Green Gardening – Pests


Harmony in nature and in your garden dictates there be bugs, even the ones that chomp unceasingly on your soon to be harvest. No organic gardener expects an insect free garden, and the assortment of insect minimization tools available today is growing. Natural controls, such as the presence or introduction of beneficial insects, often top the list of useful insect minimization tools.

Here’s a list of insects…and the plants that will minimize their damage. 

  • Ants – mint, pansy, pennyroyal
  • Aphids – mint, garlic, chives, coriander, anise
  • Bean Leaf Beetle – potato, onion,turnip
  • Codling Moth – common oleander
  • Colorado Potato Bug – green beans, coriander, nasturtium
  • Cucumber Beetle – radish, pansy
  • Flea Beetle – garlic, onion, mint
  • Imported Cabbage Worm – mint, sage, rosemary, hussop
  • Japanese Beetle – garlic, larkspur, tansy, rue, geranium
  • Leaf Hopper – geranium, petunia
  • Mice – onion
  • Root Knot Nematodes – French marigolds
  • Slugs – prostrate rosemary, wormwood
  • Spider Mites – onion, garlic, cloves, chives
  • Squash Bug – radish, marigolds
  • Stink Bug – radish
  • Thrips – marigolds
  • Whitefly – marigolds, nasturtium 

Organic gardeners can now choose from a variety of products at local nurseries or gardening centers to help them with pest management issues. Beneficial insect seed products are one category of pest management products on the organic market today.


Seed pack companies have used an organic marketing campaign to promote products grouping seeds from plants and/or herbs attractive to beneficial insects. Use our product, the claims generally go, and the beneficial insects attracted to the flowers will help with pest control in your garden. The claims sound inviting to organic gardeners, who have long promoted the idea of using beneficial insects as one component of their pest management policy.

Recent research suggests that the pest management numbers linked to beneficial insect seed products do not add up. If you are inviting as many pest as beneficial insects near your garden, you are not practicing effective pest management. They conclude by saying more research on the topic is needed.

The research suggests that organic gardeners should stay conservative in their pest management strategies. For example, if using beneficial insect plants has been a relatively successful pest management strategy for you thus far, you can supplement that technique by the direct introduction of beneficial insects into your garden.

As research on beneficial insect seed products continues, natural pest control results using plants will improve.


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