Birds and insects are an essential part of a healthy garden, and many people build their yard, factoring this in mind. The dragonfly is a popular insect easily distinguished with its large eyes, strong wings, and elongated body.
Dragonflies are a common sight in gardens and wooded areas as they prey on flying insects, mosquitos’, moths, butterflies, and smaller dragonflies. You may want to create a welcoming environment for these dragonflies, and here are the reasons why:
- They attract dragonflies to your garden.
- They eat mosquitoes and spiders. With a mosquito-free garden, you are saved from the risk of malaria.
- They balance the insect predators keeping a fine balance of insects and pests. Dragonflies control pest infestation, which saves you from using harsh chemicals for the same purpose.
- Dragonflies are aesthetically appealing with their unique metallic-colored appearance, which makes them a sight to behold.
- Dragonflies play an essential role in maintaining the ecology of the water body in your property.
Now that you are aware of the benefits, a few techniques can help attract dragonflies into your garden.
Attract Dragonflies: Create an Inviting Setting for Your Garden
Dragonflies are beautiful, graceful and keep your garden free of harmful pests. You just need the right garden features and plants to attract dragonflies into your yard.
1. Water feature
dragonflies live near water, but that does not mean that you need to create a large pond to attract the flies. You may have a small or a big water source but design it such that its edges are shallow and the center 2 feet deep. Else it will only be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and not attract dragonflies. Adding a waterfall makes the idyllic garden white, creating a water source for the dragonfly.
Any water feature is sufficient to attract these flies as they are aquatic and lay their eggs in the water bodies. Some species prefer standing water while others like flowing water. The kind of dragonfly you wish to attract should determine the type of water source you will need in your garden. Dragonflies spend most of their time perched on the vegetation near the water source.
The water feature will need maintenance. But you should not be near it too much, especially when the dragonflies lay their eggs in the water feature. You may end up damaging their eggs when cleaning the water body. So if you see a large group of dragonflies hovering around in an area, the place is best left undisturbed.
Dragonflies are not harmful to humans. These do not sting or bite. Also, if you wish to grow the dragonfly population, then do not introduce ducks, frogs, and fishes in the pond as these feed on the dragonfly eggs and nymphs.
You may also want to have a rain garden or a small bog, especially if there are areas in your garden with poor drainage. Installing stakes at the height of 3 feet and placing them 6 feet apart through the garden lets the winged beauties land on them and use them as a perch. Take care not to use any bug zappers or pesticides in your garden.
With just these few steps, you should be able to attract the dragonflies to your yard pretty easily. Give time to the dragonflies to figure out the water feature in your garden and make it their home.
2. Grow plants in the water source
Dragonflies need a variety of plants to thrive. Dwarf Sagittaria is submerged vegetation that grows in the hardiness zone of 6 to 10. This is a great option that offers an ideal place for the nymph to seek food and rest. Dragonflies also like the floating plant variety that is not rooted as this forms an important part of their habitat. Females lay eggs underside of the plant or on the stem. The Fanwort grows in the 6 to 11 zone, and the Western Water Lily that grows in the 10 and 11 zones are the best options.
Emergent plants are rooted at the bottom, but their leaves and stems rise to the top out of the water. Dragonflies love them as these are helpful in the nymph as well as the adult stage. Water Horsetail is an emergent plant that grows in zones 4 to 11. It is dark green with a hollow stem and has a few branches.
Water plants have a major role to play in attracting dragonflies to your garden. It helps add some vegetation around and in the water source, which offers protection to the dragonfly. This vegetation lets them keep their nymphs and eggs out of harm’s way. Emergent vegetation provides partial protection. These are floating plants that give the nymphs a way to come out. The dragonfly rests and lays its eggs in these floating plants.
The nymphs stay safe on them, and when they are adults ready to take their first flight, they climb the water plants and fly off. A wispy and tall water plant gives the adults a place to perch on. Choose to plant some submerged ones like the fanwort, eelgrass, baby pondweed, and sago pondweed. There are tropical water lotus flowers and lilies that also reduce the algae in the pond.
3. Planting trees on the edge of the water source
You also need to plant some shrubs and trees on the edge of the water feature as these are the perching sites for the adult dragonflies. Shrubs like buttonbush and seedbox are great varieties to add, which makes the dragonflies feel at home. Proper vegetation on the borders of the water source increases the dragonfly’s chances of survival. Look for plants that call dragonflies, which means that these plants should attract the dragonflies’ food source. Dragonflies also like to look at their surroundings; a tall plant from where they can enjoy the views is a great idea.
Joe Pye weed, Swamp Milkweed, and Black-eyed Susans are amazing plants to have which attract small insects to your garden. These insects do not cause trouble but give the dragonflies a real feast. Planting some vertical plants also helps, which provides them with the much-needed space when there is a predator threat. The shoreline plants give the dragonflies an ideal place to hunt and hide. These are also known as marsh plants and thrive in moist soil. They are plants like the Arrowhead that grow in the 4 through 10 zones. The Cattail is also a shoreline plant that thrives in the 2 to 11 zones.
4. Adding pollinator plants
The plants around your water source will attract many other insects, which will help get rid of mosquitoes. This is why you need to have some pollinator plants around the water source as well. Lilies, buttercups, and irises are some great choices to choose from. These will attract more dragonflies as the plants are a great attraction for various insects.
Growing native plants help in attracting pollinators. Dragonflies will eat some of the pollinators, but that should be fine considering these little flies’ benefits. They eat moths, butterflies, and even bees. So along with the aquatic plants, you also need some pollinator plants in your garden design.
5. Include flat rocks
Dragonflies love to sunbathe, and the flat rocks are an ideal spot for them to enjoy some warmth. Mix some dark and light rocks, which will help to attract more dragonflies to the rocks.
Many insects enter your garden. Some are beneficial, while others are a total nuisance. While you may be keen to get rid of these insects, it pays to have some of them around. One among these is the dragonfly. These are helpful to grow your vegetation and even work tirelessly to keep pests away from your garden.
Dragonflies are attracted to wet and boggy areas. These keep the menacing insects away from your garden and add to the beauty of flora and fauna all around you.