Dragonflies are beautiful and graceful, and having them flying in the garden just adds more attractiveness to your flowers and plants. Even better, dragonflies also feed on some pests which makes them even more useful to have in the gardens. So if you want to know how to attract dragonflies, I have some tips that you can give a try. I would say it is not easy to attract dragonflies, but all the efforts that you put in will be worth it.
1. Add Water
Don’t worry if you don’t have a big pond because you don’t need to go that big to attract dragonflies. The thing that you should know about the water source that is favorable for dragonflies is simpler than that. Make sure that your water feature has shallow edges and a center that is at least 2 feet deep. Dragonflies need deep water to live while mosquitos larvae don’t survive well in deep water. This helps to create a home for dragonflies while limiting mosquitos from coming to your garden or yard. Keep the water source clean and fresh, and you will start to see the number of dragonflies start to increase.
2. Food Source
Water alone is not enough for dragonflies to settle down in your pond or water feature. You want to make sure that there is enough food for them to feed on. This is why the place should be as pleasant as possible for these graceful insects to call home. The good thing is that dragonflies will eat any insects that they can catch. Although dragonflies mostly feed on gnats and mosquitos, attracting too much of these can be a problem. You can grow the right plants that only attract the perfect food sources that you don’t mind being around. This will take us to the next important part below.
3. Grow Water Plants
Dragonflies breed in water, and their nymphs need hiding places so you have to grow water plants. They are the second important things that you want to have to attract dragonflies to your garden. At the same time, adult dragonflies also like to perch on water plants as they rest or wait for prey. All you need is to choose the water plants that look good to adorn your pond or water source. So if you want some ideas, here are a few water plants that you can grow.
- Arrowhead: This is a hardy bog plant that blooms all summer long while increasing natural filtration to the water. It is one of the finest pond plants that you can choose to grow in your pond and water feature. Arrowhead is green and lush, and it grows large quickly with its leaves spreading out. At the same time, it has strong roots that allow it to survive a wide variety of water levels. Also, it is among the best water plants that the nymphs can hide in.
- Swamp Milkweed: Also goes by the name of pink butterfly flower, swamp milkweed is quite pretty. Many pond owners recommend this one due to the large pink clusters that look absolutely gorgeous when it blooms. Swamp milkweed grows well in both moderate soil and wet soil, and it is easy to overwinter. This type of plant attracts butterflies, but it may also bring in hummingbirds which can be unpleasant for dragonflies. In case hummingbirds are not common in your area, then swamp milkweed should be in your consideration.
- Water Horsetail: Here we have a magnificent aquatic plant that looks great along the edge of the pond. It is strong and tall, and it makes a perfect perch plant for dragonflies. More than that, it grows fast since it can reach around 4 feet tall in a short amount of time. Water horsetails make amazing accent plants to complement the pond’s rocky edge and the whole pond in general. They remain green all year round, and they thrive best in wet conditions which are perfect for your pond. So if the pond is new, this is one of the first options that you should have in mind.
- Water Lily: When it comes to the best plants for ponds, water lilies are always on the list. These flowers flower well, look great, and their floating leaves provide shade that the nymphs need to hide in. Water lilies do great in calm water, and they bloom beautifully in summer and fall. You can choose between hardy and tropical water lilies, and either of them is great in its own way. And here are some tips on to plant and care for water lilies that you might want to check out.
- Wild Celery: This is one of the best aquatic plants that are beneficial to underwater organisms and dragonflies. The unique thing about wild celery is that they grow in brackish water, and they are also nice for ponds. Because of its underwater characteristics, wild celery is a great plant for different types of lives under the water. They offer great hiding spots for the nymphs while functioning as food for some aquatic birds. In case you have coots, ducks, geese, or swans around, you might like wild celery.
4. Include Flat Rocks
Besides perching on water plants, dragonflies also like to sunbathe on sunny days. By adding flat rocks, you do not only provide them a place to the sun but also add a complement to the pond. You can make flat rocks look good by mixing dark and light rocks to attract the dragonflies. And with the right placement, you might also create a beautiful spot for your pond.
5. Pollinator Plants
On top of water plants, pollinator plants also play an important role in attracting dragonflies. This is because some insects that are great food for dragonflies like to visit pollinator plants. Those are bees, butterflies, and moths, just the extra delicious snacks that large dragonflies love to feed on. Pollinator plants can attract a number of smaller insects that are less annoying to your water feature. Along with that, pollinator plants are also beautiful and colorful to have around the pond. You can choose the bright ones like buttercups and irises to make your garden or yard even more lively.
