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How to train your garden to attract … Dragonflies

(Hate mosquitoes? Meet your new best friend.)

Many gardeners are keen to plant pollinator gardens to attract bees, butterflies, and birds. However, it's also wise to plant beneficial insect friendly gardens, too.

What are beneficial insects? They're the ones that eat the bugs that eat your favorite specimen plants or your prize Heirloom tomatoes. While the ladybug is a welcome addition to any garden, give me a dragonfly any day.

I first became interested in dragonflies when I learned they too, like many popular bird species, participate in one of the great migrations. However, their ability to naturally defend against disease-carrying mosquitoes made them a must-have in my garden.

Dragonflies don't sting or bite people. They DO like to eat mosquitoes and flies, though. With the ability to fly up to thirty miles per hour (!!) these speed demons eat their own body weight every half hour. Want to spend time in your garden appreciating your hard work and flowers without being a buffet for disease-causing mosquitoes? Make your garden dragonfly-friendly.

Dragonflies flourish in areas with some degree of water, so it's not uncommon to find them in areas close to ponds, rivers, and creeks. However, you can still attract these fearsome fighters to your garden even if you're miles from a water source.

Rainscaping gardens and small ponds are ideal breeding grounds, just don't stock the latter with fish (they'll eat the dragonfly nymphs). Dragonflies also like stakes and vertical plants to land on (see the video below for proof).

For more resources and advice about dragonflies, please visit here, here, and here.

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