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Most users ever online was 305 on Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:39 am


Garden plant good for hoverflies

 
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yorkie in fod



Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 208

PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:29 pm    Post subject: Garden plant good for hoverflies Reply with quote

This year is the first that I have observed and photographed hoverflies, and I confess my interest was initially sparked by wanting to find a subject on which I could try out a new close-up lens for my camera.

I'm quite a keen gardener, and I found that one particular plant seemed to be very attractive to hoverflies, namely the perennial Scabiosa ochraleuca. It has a flower head very similar to the well-known blue Scabiosa which is known to be popular with butterflies, but it is a much taller plant, with an abundance of pale yellow flowers, which were still in bloom and attracting insects towards the end of November (when it wasn't raining!).

The height of the flower stems, which are self-supporting, is about a meter, which eases observation and also helps with photography.

Species I recorded on this plant since August this year were:

Episyrphus balteatus
Eristalis tenax, pertinax, nemorum, other small Eristalis not id'd
Eupeodes luniger and corollae
Helophilus pendulus and trivittatus
Melanostoma scalare
Syrphus ribesii and either torvus or vitripennis, or both

I know these are common species, but I found it was good to have a single plant so attractive to so many species.

Incidentally, the S. ochraleuca flowers were also extremely popular with bees, with several species battling with the hoverflies for flower heads on which to feed!

Finally, if anyone knows of other garden plants which attract hoverflies, I'd be interested to hear from them.
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Roger K.A. Morris



Joined: 06 Nov 2005
Posts: 1652

PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

If you have a big enough garden then maybe a patch of dogwood - one of those with ornamental stems - but basic Cornus is good for hovers in early June. Maybe also privet - the Japanese one is ok but it has to be left unmaintained if it is to flower. Both of these can be quite productive.

Regards

Roger
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conopid



Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Shrewsbury, Shropshire

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fennel and Eryngiums are excellent as are most other umbellifers.
Anything in the Asteracea works well.
Ivy is brilliant later in the season
Basically just about anything with open, flat topped flowers seems to attract hovers.

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Nigel Jones
Shrewsbury
Shropshire
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John O'Sullivan



Joined: 05 Oct 2005
Posts: 128
Location: Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All top suggestions. Can I also put in a plug for some seasonal flowers? Viburnum of several types, particularly farreri, and winter-flowering jasmine are a reliable draw in Bedfordshire during the cold months.
John
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John Showers



Joined: 02 Sep 2005
Posts: 19
Location: Rothwell, Northants

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Buddleja and Marjoram are also good. Very early in the year Bergenia (Elephant's ears) can attract wintering adults that wake up in warm spells.
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brianh



Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 150

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tansy and ragwort, both yellow, are worth a mention. But they can take over; as they may spread, and are fairly tall - but a good height for photography.
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Tony White



Joined: 12 Mar 2006
Posts: 61
Location: Byfield, Northants

PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't add to the plethora of suggestions already made, but one thing puzzled me: I have never seen ANY insects on Winter-flowering Jasmine (or, come to that, its relative, Forsythia). Am I unlucky or just unobservant?
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John O'Sullivan



Joined: 05 Oct 2005
Posts: 128
Location: Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to say that winter-flowering jasmine (on a south-facing wall of The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire), regularly gets Eristalis tenax and Episyrphus balteatus in January/February. It also attracts other flies, honey-bees, and bumble-bees. Perhaps most productive, then, in a sheltered spot?
Happy winter hunting!
John
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