The Best Flowers to Attract Predator Beneficial Insects to Your Garden

By on September 20, 2011

The ladybud is a favorite beneficial insect -- unless you're an aphid.

Roll out the floral carpet in your garden to attract beneficial insects and keep them there.

In our video Tricia talks about releasing predator beneficial insects into your garden as organic pest control.

To make those beneficials happy you need to have some bad bugs present for them to munch on, and also flowers they will enjoy at various stages of their lives.

Flowers & Food for Beneficial Insects

In general, beneficials like flowers that look like daisies or Queen Anne’s Lace, according to Cornell University.

Choose flowers in those families from our huge selection of open-pollinated flower and wildflower seeds and organic herb seeds.

Make your garden a great place to stay when you welcome them with our Good Bug Food, and repeat that during dry spells.

Flowering Cover Crops

We have flowering cover crops designed to make the beneficial insects say, “Yum!” and stick around.

Our special cover crop, the Good Bug Blend, has been field-proven for over a decade in large and small scale growing areas. Since the mix blooms nearly year-round, Good Bug Blend should be planted in areas which can go a little wild, such as field borders, ditch banks, and fence rows. Typically, you need to plant only 1% to 5% of your land with this mix for good results.

We also created a mix that will grow only 2 feet tall (perfect to tuck under trees or grape vines, or in the home garden)—our Low-Growing Good Bug Blend.

Both mixes are full of clovers, wild carrots, sweet alyssum, yarrow, and parsley—attracting our admiring eyes along with the beneficial insects.

What Ladybugs Like

We have ladybugs to release in your garden. Put up a Ladybug House to make them comfortable.

Their favorite flowers include alyssum, buckwheat, coriander, dill, fennel, Rocky Mountain penstemon, Queen Anne’s Lace, sunflowers, and common yarrow.

Where Mantids Pray

Expand your Praying Mantid population with one of our cases of egg sacs. Mantids will hover in some cover, waiting for their prey to wander by. The drawback to praying mantids? They will eat any bug, whether it’s one we think is “good” or “bad”. So don’t put the egg case in your butterfly garden or near your bee hives.

The plants that mantids prefer are any with bugs on them, or plants with green stalks and leaves that will serve as cover.

What Green Lacewings Love

The sparkly and decorative green lacewings enjoy many of the same flowers as the ladybugs.

Their menu list includes angelica, caraway, coriander, cosmos, dill, fennel, Queen Anne’s Lace, and sunflowers.

Books About Good & Bad Bugs

This is a crucial topic for organic gardeners and farmers, so we bring you as much information as we can. We have a whole category of books on Pest Management.

*  Favorites are the handy Landscape Pests ID Cards to carry outdoors or the Good Garden Bugs book.

*  Want a big, fat (but well-priced) book on good bugs and bad bugs? Lots of great photos of bugs at all stages in Garden Insects of North America.

*  Prefer just one book on both pests and diseases? Try Rodale’s The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control.

*  Sacramento area gardeners know Farmer Fred and his popular radio shows on gardening. Farmer Fred lectures on beneficial insects and has lists of attracting plants on his blog.

Grow plants for predator beneficial insects and enjoy a flowery, balanced garden.

  Comments (8)


Please tell me what “garden fairies” will eat mosquitoes.  My organic garden had a plague of them this summer, with all the rain we had in New York City.  They like to hang out behind my raised garden boxes (filled with organic soil and your wonderful seeds and plants).  When I go out to harvest my beans, tomatoes, etc. in 90 F. weather, they get the jump on me, if I don’t cover every inch of skin with hot, protective clothing (so, I’m in a hooded sweatshirt, long pants, gloves, etc.).  I have tried spreading granulated citronella all over the garden, but that only lasts about 10 minutes.  And, yes, I did get rid of all standing water, but the garden itself is watered or rained on almost daily and that seems to be enough to keep the skeeters going.  Bats are off putting, as they can get in your attic, their droppings are corrosive, and they can carry rabies, too, so that pest cure sounds worse than the disease.  Thanks.

Posted by Ellen on Sep. 22, 2011 at 4:17:08 PM


Here’s a blog post we did about deterring mosquitoes Mosquito Barrier is mentioned in the post; it is a garlic spray labelled as a barrier to mosquitoes.

Posted by on Sep. 24, 2011 at 12:38:48 PM


Greetings, Live in the SE US. need some advice on what wild flowers work better here. Its very warm here starting around may till end of sept. tried wild flowers in the past but they did not grow well. Very few came up.

Posted by Ben on Feb. 03, 2012 at 4:56:24 AM


there is an actual citronella plant that you can plant in your garden. The mosquites are repelled by the smell of the plant, and it will grow with watering rather than wash away like the granules.

Posted by mary on Apr. 27, 2012 at 7:52:37 AM

Mary, Thanks for the tip on citronella plants!

Posted by on Jun. 07, 2012 at 12:19:37 PM


Dragonflies can eat their weight in mosquitoes daily! A water feature will attract them to your garden, then use the BT donuts (a bacteria that kills only mosquito larvae) in the feature, or make sure there is a small fountain that disturbs the surface (mosquitoes only breed in still water). I wrote an article about dragonflies and damselflies for Pacific Horticulture, in the Garden Allies series. It was the July 2007 issue, but it seems to be one of the only two articles not online yet! The other is about ladybugs - Jan 2007. Maybe if you email the magazine, they will post those!

Posted by Frederique Lavoipierre on Jun. 08, 2012 at 7:05:51 PM

Frederique, Thank you for the link to your charming and informative article on butterflies! So far we are not able to link to your dragonfly article in Pacific Horticulture.

Posted by on May. 23, 2013 at 3:13:16 PM


One thing that works for mosquitoes when you do have standing water is coffee. Just drop some spent coffee grounds into your rainwater collector; for us, the mosquitoes were done. Since coffee is a bug repellent and is also great compost, you might try adding coffee grounds around your garden.

Posted by Rebekah on Apr. 27, 2015 at 9:42:15 AM

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