Some ladybugs can be incredibly beneficial for your garden, as they can protect plants from pests. Keep reading the following article to discover why ladybugs are so valuable in the gardening world, how to attract them, and more!
Did you know that ladybugs can be very good for your garden? Thanks to the fact that these adorable-looking tiny, beautiful, black-spotted red insects eat destructive pests, their presence in your garden can bring you one step closer to creating an organic ecosystem.
Forget about using various chemicals or other factory-produced solutions! By attracting ladybugs to your garden, you can have some peace of mind as you don’t have to worry anymore about specific types of pests damaging the plants in your collection.
It is important to mention right off the bat that not all ladybugs are good for gardens. Some have this incredibly valuable role of protecting plants by eating damaging pests, while others feed on the plant itself.
There is no denying that these ladybugs should be avoided at all times. But don’t worry, there is a way of attracting the ladybugs you want, and your plants will thank you – not literally, but they do so by continuing to thrive, being pest-free and undamaged.
So, next time you see a ladybug, you will surely perceive this tiny bug in a completely different light. What used to be seen as a beautifully colored and adorable little insect will now be regarded as a valuable presence with an essential role for any home garden anywhere.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a small plant collection in your backyard, on your balcony, or if you have enough space to create a luxurious and large garden. Regardless of the size and type of garden, attracting ladybugs is undoubtedly an excellent idea. However, an essential and noteworthy mention would be the fact that ladybugs are attracted to certain plants, which will be discussed later in the article. So, keep reading to uncover more – we promise you won’t regret it!
Whether you are a novice gardener or not, attracting ladybugs is not at all an extremely complicated task. There are certain things you need to take into consideration so that ladybugs are compelled to come to your garden and protect your plants. If you are interested in finding out how to attract them and discovering more interesting facts about ladybugs, this article covers it all.
Ladybugs are an important visitor to your garden; their presence is extremely valuable and beneficial to plants. Learn how to attract them effectively!
Why Are Ladybugs So Beneficial to The Garden?
You might be surprised to find out that ladybugs can effectively kill pests. Chances are you only saw the ladybug as this cute and harmless bug that can do no harm, but you might not have realized that the humble ladybug can have such a tremendous role. And while there are some ladybugs that are not beneficial for plants at all – such as the Mexican bean beetle or Epilachna varivestis, as these insects actually eat plants – a lot of other ladybugs have an essential role in eating various pests. Without ladybugs’ help, such pests would be highly damaging to plants, infesting them massively.
The greatest thing is that with the help of ladybugs you can easily get rid of some of the most annoying garden pests without using any type of industrial pesticides that may contain toxic chemicals that can be highly harmful to the environment. Simply put, ladybugs are good for your garden, given that they feed off pests. Isn’t nature marvellous?
As mentioned earlier, not all ladybugs are good for home gardens. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance to point out which ladybugs you should focus on attracting to your garden for a pest-free plant collection. The beneficial ladybugs are the following:
- Hippodamia convergens or the convergent lady beetle;
- Harmonia axyridis or the Asian ladybug;
- Coccinella septempunctata or the seven-spotted ladybug;
- Coleomegilla maculata or the pink spotted lady beetle or twelve-spotted ladybug.
By welcoming the above-mentioned ladybugs into your garden, you can eliminate various types of pests, given that they eat them.
So, what are the pests that ladybugs can help you get rid of? Given how not all ladybugs are beneficial, not all pests are eaten by the ones that are valuable to gardens. Here are the garden pests that the ladybugs mentioned above eat, thus, protecting your plants:
Not only do ladybugs eat the pests mentioned above, but ladybug larvae eat them as well. On average, a ladybug is able to consume around five thousand aphids during its lifetime. So, you can imagine how powerful a small army of ladybugs is and how free of any aphid threat your garden will be. And the entire process is 100% natural, given that no artificial pesticides are used. Your garden will be healthy and the environment unharmed. Keep reading to will find out how to attract these wonderful ladybugs to your garden.
How To Attract Ladybugs to Your Garden
Beneficial ladybugs consume pests – this aspect has already been established. But ladybugs also eat plants’ pollen. For this reason, the easiest and most effective way of attracting these powerful ladybugs to your garden in order to protect your plant collection against pests is to plant and grow specific plants. It is crucial to choose flowering plants extremely rich in pollen – and don’t forget to deadhead your plants regularly– so that ladybugs are compelled to come to your garden. This is their incentive, so you must make sure your garden fits their needs. The following list will be able to help you if you want to attract ladybugs.
