Even organic pesticides may harm your beneficial insects the same way they do harmful ones. Opt for natural solutions without chemicals instead, to keep your plants and beneficials healthy. 

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