HorticultureGreat Plants for the Bugs in Your Garden

June 5, 2017

It’s World Environment Day and we’ve decided to highlight some of the insects that serve a unique purpose in the Earth’s ecosystem, especially butterflies and spiders. The Virginia Zoo Horticulture Department has put together a list of some great plants that should be in your garden if you want to attract butterflies, as well as a list of other bugs, such as spiders, that are beneficial to the health of your garden.

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful insects, and can be big or small and dull or vibrantly colored. They are attracted to plants with bright red or blue flowers, as well as fragrant plants that emit unique scents. Here are some of the many plants that are known to attract these pollinators, and their caterpillar counterparts, to a flower bed or garden.

Black Knight Butterfly Bush

Echinacea

Fennel

Hollyhock

Milkweed

Nettle

Thistle

There are also other insects besides butterflies that can have a home in your garden. These bugs will help your plants grow healthy and can even keep pests from trying to make your plants their dinner.

Lady Beetles

Also known as lady bugs, these insects help kill aphids, which is a type of plant lice that feeds on the liquids stored in plant cells, which can kill the plant. Lady beetles are one of the few types of beetles that can be beneficial to gardens. They’re also pretty neat to look at, and are easily recognizable.

 

Praying Mantis

This unique looking bug can defend the plants in your garden from mites, grasshoppers and other pests. The mantis has a constant appetite, so feeding on these pests is a non-stop occurrence! There are over 2,400 species of praying mantis, which is more than enough to defend your garden.

 

Green Lacewing

Pests beware of this camouflaged insect. This bug is a serious predator to all pests including caterpillars, mites, pest moths and aphids. Lacewings will even eat any eggs or larvae they find on the plants, preventing pests from reproducing and repopulating your garden.

 

Spiders

The Crab spider is just one example of more than 38,000 species of spider that can be beneficial to your garden. Spiders will spin webs or wait to capture their prey, and aren’t picky when it comes to deciding what’s for lunch. Spiders are the most beneficial insect to a garden because they can help control all types of pests including aphids, several types of invasive worms, caterpillars, plant bugs, cucumber beetles, scarabs, flies and so much more! Some pests are even known to flee once a spider moves into its territory.