Apr 8, 2010

Best Blossoms for Beneficial Insects

This entry was inspired by an article in the National Wildlife Federation magazine.

The Best Blossoms for Beneficial Insects

There are good reasons to create a backyard buffet for beneficial insects. They are the tigers and barracudas of the insect world, preying upon many of the organisms that ravage prized garden plants. So many homeowners have pest problems largely because their yards are not inviting to the predators and parasites that in natural ecosystems keep pesky creatures in check.

Studies suggest that native composites, wildflowers with daisy-shaped blooms, are champions at attracting beneficial insects. For North America, some of the most widely distributed include:

Asters: Named after the Latin word for “star,” asters come in blues, purples and pinks, all with a yellow center.

Goldenrods: Easily identified by their golden inflorescences with dense masses of tiny flowers, goldenrods are often difficult to tell apart and represent some of the most ubiquitous composites.

Coneflowers: In colors from purple to gold, typically with brown to orange centers, coneflowers are found from coast to coast.

Tickseeds: Also known as coreopsis, tickseeds are native to all but three states—Alaska, Nevada and Utah. They often are partly colored yellow and have petals with notched tips.

Sunflowers: Wild relatives of cultivated sunflowers, which are known for their huge flowerheads, grow throughout the continental United States.

Buckwheats and milkweeds: These plants also are magnets for good bugs. So are culinary herbs with distinctive flower clusters called umbels that resemble little upside-down umbrellas. Some umbelliferous herbs of varying heights include coriander, chervil, fennel, flat-leafed parsley, dill and lovage. [Milkweed is the one shown in the picture].

I think after reading this article that we are going to be more strategic in our garden planting :o)


  1. I agree. We are in the midst--heck, we are ALWAYS in the midst--of garden planning and planting and I really want to incorporate some of these types of plants into the yard.

  2. we have been looking at different options to plant for the backyard, sunflowers and coneflowers would work perfectly for us. i love milkweed flowers too but have never seen seeds for them so i'll be doing a little detective work to track some down.


  3. Where I grew up, wild sunflowers were considered a noxious weed. My dad ( a farmer) still hates them!

  4. Ken I do know how important some of our plants are so try to plant to help the insects ~ We do have a lot of wildlife in the garden ~
    It has been lovely and Sunny here in the UK ~ First time today we were able to sit out in the Garden ~ Ally x

  5. If I came back as an insect I'd like to be a beneficial one!

  6. Hi Ken,
    Good idea ... bring on the beneficial bugs!

  7. I'm going to pass this information along to Leslie, our first floor resident and part time hoticulturist.

  8. Good to know. I think I'll try the planting some Sunflowers, this year.

  9. What a nice post! My mon would love it! She has these bushes called Butterfly bushes in her back yard, and they are just beautiful. And you should see the butterflies she atracts with them. It something to see.

  10. So many wildflowers are considered weeds. And everyone wants to keep their lawns so weedless and so mowed to perfection that what is there don't have time to bloom.

  11. We have many bee, butterfly, and bird attractors in the garden. We're trying to make the yard a safe haven for all of them; so far, it has been successful.

  12. Why do you think I've been trying to plant native flowers and plants, or those that are attractive to bees, hummingbirds, and the like? Try and keep up! LOL


Tell Me What You Think, Don't Make me go Rogue on you :o)