Insect pests enjoy munching away on your favorite plants, while pollinators love dancing from flower to flower. But, some insects provide a benefit to the yard in unexpected ways. It’s easy to draw these helpers to your garden by planting annuals that attract beneficial insects.
We generally view bugs as a pest in the garden, but many of these insects are useful for keeping your plants safe. Some of these insects are pollinators, such as honeybees and bumblebees.
But, some insects help to keep destructive bugs at bay, and these are the predator insects. These bugs are carnivores, and they help keep the herbivores like aphids from devouring your garden and plants.
Unfortunately, these beneficial bugs don’t always make an appearance in time to save your precious vegetables and plants, and it’s necessary to give them a reason to visit the area.
- Attracting Beneficial Insects to the Yard with Annuals
- Why Should I Introduce Beneficial Insects to My Garden?
- Which Types of Insects are Beneficial to the Yard?
- How do Annual Plants Attract Good Bugs to the Yard?
- Where Should I Plant these Types of Annuals?
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Basket of Gold (Aurinia saxatilis) – Carpet of Annuals that Attract Beneficial Insects
- Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
- Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – Aromatic Plant for Beneficial Insects
- Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
- Marigold (Tagetes) – Easy Growing Annual Flower for Attracting Good Bugs
- Tickseed (Coreopsis)
- Zinnia (Zinnia Elegans) – Annuals that Attract Good Insects with Colorful Blooms
- Goldenrod (Solidago)
- Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) – Easy-to-Grow Annual for Attracting Beneficial Bugs
- Coneflower (Echinacea)
- Sunflower (Helianthus) – Seed-Producing Flower for Good Insects
- Dill (Anethum graveolens)
- Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) – Attractive Plant that is Beneficial to Insects
Attracting Beneficial Insects to the Yard with Annuals
There are so many different plants to choose from when designing your garden and yard. Adding some trees that attract birds, while filling your garden with flowering plants is a great way to attract pollinators such as butterflies, bumblebees, and hummingbirds.
Not only that, but certain plants catch the eye of carnivorous bugs that help keep a healthy balance in your yard.
Note, too, that while you will bring in some of the bugs you want that there may be others that drop by that are not so welcome. What draws gnats? Many plants that encourage bees and butterflies are also attractive to gnats and wasps.
Why Should I Introduce Beneficial Insects to My Garden?
Introducing beneficial bugs to your yard is critical in helping your plants flourish while protecting them from infestations of plant-munching insects.
Some of these good bugs pollinate your flowers, while others feed on harmful insect pests and their eggs, preventing them from destroying your plants and garden.
Which Types of Insects are Beneficial to the Yard?
While we often think of insects as garden pests, there are many types of insects that are helpful to the garden. Lacewings, ladybugs, hoverflies, parasitic wasps, tachinid flies, and minute pirate bugs are just a few of these beneficial insects.
How do Annual Plants Attract Good Bugs to the Yard?
Many plant species are a favorite among good insects, such as lady beetles and syrphid flies, including the tansy plant, aster, penstemon, phacelia, buckwheat, caraway, angelica plant, and borage.
Beneficial insects raise their families in the foliage and use the plants as a hideout while waiting for their dinner.
Where Should I Plant these Types of Annuals?
The first step in determining where to grow these annuals is to check the plant care guide for sunlight requirements. Match up the sun and shade needs of the plant to the proper area of your yard.
Consider planting them around the gardens you want to protect, such as a veggie garden or flowerbed. Some of these plants have colorful flowers and grow well intermingled with your other favorite flowers.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow has fern-like foliage and cheerful blooms in shades of white, pink, yellow, orange, and red. Ladybugs love this plant, and growing these flowers near plants such as aromatic herbs makes them more flavorful.
These low maintenance flowers grow 1 to 3 feet tall and wide. They flourish in sunny locations and are deer resistant and drought tolerant. They are a perennial herb that also grows as an annual.
Basket of Gold (Aurinia saxatilis) – Carpet of Annuals that Attract Beneficial Insects
These plants attract ladybugs, and grow just about anywhere, including cracks in a stone wall and in-between paving stones. Basket of gold produces clusters of blooms and grayish-green foliage that creates a blanket of color.
These flowering plants grow 1 to 3 feet tall and spread up to 18 inches and grow well in full sun. Basket of gold is drought tolerant and deer resistant, and makes an excellent plant for erosion control.
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
Cilantro, or coriander, is a bright green plant with fern-like stems. It produces white and pink flowers during the summer, and both the leaves and seeds are edible. This plant is a food source for green lacewing larvae and a favorite of lady beetles and their larvae.
On average, this flowering herb grows 1 foot tall and prefers part to full sun. Cilantro is a low maintenance plant that is deer resistant and has many uses in the garden.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – Aromatic Plant for Beneficial Insects
Fennel has feathery foliage that resembles dill leaves. This plant actively repels aphids, and it attracts tachinid flies, syrphid flies, hoverflies, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps to the garden.