Plants That Attract Dragonflies
We have discussed the plants that are good for dragonflies and their nymphs above, but let’s get into more details. I also want to let you know about some of the plants that can attract dragonflies to your garden or yard. It does not have to always be aquatic plants because ground plants can also do the job. Below are some of the best plants that attract dragonflies which you can plant around the garden or yard. Let’s see which one that you think is the most suitable for your landscape.
The unique thing about borage is that it has this blue star-shaped flower that looks different from most garden flowers. It is also tough since it is drought-tolerate with a self-seeding ability. People often recommend borage in the garden because it can attract dragonflies while providing other benefits to the space. You can also use borage as a herb and add it to salads since it has a cucumber-like flavor. Some even suggest adding it to cream cheese spreads and dips, and you might want to give that a try.
2. Black-Eyed Susan
The combination of bright yellow and black in the middle makes black-eyed Susan an amazing garden flower. You can grow these flowers around the pond or in your garden to attract dragonflies also. Even more interesting, black-eyed Susan also attracts bees and butterflies due to the sweet nectar which is a total plus. I like the fact that these flowers grow well in any kind of soil, and they need full sun to flourish. So easy to grow and take care of, maybe this can be your next favorite flower too.
Cattails grow well in moist soil and swampy areas, and they are ideal for dragonfly eggs and young dragonflies. This aquatic plant is also a great magnet to attract dragonflies to your ponds as it provides hiding places for them. These plants are pretty, and they attract dragonflies to gather and lay eggs in your ponds. You can also easily transplant them if you want to enlarge your pond since cattails are very hardy plants.
With bright and bold colors, coneflowers are extremely attractive to have in the garden or near the pond. A small garden of these simply adds extra beauty while attracting butterflies and dragonflies to visit your landscape. Even more interesting, coneflowers are also easy to maintain and they are very tough. These flowers love the sun, and they survive drought very well which is ideal for busy gardeners out there.
5. Indian Blanket
This flower is special because it adds more brightness and cheerfulness to your garden from its color. Indian blankets are easy to grow, and they thrive beautifully in full sun while attracting dragonflies to the garden or yard. Besides Indian blankets, you can also choose other blanket flowers that you find attractive to your landscape. There are many colors available for you to select, and growing them is quite easy and simple. Although it is a wildflower, having them in your garden is also a gorgeous addition. In case you want to know how to grow these flowers, then check out some advice from Gardening Know How.
6. Joe-Pye Weed
Pale pink-purple flowers are gorgeous, and this is why Joe-Pye weed can attract butterflies and dragonflies to your garden or pond. This type of flower grows from midsummer to fall, and it has a soft scent with a mild vanilla fragrance. Joe-Pye weed is easy to plant, and it can grow up to 12 feet high which is quite space-consuming. If you choose to grow them, you want to have enough space for them to spread. Make sure to plant them somewhere with full to partial sunlight, and they do well in meadows and moist wooded areas. I recommend this one because they can attract so many dragonflies and other insects to visit your garden or pond.
7. Meadow Sage
For those who love purple flowers, this is the dragonflies magnet that you want to grow in your garden. The cool thing about these flowers is that they are not always purple, they can be blue, pink, or white sometimes. No matter what color they produce, the beauty is always stunning in the garden or yard. I exceptionally like meadow sage because these flowers are disease and pest-free while being able to endure drought. Not to mention that they are amazing pollinator plants, having them in the garden is just a great benefit.
The clusters of flowers with different colors make the yarrow one of the most beautiful flowers to have in the garden. Yarrow can come in a wide range of colors such as pink, white, and yellow, and they are so pretty. Because they can be so large, yarrow can take up a lot of space in the garden or yard. So make sure to make room for them to grow, and clusters of them simply complement your space with colors. On top of that, yarrow is one of the flowers that attract dragonflies that many gardeners out there recommend. Plus with the fact that they are important sources for pollinators, you will see all sorts of pollinating insects too.
Attracting dragonflies to the garden or yard is quite simple when you come to think of it. You will just need to grow some flowers that they like, and they will visit your landscapes in no time. Since I already recommend some of the best aquatic plants and ground plants above, all you need to do is plant them. Most of the plants above are very easy to grow and take care of so you won’t be too busy. If there is anything else you want to know regarding attracting dragonflies, feel free to ask.