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!
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 that picky.
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.
Nature tips for the insect garden
The first and easiest measure is to simply leave a wild corner that is neither mowed nor entered. Here we leave nettles, grasses and clover their space. Because they are vital for many of our insect species.
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.
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.
Care is also not expensive: 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.
Early bloomer (onion and tuber)
- Märzenbecher (Leucojum vernum)
- Two-leaved squill (Scilla bifolia)
- Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)
- Bush anemone (Anemone nemorosa)
- Hollow lark spur (Corydalis cava)
- Fingered larkspur (Corydalis solida)
- Meadow cowslip (Primula veris)
- Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis)
- Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
- Winterling (Eranthis hyemalis)
- Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)
For the snack or herb garden: plants that are also edible for us
- Cornelian cherry (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)
- Globularia bisnagarica
- Wild mallow (Malva sylvestris)
- Musk mallow (Malva moschata)
- Meadow sage (Salvia pratensis)
- Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
- Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
- Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris)
- Adder’s head (Echium vulgare)
- Common night violet (Hesperis matronalis)
- Common catchwort (Silene vulgaris)
- Perennial 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 light carnation (Silene latifolia alba)
- Common sage (Salvia officinalis)
- Turkish lily (Lilium martagon)
- Common soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)
Domestic wild roses
- Dog rose (Rosa canina)
- Vinegar rose (Rosa gallica)
- Beagle Rose (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 magnificently and have double flowers are often of little use to our insects. Their flowers are too narrow for the animals. In addition, the flowers often contain no 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 insects of all kinds. And: Birds also love native roses, their rose hips are rare food in winter. Anyone who opts for a robust rose in the garden or on the balcony will be rewarded with wonderful fragrances 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.
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