Flower Power Fights Pests

What if you could improve the health of your garden by adding more flowers? Washington State University researchers have discovered that Sweet Alyssum attracts lots of beneficial insects. These insects provide natural pest control by hunting bugs which munch on garden greenery. After experimenting with a few types of plants, researchers found that Sweet Alyssum attracted the most beneficials.

Sweet Alyssum, Lobularia maritimaSweet Alyssum flowers close up, Lobularia maritimaSweet Alyssum, Lobularia maritima, growing outdoors in Pacifica, California

Sweet Alyssum is a fragrant Mediterranean native, often grown as a tough, drought-tolerant groundcover. Clusters of tiny flowers emit a strong, sweet honey scent. This annual species is easy to grow, and reseeds readily. In hot climates, it prefers shade, but in cooler climates, it enjoys full sun. Cut the old flowers back to encourage new blooms. I’ve seen many varieties of pink and purple, but white flowers seem to be the most popular.

Attracting beneficial insects is a great non-toxic way to control pests. This and other natural strategies, like using carnivorous plants, can spare you dangerous chemicals, and actually add life to your garden. For those growing orchids outdoors, Sweet Alyssum is a winning addition.

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