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12 Plants That Attract Dragonflies (with Pictures)

dragonfly in a plant

Dragonflies are among the most beneficial insects to have around, but just because you want them to visit your garden, that doesn’t mean they’ll come. You need to set up an environment where they can thrive, and getting a pristine dragonfly ecosystem starts with the plants.

Whether you have a pond in your yard for aquatic plants or something, we highlighted 12 of the best plants that attract dragonflies here.

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The 12 Plants That Attract Dragonflies

1. Fanwort

fanwort or cabomba plant blooming in spring
Image By: Yen-ting, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Cabomba
USDA Hardiness Zone: 6 to 11
Growing Medium: Aquatic

While you can’t grow fanwort above the surface, if you have a pond, you can add fanwort there to help attract dragonflies. The insects lay their eggs on the stems and underside of the plant, so planting fanwort in your pond is a great starting point for dragonfly breeding grounds.

2. Swamp Milkweed

swamp milkweed plant
Image By: ChiemSeherin, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Asclepias incarnata
USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 to 6
Growing Medium: Aquatic

If you’re looking for dragonflies to help repel mosquitoes, swamp milkweed is a win-win. While it attracts dragonflies and acts as a potential breeding ground for them, it also repels mosquitoes.

Another perk is that when swamp milkweed blooms, you get stunning pink flowers to enjoy!

3. Black-Eyed Susan

black-eyed susan flowers
Image Credit: sapaulson, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Rudbeckia hirta
USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 to 9
Growing Medium: Land

If you don’t have any bodies of water on your property but still want to try your hand at attracting dragonflies, the black-eyed Susan is a great option. They thrive in direct sunlight, and dragonflies seem to like hanging around them.

You won’t attract as many dragonflies as you would if you had a pond on the property, but it can take you from zero dragonflies to quite a few.

4. Eelgrass/Wild Celery

dragonfly on celery leaf
Image Credit: artstore, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Vallisneria americana
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 10
Growing Medium: Aquatic

Eelgrass, also known as wild celery, is a plant that dragonflies love. It prefers shallow water, so it will thrive if you have a pond. lay their eggs there, Eelgrass is something easy for dragonflies to hide behind while they’re growing and trying to avoid predators.

5. Arrowhead

Syngonium podophyllum or arrowhead plant
Image Credit: abitama17, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Syngonium podophyllum
USDA Hardiness Zone: 10 to 12
Growing Medium: Aquatic

While many aquatic plants grow almost exclusively under the surface, that’s not the case with arrowheads. While the roots are better submerged, the rest of the plant thrives above ground. This gives dragonflies a nursery in their favorite environment, and it gives your pond a beautiful aesthetic appearance.

6. Meadow Sage

meadow sage flower
Image Credit: GoranH, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Salvia pratensis
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 9
Growing Medium: Land

Meadow sage is a plant that you can use to attract dragonflies without a pond in your yard. It grows on dry land, but it can actually endure short droughts. Those aren’t ideal conditions for dragonflies, but when the moisture comes, the plants will still be there for the dragonflies to flock to!

7. Joe-Pye Weed

Joe-Pye weed
Image Credit: GabrielDouglas, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Eutrochium purpureum
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 8
Growing Medium: Land

While you don’t necessarily need water to grow Joe-Pye weed, you do need extremely moist soil, so Joe-Pye weed thrives along the banks of a pond. It produces beautiful pink and purple flowers, but keep in mind they can grow up to 12 feet tall. Furthermore, they spread like wildfire and can be difficult to contain in any one area.

8. Water Lily

water lilies
Image Credit: MrGajowy3, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Nymphaeaceae
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 11
Growing Medium: Aquatic

If you already have a pond on your property, water lilies are great plants to help you attract dragonflies. The insects use them to lay their eggs and hide from predators, so if they see them floating around, there’s a good chance that they’ll stop by.

There’s also a classic visual appeal of having water lilies in your pond.

9. Yarrow

grasshopper on yarrow flower
Image Credit: jurgko, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Achillea millefolium
USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 to 9
Growing Medium: Land

Yarrow grows great in non-aquatic environments and can withstand long drought conditions, which is ideal if you’re not planting near a pond. Ensure that you have enough space for them, though, as each plant grows to between 2 and 4 feet. Space them about 1 or 2 feet apart when planting, and expect them to fill in the gaps as they spread.

10. Borage

borage flowers
Image Credit: ioanna_alexa, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Borago officinalis
USDA Hardiness Zone: 2 to 11
Growing Medium: Land

Few plants provide the same visual appeal as borage when it blooms. It produces a bright-blue star-shaped flower that can draw in dragonflies. It’s also drought tolerant and grows on dry land, so you don’t need to have a pond in your yard to plant it.

11. Cattail

cattail plant
Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Typha
USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 to 10
Growing Medium: Land

If your property has marshy conditions, cattail can thrive there. It doesn’t do well in dry conditions and can grow up to 6 feet tall. Dragonflies love the cover that it provides, and it adds a signature element to a marsh-like environment.

12. Coneflowers

Image Credit: robbihoy, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Echinacea
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 to 8
Growing Medium: Land

Coneflowers come in pink, red, orange, white, and yellow, which enables you to add a splash of color to your garden. They grow on the ground and are drought resistant. They do get tall, with their final height residing between 2 and 4 feet, but this provides the dragonflies the coverage that they need to thrive.

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Benefits of Dragonflies

While some insects have a negative impact on the lives of humans, that’s not the case with dragonflies. These insects are beneficial to humans, mainly due to their diet.

Dragonflies feast on insects, and their food of choice is the mosquito. Mosquitoes are annoying but they can also spread disease. Dragonflies can eat hundreds of mosquitoes a day, so having them around can make a significant impact on the local mosquito population.

If you have a vegetable garden in the area, dragonflies will help control insect problems there too, without attacking the fruit or vegetables. No matter how you look at it, dragonflies are great to have around!

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If you’re looking to attract dragonflies to your yard, it’s best to get a few of the plants highlighted here. Check your USDA hardiness region, the environment around your yard, and the right time to plant before you spend the time and money putting them in the ground.

When the conditions are right, get a few plants out there, and you’ll have dragonflies visiting in no time!

Featured Image Credit: Lolame, Pixabay


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