Celebrate Earth Day with Insectary Plants

This Earth Day, Sunday April 22, help natural enemies by growing insectary plants. Natural enemies, also called beneficials or biological control agents, include lady beetles (ladybugs), lacewings, spiders, parasitic wasps, and even some mites! These natural enemies feed on pests in the garden and landscape and may reduce the need for insecticides. Protect natural enemies by avoiding the use of pesticides that kill them and keeping ants out of pest-infested plants.

Insectary plants provide nectar, pollen, and shelter throughout the year for natural enemies. In order to provide a year-round source of food for them, choose plant species and cultivars that flower at different times and are well-adapted to your area. Here are a few that you may already be growing in your garden or landscape:

  • Sweet alyssum
  • Western redbud
  • Flannel bush
  • Toyon
  • Milkweed
  • California poppy

Visit UC IPM's Insectary Plants web page to learn more about the benefits of planting insectaries around the garden and to see a longer list of insectary plant species.