Dragonflies in the Garden

While dragonfly décor is a common sight in the garden, less common are the actual dragonflies themselves. With that in mind, here's how you can create a garden to entice dragonflies to your garden to prey on pesky insects like mosquitoes, gnats, and black flies. (article continues below sponsred links)

As with butterfly gardens and hummingbird gardens, the "plant it and they will come" attitude is the key in attracting beneficial insects like dragonflies and damselflies to the garden. Like butterflies and hummingbirds, dragonflies thrive in habitats that provide food, shelter, clean water, and most importantly plenty of sunshine. Plants like blue flag iris, narrow-leaved cattails, and arrowhead are dragonfly favorites.

The first part of a dragonfly’s life is spent on the water, which is why you often see them hovering on lily pads and around ponds and other water bodies. As adults, dragonflies move onto more terrestrial habitats like your garden. The lifespan of adult dragonflies is quite short and they die when the weather gets cold. Like butterflies, dragonflies like to be around water even if it’s a shallow pan that collects rainwater.

By the way, the difference between dragonflies and damsel flies is that dragonflies have wings that extend straight out to the sides whereas the wings of damselflies are folded behind the insect. Damselflies are also a bit smaller in size; however, both dragonflies and damselflies are members of the ancient insect order Odonata whose ancestors co-existed with the dinosaurs and had wingspans up to 30 inches across.

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