Hello permies! I'm trying to put together a list of potential plants to incorporate in a community garden. Where each garden plot meets its three neighbors, I want to reserve a little space for some perennial beneficial bug plants.
So I'd like things that obviously attract pollinators, predatory wasps or the like. They can't cast too much shade. They need to stay put (no mints or things that "readily self sow"). I'm in a well drained sandy site with full sun in zone 4.
So far I've found these but I don't have experience with many of them. So if they don't fit my hopes listed above, please let me know. And please add to the list for me. Thanks!
Thanks, I have lupines but wasn't sure if they'd spread too much. I haven't had them long enough to know if they'll take over. They tend to seed prolifically and do so however far their dried up flowers will reach. I'm just not sure if they'll have good germination or now... I'm open to feedback on them for sure!
Consider Hyssop. I started some last year from seed (Hyssopus Officinalis, not anise hyssop)and was impressed at the long flowering period and the diversity of insects that visited it. Cold hardy as well which was important to me. The Internet says it does spread but I have not noticed any runners leave the base plant yet.
This is such a good topic. I think you are on the right track but suggest you approach it from the whole diversity includes providing habitat and food as well as the plants that attract the pollinators. If you attract the whole range of pollinators, predators, prey and all the places they need for shelter, food water etc. you are hitting on the whole spectrum. Look https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/endangeredresources/nativeplants.html
Heather Holm is a pollinator expert who recently wrote a whole book all about wasps. She has some free plant lists on her website of natives recommended for wasps. Here's the Great Lakes region list. Some of those are spreaders, of course, but it's a good place to start for predatory insects.
To share my experience with a couple plants discussed so far: coreopsis and borage are great plants, but they do self-seed for me quite readily, if not profusely. Dead-heading and cutting back the plants after they have flowered should control them, though.
I have been finding that it is important to plant native plants, you know plants native to your area. They support the wildlife that they have evolved with over time. A good information source is: https://www.nwf.org/nativeplantfinder/ They will tell you which plants and what they host. I think it is fascinating and so helpful. Happy gardening!
Lavender is wonderful, it's a well behaved plant, and mine is always covered in bees. Borage is great, bees love it, you can eat it it actually taste like cucumber, the only downside is the hairy texture. If you don't dead head it will spread everywhere. I don't mind that, it makes for a great chop and drop. I would add chamomile, and nasturtiums to the list. Chamomile attracts lots of beneficial insects, and is said to repel mosquitoes. I'm in zone 9, and mine reseed themselves every year, but stay in the bed I planted them in, it's a pretty little useful flower. Nasturtiums are a great ground cover (don't get the climbing vine kind) that not only attract bees and hummingbirds, they suppres weeds. You can eat these as well. Mine have reseeded themselves for 3 years now, but stay in the bed I planted them in. Good luck to you. Looking forward to hearing what you plant. If you think about it we would love to see pictures when it's up and growing.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” — Abraham Lincoln
I have Monarda that does not spread or self seed. Also bee balm. For me the Sashta Daisies are hell bent for world domination but the killed off every couple of years by harsh winter. Also clove pink attracts bees, and other benificials. I start most of my perennials from seeds. I have several types of Calendula. They self seed and have many garden uses so I let them go. I only take them out of where I really don't want too many of them and transplant them else where in the garden.
Some worthwhile perennials which thrive but stay put in my garden:
Native to midwest:
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), the pale flower unbels smell like vanilla!
Golden Alexander (Zizea aurea)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Button blazing star (Liatris aspera)
Ozark bluestar (Amsonia illustrus)
Bloodroot (SAnguinaria canadensis)--one of the very earliest bloomers