Planter Plants for Attracting Beneficial Insects
There’s a lot to consider when picking out plants for your container gardens. Most of us impulse shop, but if the plants aren’t mutually adapted to the same conditions (all for sunny spots, all for moist soil, etc), not all of them will fill out and thrive. Aesthetics is another consideration: varying leaf shapes, flower forms, and plant structure make for more interesting combinations.
But, do you ever stop to think about how your flower pot may benefit the important insect visitors in your garden?
Different flowers are suited for different pollinators, so having a variety of nectar and pollen producing plants in your mix can help increase the diversity of these beneficial insects, and bring in the hummingbirds, too!
Native Bees love Blue. And, especially if those blue flowers have their petals arranged in little tubes, like those in the mint family.
Lavender, Catmint, and Mealycup Sage will attract small native bees like Sweat Bees and Mason Bees.
Larger blue bloomers, like Delphinium and Borage, can support the weight of larger Bumble Bees and Carpenter Bees.
Beneficial Wasps love Small, Clustered flowers. Did you know that very few of our native wasps build colonial nests and defend them with stings?
In fact, most wasps lead solitary lives hunting down caterpillars, stink bugs, and grasshoppers to feed to their young, which makes them extra beneficial in the garden!
They need to refuel between hunting trips and love to nibble nectar and pollen off of plants like Yarrow, Baby’s Breath, Sea Holly, and Globe Thistles.
Honey Bees like a Varied Diet. In our gardens, they’re attracted to a wide variety of blooming plants, from Clovers to Sedums, to Zinnias. They’ll also visit all the blue flowers that the native bees like, too.
Butterflies like Daisies, Moths like Night Bloomers. Our most popular butterfly feeders in the gardens are definitely zinnias. But they’ll stop in and sample nectar from Yarrow, Asters, Sunflowers, and Shasta Daisies, too. Favorite moth plants include Woodland Tobacco, 4 O’Clocks, Phlox, Petunias, Verbena and Million Bells.
Hummingbirds are all about the Red! Red advertises nectar, and they just can’t resist bloomers like Scarlet Sage, Geraniums, Fuschias, Trumpet Vine, and Agastache.
Thank you to Stacey Gingras from Bug Girl’s Garden for submitting this piece with your expertise and tips. We appreciate our partners and welcome guest contributions on topics pertinent to all things downtown.