Whether you already growing some of the plants mentioned or not, the following list will help you make your garden more ladybug-friendly. Here are some of the most effective types of plants when it comes to attracting ladybugs:
1. Coreopsis or Tickseed
The coreopsis flowers, known as tickseed or pot of gold thanks to their golden yellow colour, are just what you need if you want to attract ladybugs. Given that the plant’s flowers remain in bloom through the summer, they will produce plenty of pollen to attract the mighty ladybugs. Plus, they are incredibly easy to care for, so you don’t have to worry about this process, especially if you are a beginner gardener.
The coreopsis flower is not only featured in yellow, but also in red (Coreopsis Red Satin) and pink (Coreopsis Rosea). In addition to the various colours, Coreopsis plants come in many different shapes and sizes. There are many attractive types of Coreopsis that you can plant in your garden such as Coreopsis Grandiflora (Large-flowered Tickseed), Coreopsis Grandiflora ‘Rising Sun’ (Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner), Coreopsis Lanceolata (Lanceleaf Coreopsis), Coreopsis x ‘Limerock Ruby’, etc.
As mentioned above, anyone can grow these attractive flowering plants without too much effort. The only things Coreopsis flowers need to thrive are full sun and moist soil and they make perfect additions to cottage gardens and wildflower meadows. To learn more about growing and caring for these easy-going plants, read our complete guide to Coreopsis.
Taraxacum officinale, commonly referred to as dandelion is another easy-to-grow plant and an excellent ladybug magnet. These flowering plants grow fast, so you’ll be able to enjoy their tiny blooms in about 10 days since you plant them, and their bloom time starts early on, in spring. You don’t have to spend too much time tending to the humble dandelion. All you must do is ensure you have a space in your garden where there is full sun exposure. You can plant the dandelion there, provided you have neutral to acidic well-drained soil.
There are many advantages to growing dandelions in your outdoor area – they are non-toxic and edible plants, they benefit the native wildlife, and they can grow pretty much anywhere. When you have a garden full of dandelions, do not hesitate to add them to your salad as they are rich in potassium, iron, and calcium. In addition to that, you won’t be the only one enjoying these easy-going plants. The yellow dandelion flowers will also attract all sorts of beneficial pollinators such as bumblebees, native bees, honeybees, butterflies, moths, and beetles. Dandelions are a delicious treat for prairie dogs, mice, squirrels, rabbits, and porcupines and their seeds are a source of food for many native birds.
Want to learn more about these beneficial plants? Read our Complete Guide to Dandelions.
The common and delicious dill or Anethum graveolens is an extremely popular herb, widely used as a spice and to flavour various meals. Apart from being used as a cooking spice, the dill plant can also be used in beauty cosmetics and products for its fragrance. Similar to the other low-maintenance plants, all this plant needs is full sun exposure and well-drained soil. So, if you have enough space in your garden, you can plant dill and know that it will effectively attract ladybugs.
The great thing about dill is that it is non-toxic for cats and dogs. Being a good source of vitamins and antioxidants, this plant will make a great addition to your diet and won’t harm your pets. Dill is a great plant for companion planting because it can easily be paired with many different types of herbs and vegetables such as cucumbers, asparagus, corn, basil, onion, lettuce, and all the members of the cabbage family. If you prefer to grow your dill alongside flowering plants, the best options are marigolds, nasturtium, borage, and marjoram. These plants will also attract beneficial pollinators and ladybugs, and will also play an important role in turning your garden into a healthy ecosystem.
The most popular variety of dill is Bouquet Dill which is beloved by gardeners thanks to its fragrant seeds and leaves that make great additions to savoury dishes and pickles. You can also grow Mammoth Dill or Long Island Dill, which tend to grow much taller and can also be used in pickling. Fernleaf Dill is more on the attractive side and it can be grown as a decorative plant and is even sometimes used in flower bouquets. Dukat dill is another type of dill that’s perfect for container growing and can be added to salads. These are just a few examples of Dill varieties meant to show you that there are plenty of options to choose from, so dill shouldn’t miss from your herb garden or even from your flower beds.
