Creating Bug Gardens: Attracting Beneficial Insects For A Garden

What are Bug Gardening?

Bug gardening is the act of growing plants that attract beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies or flies. These bugs will pollinate the flowers and fruits of your garden. You can grow these types of plants in containers or in a permanent location such as a greenhouse.

How To Create A Bug Garden

The first step to creating a bug garden is choosing the type of plant that you want to grow. If you have a small backyard then it’s easy because there are many different kinds of plants that you can choose from. However, if you don’t have any space at all then it becomes very difficult since there are not enough varieties of plants available in most cases.

So, what do you need to start making your own bug gardens?

You need to gather some seeds. Some of them are common ones like sunflowers, dandelions, clover and others are rarer like wild strawberries or even African violets. There are also some edible ones which you might want to include in your garden such as chives, garlic, onions and mushrooms. You can either buy these seeds or you can grow them yourself using natural methods.

Another alternative is to buy ready-made plants from the nursery. If you are opting for this then make sure that the package clearly mentions that they are beneficial insects. Most of the nurseries have such types of plants. Given below are some examples of such plants that you can grow in your garden.

Alpine Strawberries (Fragarina). These are similar to normal strawberries but the difference is that they fruit is smaller, wild and they have an amazing aroma.

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma). This type of plant grows anywhere between 2 to 4 feet in height. It has a distinctive red color and the flowers are pinkish-purple in color. The leaves also have a minty smell and this plant is very easy to grow.

Beebrush (Castilleja). This is a beautiful wildflower that can be found growing in many regions of US. It has a unique color combination of purple, green and yellow. This plant is very easy to grow and it also attracts several kinds of bees.

Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa). This plant has attractive bright-colored flowers that are in the shape of a tube. The flower’s color can range from pink to purple depending on the species. It is a very popular type of plant because it has many medicinal uses.

It also attracts bees and butterflies.

Blazing Star (Mentha arvensis). This plant is native to North America. It has flowers that are purple in color and they just look amazing when they are in full bloom. It is a very easy plant to grow and can be found growing in moist fields or even in partial shade.

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Coneflower (Rudbeckia). This is a very distinctive looking plant and has a flower with a snout-like shape. It can grow up to 3 feet or more in height and it has several varieties that are available such as the common coneflower, the brown-eyed susan and others.

Common Mallow (Malva neglecta). This plant can grow up to 3 feet in height and it has round leaves that are dark green in color. It has several varieties such as the snowball, the great hairy and the common mallow.

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus). This type of plant can grow up to 6 feet or more in height. It is commonly seen as a weed and it has tall stalks with wide leaves at the base. It can also be spotted in dry fields and it has yellow flowers that bloom at the top.

Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea). This plant has leaves that are compound and they can be easily identified by their yellow color. It is a very tough plant and it can grow in both moist and dry conditions as long as there is partial shade.

Horsetail (Equisetum). This is one plant that most people avoid due to its uncanny resemblance to animal bones. It has hollow stems that are dark brown in color. These stems grow directly from the ground.

It can be found in partially shaded areas.

Lady Fern (Athyrium Filix-Femina). This plant has triangular shaped leaves that are green in color and it can grow up to 2 feet or more in height. It prefers shade and it is commonly found in moist or wet areas.

Lungwort (Pulmonaria mucronata). This plant is great for beginners because it can grow in shady areas and it has a low maintenance level. It can be spotted in forest clearings and it has a unique appearance due to its round leaves that are spotted in different shades of pink, purple and white.

Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens). This plant has cylindrical shaped red berries that can be spotted in dry fields with sunlight. It can be found in zones 3 to 9 and it has an irregular growth pattern.

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata). This is a small plant with a creeping habit and it is great for ground cover. It has shiny leaves that are dark green in color and these leaves have a glossy sheen to them.

Red Raspberry (Rubus ideaus). This plant has an irregular growth pattern and it is found in zones 3 to 9 but it prefers moist areas. It can be spotted in fields, meadows and along stream banks.

Sheep Sorrel (Rumex Acetosella). This plant has a rosette-like shape and it can grow in dry fields or in partial shade. It has red flowers that bloom during the spring and it has a sour taste to it when its leaves are eaten.

Silverbell (Halesia carolina). This plant has a rounded shape and it has a grayish white color to it. It can be found in zones 4 to 8 but it prefers moist locations.

Spikemoss (Selaginella EPIANGula). This plant is one of the smallest types of plants on the planet. It is only about 1 to 2 inches tall and it has a branching stem. It prefers shade or partial shade and it can be spotted growing under trees.

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Wild Ginger (Asarum Canadense). This plant is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring. It has a reddish purple stalk with a white flower that has purple spots in the middle. It prefers partial shade and it is easy to spot due to its vibrant red color.

Wood Betony (Stachys Bengerana). This plant has a square shape to it and it has deeply veined leaves that are medium green in color. It prefers shade or partial shade and it can be spotted in wooded areas.

Yellow Wood (Cladrastis lutea). This plant prefers moist locations and it can grow up to 25 feet in height. It has yellow flowers and it has a rounded growth pattern.

Sources & references used in this article:

Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control by J Walliser – 2013 – books.google.com

Gaia’s garden: a guide to home-scale permaculture by R Kourik – 2005 – Permanent Publications

Urban domestic gardens (II): experimental tests of methods for increasing biodiversity by E Lee-Mäder – 2014 – Storey Publishing

How green is your thumb? Environmental gardening identity and ecological gardening practices by T Hemenway – 2009 – books.google.com

Free-range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-friendly Yard by KJ Gaston, RM Smith, K Thompson… – Biodiversity & …, 2005 – Springer

Garden insects of North America: The ultimate guide to backyard bugs by FM Kiesling, CM Manning – Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2010 – Elsevier

Grasp the Nettle: Making Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Work by J Bloom – 2012 – books.google.com

Healing Gardens: Creating places for restoration, meditation, and sanctuary by W Cranshaw, D Shetlar – 2017 – books.google.com

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