This fragrant herb grows 3 to 5 feet tall and spreads up to 2 feet. It is low maintenance and grows best in part to full sun. The finely textured foliage of this plant adds visual appeal to the garden.
Swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on fennel plants so if you want to “grow” some plants for butterflies, add a few fennel plants to your yard.
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Alyssum is a cool-season annual with delicate white, pink, and purple flowers that have a honey fragrance. They grow in tidy mounds of foliage, and the dainty blooms attract hoverflies and pollinators with its sweet nectar.
This ground cover annual grows 6 to 12 inches tall and wide. It tolerates part to full sun but does not like high temperatures. It is low maintenance, highly fragrant, and is an excellent border plant for gardens.
Marigold (Tagetes) – Easy Growing Annual Flower for Attracting Good Bugs
These heat-loving flowers bloom in bright shades of yellow, orange, and red from spring through fall. Hoverflies, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps enjoy this easy growing flower, and the deer leave it alone, making it a smart choice for planting around a veggie garden.
Marigolds grow up to 12 inches tall and grow well in containers or a border. These sun-loving flowers are low maintenance and deer resistant and one of the easiest annuals to grow.
This plant produces long-lasting blooms in colorful shades of red, pink, orange, and yellow from summer through fall. Birds munch on the tasty seeds and the blooms attract hoverflies, lacewings, and parasitic wasps to the yard.
Tickseed flowers have an average size of 12 inches tall and require full sun to flourish. They are low maintenance, drought tolerant, and deer resistant, and are well-known as annual flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators to the yard.
Zinnia (Zinnia Elegans) – Annuals that Attract Good Insects with Colorful Blooms
Zinnias grow in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, with purple, red, green, orange, white, pink, and yellow flowers. They draw pollinating bees and butterflies, and beneficial insects such as hoverflies and parasitic wasps to the garden. Zinnias are also hummingbird annuals, drawing the tiny birds to their bright colors.
These annual flowers have an average size of 1 to 3 feet tall and 12 to 18 inches wide. They bloom from summer through fall and prefer sunny areas of the yard. They are deer resistant and low maintenance.
This plant has vibrant gold flowers that burst into bloom during the end of summer and well into fall. Their tasty pollen attracts a variety of pollinators and beneficial insects to the area when other flowers begin to die.
Goldenrod grows best in full or part sun and has a mature size of 1 to 3 feet tall and wide. It is a low maintenance plant that is also deer resistant and drought tolerant, making it a good choice for an easy-care plant.
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) – Easy-to-Grow Annual for Attracting Beneficial Bugs
These daisy-like flowers attract a variety of pollinator, beneficial insects, and butterflies. Cosmos flowers are some of the best plants for honey bees, too. They bloom in vibrant shades of red, white, pink, orange, and yellow from summer through fall.
Cosmos reaches a mature height of 1 to 3 feet tall. They are a sun-loving plant that grows vigorously under the right conditions. These are easy to grow plants that tolerate poor soil.
Coneflowers are a cheerful plant that produces colorful flowers from summer through fall in shades ranging from purple and yellow to red and orange. Pollinators enjoy its nectar, birds love its seeds, and beneficial insects seek the shelter it provides.
This multi-purpose plant grows 1 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide. The fragrant flowers are low maintenance, deer resistant and drought tolerant, and provide year-round interest to the garden.
Sunflower (Helianthus) – Seed-Producing Flower for Good Insects
Annual sunflowers are a majestic sight in the garden with their large and showy blooms in shades of yellow, orange, and red. These flowers encourage many beneficial insects to visit the yard and produce edible seeds in the fall that birds love.
These large plants grow 3 to 8 feet tall or more and need full sun to thrive. They are easy to grow and drought tolerant, and create a dramatic and stunning site as a backdrop in the garden setting.
Dill (Anethum graveolens)
Dill has aromatic feathery foliage and seeds and produces small yellow flowers for pollinating insects. This plant lures beneficial bugs to the garden and keeps thrips, whiteflies, and other pests under control.
This summer-blooming herb attracts birds to the yard and grows well in containers or mixed in with a vegetable garden. This sun-loving, fragrant plant grows 3 to 8 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide and is drought tolerant and deer resistant.
Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) – Attractive Plant that is Beneficial to Insects
Queen Anne’s lace is also called wild carrot, and it is beneficial to various pollinators, including bees, wasps, and flies. It has attractive foliage with a fern-like appearance and flattened bouquets of tiny white flowers.
This herb has a scent that resembles carrots and reaches heights of 1 to 4 feet tall. It adapts to most soil conditions and tolerates part shade and sun.
Introducing pollinating insects and carnivorous bugs is essential to creating a healthy balance in the yard.
Some of these insects help plants thrive through cross-pollination and fertilization while others keep destructive pests in check. Planting annuals in the garden is one of the easiest ways to draw these helpful bugs to your property.
Creating a garden of annuals that attract beneficial insects to keep your garden plants safe from pests is easy, so why not share our good bug plant guide with your friends and family on Pinterest and Facebook?