So tiny yet so mighty in the garden!

Ladybugs are primarily valued by gardeners for their voracious appetite: they can devour 50 or more aphids and other troublesome insects (mealybugs, whiteflies, scale, mites, and more) per day, and over a lifetime will rid your garden of about 5,000 pests. For this alone, we should all be encouraging them to settle in our gardens! But they also act as pollinators, for while eating pollen, they do get it on their bodies and transfer it from plant to plant.

So how can we bring these charming little beetles into the landscape?

Cosmos is a favorite treat of ladybugs.

Well, like all living things, they need food, water, and shelter. Their primary foods are insects and pollen, so that’s covered. They drink water that has beaded onto the leaves of plants. And they shelter on plants themselves — in the cracks of the bark of trees, in groundcovers, on plant stems near food sources (primarily aphids). So your garden is already the ideal environment for ladybugs.

If you want to attract more ladybugs, grow their favorite flowers. They love many herbs and native species, particularly those with flat-topped flowers of white or yellow. In the herb garden, expect to see ladybugs on:

 

  • Chives

    Dill will bring in the ladybugs every time! Grow this plant near veggies and flowers that have been troubled by aphids in the past. The ladybugs will go to work!

  • Cilantro

  • Dill

  • Fennel

  • Feverfew

  • Garlic

  • Parsley

In the flower garden, they love:

  • Butterfly Weed

  • Calendula (Pot Marigold)

  • Coreopsis

    Yarrow (Achillea) offers flat-topped blooms that last for many weeks. Ladybugs adore it!

  • Cosmos

  • Geranium

  • Marigold

  • Nasturtium

  • Statice

  • Sweet Alyssum

  • Yarrow

Some gardeners choose to buy ladybugs and release them into the garden, but if you grow the plants they love, we predict that the ladybugs will make their own way into your landscape!

About Sappho Charney

Sappho Charney is a garden writer living in Lubbock, Texas.

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