Attracting Pollinators & Predators

Creating a balanced insect community in your garden is one of the most important ways to have a healthy garden. Planting perennials for this diverse group of bugs is well worth it and fall is a great time to start to supplement their food sources. You can let some of your cilantro, carrots, and parsley plants bloom as insects can access the nectar easily in the small clusters of flowers.

Illustration by Helen KrayenhoffPollinators

Often honeybees are the poster child of beneficial insects. While they are good at pollinating crops, they are by no means the only bees hard at work. Solitary native bees are very efficient at pollinating many crops and are certainly worth the effort to make comfortable in your yard. These include mason bees, carpenter bees, bumble bees, and squash bees. Butterflies and moths also have an important role
to play.

Common pollinator plants:

  • Echinacea
  • California Poppies
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sages
  • Thyme


Once you know how much of a difference these insects will have on the health and beauty of your plants, you’ll be glad you made them welcome. While they do feed on garden pests, some also need to drink nectar at some stages of their lives, and others to round out their diet. There are a myriad of insects that eat the ones we consider pests. Common predatory insects include ladybugs, lacewings, dragonflies, and syrphid flies to name a few.

Common predator plants:

  • California buckwheat
  • Alyssum
  • Golden Marguerite
  • Lemon Balm
  • Manzanita
  • Spike Speedwell
  • Yarrow