What kind of insects do plants help

Good for the eye, good for insects

Plants for every taste

Cornflower, meadow sage and nodding catchfly: with the right choice of plants, we can attract insects to our gardens. Many of the species not only provide food for bumblebees and butterflies, they also look great on our plates!

With a perennial garden, wild corners and pretty early bloomers, we can provide a habitat for insects in our gardens. - Photo: Helge May

Insects and plants are a well-coordinated team: every plant has a function, every insect a preference. The plants serve different purposes. Not only nectar and pollen, but also the stems and leaves are important for insects. Because nests are built from them or they are eaten by caterpillars. Some insects are dependent on certain plants, others are not so picky about it.

But all of them lack food and living space. The use of pesticides and the progressive impoverishment of the landscape make it difficult for many species to find enough food. Our gardens are therefore the last refuge and with the choice of the right plants we can offer many insects a valuable habitat (go directly to the plant list).

Nature tips for the insect garden

  • Wild corners:
    The first and easiest measure is to simply leave a wild corner that is neither mowed nor stepped on. Here we leave nettles, grasses and clover their space. Because they are vital for many of our insect species.

  • Early bloomer:
    For many early-flying insects, early bloomers are essential for survival. Therefore, the insect-friendly garden should definitely contain a selection of the pretty plants - such as snowdrops, crocuses or daffodils.

  • Wildflower bed:
    A fragrant wild flower bed with native plants enriches every garden. The colorful, shimmering eye-catchers are easy to put on and delight their owners for a long time.

    Maintenance is also not laborious: the perennials only need to be cut once a year, which saves a lot of time and effort. In spring, when the garden comes to life, the insects that have overwintered in the stalks of the wildflowers hatch. Now the perennials can be cut back. Native plants are also hardy and less susceptible to fungi and other attackers. A small strip of wildflowers or a mini corner is a good start.

Planting tips: These plants help insects

  • Sting beetle on yarrow - Photo: Helge May

  • Bare-stemmed spherical flower - Photo: Helge May

  • Dog rose - Photo: Helge May

  • Cornflower - Photo: Helge May

  • Daisies - Photo: Helge May

These plants attract insects into the garden

Early bloomer (onion and tuber)

  • Märzenbecher (Leucojum vernum)
  • Two-leaved squill (Scilla bifolia)
  • Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)
  • Bush anemone (Anemone nemorosa)
  • Hollow Larkspur (Corydalis cava)
  • Fingered larkspur (Corydalis solida)
  • Meadow cowslip (Primula veris)
  • Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis)
  • Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
  • Winterling (Eranthis hyemalis)
  • Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis)

For the snack or herb garden: plants that are also edible for us

  • Cornel (Cornus mas)
  • Sloe (Prunus spinosa)
  • Bird cherry (Prunus avium)
  • Cultivated apple (Malus domestica)
  • Medlar (Mespilus germanica)
  • Rowanberry (Sorbus aucuparia)
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
  • Black elder (Sambucus nigra)
  • Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
  • Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
  • Wild garlic (Allium ursinum)
  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
  • Scented nettle (Agastache foeniculum)
  • Daisies (Bellis perennis)
  • Violets (Viola canina)
  • Dill (Anethum graveolens)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Gundermann (Glechoma hederacea)
  • Mints (Mentha)
  • Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
  • Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
  • Blackberry (Rubus fruticosa agg.)

For the perennial bed: plants that are useful for insects

  • Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Diptam (Dictamnus albus)
  • Globe flower (Globularia bisnagarica)
  • Wild Mallow (Malva sylvestris)
  • Musk mallow (Malva moschata)
  • Meadow sage (Salvia pratensis)
  • Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
  • Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris)
  • Adderhead (Echium vulgare)
  • Ordinary Night VIole (Hesperis matronalis)
  • Common catchfly (Silene vulgaris)
  • Persistent silver leaf (Lunaria rediviva)
  • Nodding catchfly (Silene nutans)
  • Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)
  • Horn clover (Lotus corniculatus)
  • Sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis)
  • Immenblatt (Melittis melissophyllum)
  • Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis)
  • Wiesenknopf (Sanguisorba officinalis)
  • Nettle (Urtica dioica)
  • Ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
  • Horseshoe clover (Hippocrepis comosa)
  • White carnation (Silene latifolia alba)
  • Real sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Turkish lily (Lilium martagon)
  • Common soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)

Domestic wild roses

  • Dog rose (Rosa canina)
  • Vinegar rose (Rosa gallica)
  • Bibernellrose (Rosa spinosissima)
  • Cinnamon rose (Rosa majalis)

The wilder the better

Excursus: ornamental roses and insects

Roses are very popular with most gardeners. Whether the fragrant beauties attract insects or not, however, depends on the variety. Highly cultivated roses that bloom splendidly and have double flowers are often of little use to our insects. Their flowers are too tight for the animals. In addition, the flowers often do not contain any nectar or pollen. So they do not provide food for the insects.

Insects love the unfilled, simple wild forms. With their scent and color, they attract all kinds of insects. And: birds also love native roses, their rose hips are a rare food in winter. Anyone who opts for a sturdy domestic rose in the garden or on the balcony will be rewarded with wonderful scents and a beautiful sight. Species like the creeping rose can also be used as climbing plants. Other species find a home on the balcony or window sill.


More tips for the insect garden


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