10 Native Plants to Attract Beneficial Insects


photo taken at Kaimuki Middle School 

There are two types of beneficial insects. One pollinates the fruits of your labor and the other eat pests while you’re napping. Pollinators, like bees and the Kamehameha butterfly, can easily be attracted to your garden using native plants. Apart from being beautiful and unique, once established (generally after 3 months of weekly deep watering) native plants require little water and maintenance. The predatory insects like ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and lacewings  prefer flowers with pollen and nectar that is easily accessible, think of the flat landing pad of a sunflower or small, shallow flowers like dill.

The following is a collection of native plants that are easy to grow and will attract all kinds of beneficial insects to your yard and help to protect your vegetables!  Linked (when possible) to both the UH Native Plants Website and Hui Ku Maoli Ola which offer suggestions for how to grow and where to purchase each plant. With the winter rains, now is a great time to plant them!

After you sheet mulch an area, you can dig holes twice the size of the plant container, half fill with compost. After gently removing the plant from its growing container, massage the roots so that they are facing downward.  Place the plant on top of the compost layer and cover the roots with a mixture of soil and compost. Leaving about an inch bare around the base of the stem, mulch 4-6 inches deep and at least a foot in radius. Water deeply.

Plant Pono is also an excellent resource when it comes to selecting plants for your land. In their words: Planting pono means taking care to make good planting decisions, not just for you and your yard, but also for our ‘aina.



a‘ali‘i UH Native Plants Website  Hui Ku Maoli Ola


ʻakia UH Native Plants Website Hui Ku Maoli Ola


‘ilima papa UH Native Plants Website Hui Ku Maoli Ola


koki’o ke’oke’o Hui Ku Maoli Ola 


ko‘oko‘olau Hui Ku Maoli Ola

mamaki and Kamehameha Butterfly

māmaki UH Native Plants Website  Hui Ku Maoli Ola

naupaka kahakai

naupaka kahakai UH Native Plants Website  Hui Ku Maoli Ola


‘ohai UH Native Plants Website  Hui Ku Maoli Ola


pohinahina UH Native Plants Website Hui Ku Maoli Ola


‘uki‘uki UH Native Plants Website Hui Ku Maoli Ola 


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