Cilantro also known as coriander, is an annual herb widely known as a cooking spice, especially used in traditional Mexican recipes. So, you should definitely plant this herb if you like cooking with different spices. As a bonus, you will also be able to attract ladybugs which will keep your entire plant collection free of pests. To grow healthy cilantro you need to have rich soil that is slightly acidic and well-drained. An essential and noteworthy mention would be that you must plant cilantro in partial shade.
You might be wondering what the difference between cilantro and coriander is. This is a very common question in both the culinary and the gardening world. The answer is pretty simple – cilantro is commonly used for the leaves and stems of the Coriandrum sativum plant, while coriander refers to its dried seeds, so you might encounter the term ‘coriander seeds’ quite often.
Cilantro or Coriandrum sativum makes a great companion plant for many different herbs, vegetables, and flowering plants. A few of the most common Cilantro companions include tansy, yarrow, mint, basil, peppers, and onions.
According to the ASPCA, cilantro is non-toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. However, ingesting too much cilantro can cause non-fatal digestive problems in pets. Other than that, growing cilantro comes with numerous benefits – it attracts beneficial pollinators and insects (butterflies, ladybugs, native bees), it repels pests (potato beetles, spider mites, aphids), it can be grown as ground cover, and it improves the nutrients in the soil.
Parsley is among the best herbs to grow at home as it is easy to care for and it doesn’t require any previous gardening experience. So, f you decide to plant and grow parsley, you might as well decide on creating your own herb garden. Parsley is a very popular cooking spice that is used in many culinary recipes around the world.
For best results, plant your parsley in well-drained and moist soil, in an area with full sun exposure, but partial shade is also accepted, given that parsley grows well in either condition. Not only will you have a herb collection that is undoubtedly helpful in the kitchen – which will prove to be the best decision ever if you are passionate about cooking – but you will also have one more plant in your garden that will attract ladybugs, and thus contribute to creating a pest-free healthy ecosystem.
There are many vegetables that grow well alongside parsley including chives, peppers, tomatoes (yes, they are technically fruits, not vegetables), peas, beans, and members of the cabbage family. If you want to grow parsley in your flower garden, you can place it near your roses. Experts advise that it’s best to avoid planting parsley near lettuce, mint, carrots, and alliums.
6. Sweet Alyssum
Lobularia Maritima, commonly known in the gardening world as sweet alyssum, is a sun-loving plant. While this flowering plant is very easy to grow, it is quite important to make sure you have the perfect place for it if you decide to grow it in your garden. With its wonderful flowers featured in white, but mostly pink and purple, it will attract a lot of attention from anyone coming into your garden. But this is not the only thing that the sweet alyssum will attract. Ladybugs are drawn to this stunning flower plant, which is precisely what you want. Make sure you have moist but well-drained soil when you plant it. Its flowers’ bloom time is in spring as well as fall.
Sweet alyssum is a great addition to any type of garden, be it a wildflower garden, a cottage garden, or a pond garden. When grown alongside other flowering plants, sweet alyssum can boost their growth by attracting beneficial pollinators and by protecting them from pests. So, in addition to attracting ladybugs, which feed on aphids, sweet alyssum flowers will also lure the aphids away from your other plants.
Achillea millefolium commonly referred to as yarrow, is another plant that is incredibly easy to grow and that has many benefits. With its attractive green foliage that is similar to ferns and small flat-top flowers featured in shades of golden yellow, pink, red or white, this plant will complement all your other garden plants.
You don’t have to think twice about growing yarrow, given that it is both beautiful and practical. It is best to grow it in well-drained soil, but you can also opt for clay or sandy and loamy soil. Provided it has full sun exposure, the plant’s flowers will bloom from June until September. So, there will be plenty of time and pollen for ladybugs – the tiny insects are exceptionally beneficial for home gardens, given they can eliminate pests. But attracting ladybugs isn’t the only thing that yarrow can do for your garden.
This versatile plant will also improve the soil by mining magnesium, calcium, and potassium, it may help clean up soil contamination, it will attract all types of beneficial insects and pollinators, and it can be used as ground cover.
Read our complete guide to growing and caring for Yarrow to learn more about this plant.
Other Simple Tips for Attracting Ladybugs Effectively
Apart from filling your garden with plants that will increase your chances of attracting ladybugs, there are other ways in which you can make sure ladybugs will come to your home garden. This is excellent news! Because ladybugs are so beneficial, it is highly recommended to do the best you can to attract them. Pollen is one method, but apart from food, ladybugs have other needs.
