Growing Herbs & Attracting Beneficial Insects

Butterfly Loving the Echinacea

Butterfly Loving the Echinacea

Attracting beneficial bugs to your vegetable or herb garden is probably more important than you think!

If you are growing veggies, or fruits you need pollinators!  Beneficial bugs -or pollinators- are responsible for pollinating the flowers on your plants. This in turn allows the plant to product the vegetable, fruit, or seed you are after.

In other words, a cucumber can’t become a cucumber until the flower on the vine has been pollinated. Neither can a tomato blossom become a tomato, or a blueberry flower become a blueberry.

Unless you plan to hand pollinate each flower with a small paint brush or cotton swab, attracting beneficial insects to your garden is the way to go! Fortunately this is pretty easy.

Pollinators don’t do their jobs out of kindness. They come for the food!

This is extra important for urban gardeners to remember! In the city there is often little for pollinators to feed on, so you need to provide them with some tasty ‘bug chow’ if you want them to come and pollinate your plants.

Herbs to the rescue!

Dill Weed


Mint, Thyme, Oregano, Marjoram and Rosemary all attract pollinators to their blooms. While they are visiting those plants, they’ll stop in and visit your other plants,too!

Many flowering herbs like Echinacea, and Yarrow, and Hyssop are ‘good bug’ magnets and herbs like fennel, dill and parsley are hugely attractive to all kinds of pollinators.

I’m not talking about your average pollinating honey bee, either. Pollinators come in all shapes and sizes! You may see both big and little wasps, all sorts of bees, and even certain flies will happily pollinate your stuff! The ones I get here are shiny metallic blue pollinator flies and they go berserk for my mints!



How do you keep your pollinators happy?

First off, don’t SPRAY your plants for bugs!

They can’t do their job if you kill them. Seems basic, but people do this. Really.



You also might want to give your beneficial bugs a drink. A small plant tray filled with pebbles and water set around potted plants or in the garden will provide small insects a place to get a drink after a long flight!

Watering Tray for Beneficial Insets

Good Bug Watering Hole


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  1. Gardening Jones, 07 May, 2011

    I never thought of herbs to attract bubs- what a great way to use them. Love the ‘watering hole’ -will definatley make one, thanks!

  2. Greenthumb, 08 May, 2011

    So many people don’t know they will attract the good guys- plus you can eat them!
    I have those ‘watering holes’ scattered around the garden- I love watching butterflies and bees drink from them. The pebbles keep the little bitty guys from falling in and drowning!

  3. paul ynot, 08 May, 2011

    I have never heard of gardeners putting in insect barth or drinkers . This seems to be a unusual concept. … Oh well I will give it a trial to see what happens ? ? ? from Australia

  4. Greenthumb, 08 May, 2011

    Hi Paul, the little trays filled with pebbles and water allows all the ‘good bugs’ to stand on the pebbles and get a drink without drowning. Since some of them travel long distances (honey bees will travel 2 or more miles for pollen), they appreciate a nice drink. It’s also fun to see butterflies drinking with their long tongues 🙂

  5. Chris McLaughlin, 19 July, 2011

    Good post! The blue flies you’re seeing may be Blue Mason Bees! Of course there are many pollinating flies but I thought I’d share that in case you’ve not heard of them before.

  6. Greenthumb, 20 July, 2011

    Hi Chris! We do have Mason Bees and lots of other pollinators buzzing around. I think these are probably just some pretty blow fly relative! 🙂

  7. Fiona Matheson, 04 January, 2014

    What a lovely idea the watering place for bugs. I love attracting insects to the garden, and always feel that sharing the space with any form of wildlife is such privilege. It gives me a genuine sense of contentment to watch them come around. I always have a dish for the birds, but will certainly put out some pebbly ‘cafes’ for the wee bug fellas now.
    Shame on me for not having thought to do it myself!

    Thanks for passing this on.

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