Dragonflies are graceful, beautiful and great at preventing bothersome pests from invading your garden. With the right plants and other garden features, such as rocks and water-loving plants, you can attract dragonflies to your yard and enjoy the many benefits they bring.
You don't need a large pond to attract dragonflies. Some people have had luck breeding them in plastic wading pools. No matter how big or small your water source is, be sure it has shallow edges and a center that is at least 2 feet deep. You can find pre-molded pond shapes at many home improvement stores and online.
Dragonflies breed in water because their young, called nymphs, need hiding places. That's why water plants play an important role in the dragonfly environment. When they're ready to become adults, dragonfly nymphs climb water plants as a platform for their inaugural flight. Adult dragonflies also like places to perch, which makes tall, wispy water plants the perfect complement. You can find a wide assortment of water plants at garden centers and online. Choose submerged plants, such as eelgrass, fanwort, baby pondweed and sago pondweed. You can also add floating plants, such as hardy and tropical water lilies and lotus flowers, to help reduce algae in your pond.
The ideal placement for plants is along the edge of your pond, as they offer more perching sites for dragonflies. If you'd like to add more variety, some naturalists recommend shrubs, such as seedbox and buttonbush, as good border plants that also make dragonflies feel right at home.
Dragonflies like to sun themselves, and the warmth of flat rocks provides the perfect setting. Try a mix of light and dark rocks and observe which color attracts more dragonflies to your area.
If you have a pond big enough to hold fish, you'll have to decide whether you want to foster a garden for fish or dragonflies. While both fish and dragonflies will help control your garden's bug population, they won't happily coexist, as fish feed on dragonfly nymphs.