Here are other ways to attract ladybugs effectively:
- Make sure you have a water source, but not too deep as they can drown. You can place shallow bowls with water to tempt ladybugs. To make the water bowl more attractive to other beneficial insects, add some rocks and some leaves and you’ll soon be able to see them enjoying this precious source of water.
- Make sure you provide shelter. Ladybugs are incredibly tiny insects, so it is crucial for them to have a protective hideout where they can stay safe and be hidden from birds or other predators. Whether you choose groundcover plants like thyme or create a space of mulch and leaves, the ladybugs will be happy and protected. If you want to go the extra mile, you can build a small wooden box where you can place sugar water. Small wooden boxes that are meant to offer shelter to beneficial insects are often referred to as ‘insect hotels’. You can find many tutorials online and you can try your hand at making a ladybug hotel as this can be a great educational DIY project for kids and a fun activity for adults.
Now that you have found out how to attract ladybugs efficiently, you can decide on the proper method that works for you and is suitable for your garden. No matter what you choose, ladybugs will be attracted to your home garden, which is highly beneficial for your home garden.
How to Handle a Ladybug Infestation?
In some regions around the world, ladybugs can become seasonal nuisances. The great majority of complaints are related to Harmonia axyridis, commonly known as the Asian lady beetle. As mentioned above, these ladybugs are harmless, but an infestation is never fun, especially when it happens every year. Asian ladybugs spend their winters hibernating, so it is only natural for them to seek a warm and cosy environment where they will be protected during the cold winter months. It is quite common for them to find our homes very welcoming and they seem to be attracted by light colours, so white walls can become ladybug magnets. Ladybugs also prefer warm, south-facing windows, and that’s usually the place where they’ll try to find their way inside.
To best way to prevent a ladybug infestation is to ensure that there is no way for them to get in. You can do so by sealing all the cracks around your windows and doors and covering your roof vents with protective screens. As mentioned, ladybugs are attracted to light-coloured things, so you might be able to deter them by having dark-coloured drapes or curtains. You can also apply citronella or citrus oil in some strategic locations to prevent the ladybugs from attracting other ladybugs with their scent. Vinegar, cloves, bay leaves, chrysanthemums, and lavender might also repel them.
If you are currently dealing with a ladybug infestation and you’re wondering what is the best way to remove them, there are several ways that you can go about it. A lot of people suggest using a vacuum cleaner. This is an effective solution and we’ve found a very interesting strategy explained by Lynette. You can insert the leg of a pantyhose inside the vacuum cleaner, secure it in place, and use it to collect all the ladybugs.
If you’ve ever held a ladybug in your hand, you are probably familiar with the yellow goo that they secrete. When in danger, these tiny insects will release a little blood that happens to be yellow and that has a specific smell. When removing ladybugs, it’s important to avoid disturbing them too much as this might cause them to release this yellow substance that can stain your walls.
All that being said, it’s important to remember that ladybugs won’t do any damage to your home or to your garden. They can surely be annoying in large numbers, but if you prevent them from getting inside your home and remove them carefully if they are inside, then problem solved.
Do you have a home garden, or are you planning on creating one? Whether you are in the process of building your beautiful garden at home or you already have a well-established one, taking the necessary precautions to maintain your garden pest-free will always be an important process. Instead of using artificial pesticides and insecticides, which can contain toxic chemicals and are highly harmful to the environment, you luckily have a better, more natural option that you can put into practice: ladybugs.
These tiny black-spotted, usually red, insects are incredibly effective in getting rid of harmful pests that can damage plants heavily. Thanks to the fact that they eat pests, they effectively and naturally eliminate them and prevent them from wreaking havoc in your garden. Because they also eat pollen, you can easily attract ladybugs to your home garden if you plant specific plants which are preferred by these tiny bugs.
There is a great variety of plants that you can grow to attract ladybugs. As you noticed from our article, herbs are ladybug magnets, so you can start growing a herb garden with cilantro and parsley. You can also fill your garden with beautiful native flowering plants, like sweet alyssum, and dandelion, but also calendula, angelica, marigold, yarrow, and cosmos. This means you have many options to choose from, so you will surely be able to find something to match your preferences and the style and aesthetics of your garden.
Write to us in the comment section and tell us all about your experience with attracting ladybugs and how they have been able to eliminate pests.