Growing a garden is like raising a child: you want to do everything you can to ensure its success. One of those things? Attract ladybugs to your garden. Ladybugs are immensely beneficial plant helpers — especially for organic gardens.
Ladybugs are nature’s pest repellents. Whereas all-natural or chemical-based pest repellents get rid of all beneficial insects (like ladybugs, earthworms, soldier beetles, and more), ladybugs encourage other beneficial insects while discouraging garden pests.
Aphids, mealybugs, leafhoppers, scales, and mites all are prey of the ladybug. One ladybug eats up to 5,000 aphids in its lifetime! The more ladybugs are around your vegetable garden, the more likely your plant is to be in better help.
When you’re growing in a container garden kit, it can be really tricky to attract ladybugs to your plant.
Here are ways to attract ladybugs to help your garden out.
Plant a Desirable Companion Plant
Companion planting is when you grow plants that work together in the garden to provide better results. If you choose the right companion plant, you can aid your main plant’s growth while simultaneously attracting ladybugs to your garden.
Plants that Attract Ladybugs:
Marigolds, fennel, dill, garlic, chives, and calendula all make excellent ladybug attractants. Here are a few vegetables you can grow with each of these easy to grow companion plants.
|Companion Plant that Attracts Ladybugs||Vegetable Plants to Grow With|
|Marigold||Tomato, cucumber, lettuce, squash, eggplant|
|Garlic||Beets, kale, spinach, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers|
|Fennel||Fennel does not work well in the same pot as other vegetables. Plant in a separate pot.|
|Calendula||Chard, radishes, tomatoes, thyme, parsley|
|Dill||Asparagus, cucumbers, lettuce, basil, cabbage|
|Chives||Strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, squash, eggplant, carrots|
If you don’t wish to plant a ladybug attractant, try gently spraying an attractant on your plant.
What attracts ladybugs:
Rosemary or garlic oil are great sprays that can draw ladybugs in. These oils attract ladybugs and will draw the carnivorous creatures to your garden. Beware: you eat anything you spray on your plant! Avoid chemical sprays and instead create your own all-natural options.
Stop using insecticides.
While insecticides are helpful for destroying pests, they are harmful for attracting ladybugs. Insecticide — even all-natural ones — will kill your ladybugs. If you want to attract ladybugs to your garden, you will need to stop using insecticides for a period of time.
If you are not able to attract ladybugs to your garden naturally, you can purchase them at a store. The trick is to release them into your garden and keep them there. The easiest way to do this is to make food, shelter, and water readily available so that they are inclined to stay put.
After you purchase your ladybugs, place them in the fridge for 6-8 hours to slow them down. This will not kill them, but slow them from flying off immediately after you release them. Then, release them right after dusk or right before dawn. Do not release them at twilight — they will quickly fly away.
Consider placing an aphid infested plant, flowering plants ladybugs enjoy, or a few raisins near your gardens. These are ladybug foods and will help them feel comfortable. Additionally, gently water your plants right before your release so your ladybugs have access to water quickly.
Not specifically. While ladybugs eat spider mites, they are not known to attracts spiders to your garden. (By the way, spiders are generally harmless and good for killing bad insects in your garden too!)
Yes! Marigolds are great ladybug attractants. Plant alongside tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, squash, or eggplant.
Yes, like most bugs, ladybugs are drawn to light and warmth. WE do not recommend placing a light in your garden though — it might also attract unwanted insects.
We all want ladybugs in our garden but not our home. Ladybugs are often attracted to light-colored home and older homes. Ensure cracks around windows, under doors, and clapboards are sealed!
No. Ladybugs generally don’t harm humans, although they are known to occasionally bite and leave small welts for a few days.
Not always. Most native ladybugs are harmless. The Asian Lady Beetle varies form light orange to red and is known to bite.