Building Habitat for Beneficials

Bachelor's_button,_Basket_flower,_Boutonniere_flower,_Cornflower_-_3

 

The greater the diversity of plants you have in your garden, the more types of habitat you are providing, and thus the more types of insects you will be able to attract to your garden.  Is it important to ensure you have flowering plants in your garden throughout the year, in fact, 5-10% of your garden should be planted specifically to attract and support beneficial insects, which may be predators, pollinators, or parasites (the beneficial kind). These beneficials need water, pollen, and a source of nectar. Remember that the use of pesticides, even organic ones, harm these important creatures.

There are three kinds of flowers that are favorite of garden beneficials; umbelliferous flowers (think carrot or fennel flowers), towers of flowers (mint of sage), or open face (asters, like a daisy).

Below are some top choices for providing food for beneficials;

1. Bachelors buttons – leaves release nectar even when the plant is not blooming, nectar has a very high sugar content

2. Sweet Alyssum

3. Borage – edible blue flowers,  lacewings love it!

4. Anise Hyssop

5. Fennel, dill, yarrow – ladybug favorites!

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Please see this link for a very comprehensive list of both annual and perennial plants that will help bring beneficial insects to the garden.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/plants-to-attract-beneficial-insects-zl0z1005zvau.aspx

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