The Weedy-Sounding Wildflower That'll Attract Beautiful Dragonflies To Your Yard

Dragonflies are majestic insects that demand attention with their pretty colors and unique shapes. Not only are they beautiful to watch as they glide through the garden, but they also reduce the mosquito population since that's one of the many water-loving insects dragonflies eat. Attracting bees and butterflies to your garden is a no-brainer, but consider growing plants that will attract dragonflies, too. One of the best plants you can grow to attract dragonflies is Vernonia fasciculata, or smooth ironweed. This gorgeous ironweed species is a North American native wildflower that will keep dragonflies in your yard, provided that it and the dragonflies have access to enough water.

Attracting a beneficial insect that will keep mosquitoes away is a huge deal if you have a backyard pond or live near a body of water, so you'll want to keep ironweed around. Ironweed grows readily from seed and will self-seed if you let it, ensuring you always have some around. The gorgeous plant can grow quite tall in the right conditions and will produce pretty magenta flowers in late summer. It's a great transitional plant that will provide some color while summer plants die out and fall plants start to bloom.

Ironweed is a native friend of dragonflies

Not only is smooth ironweed attractive to dragonflies, but you'll also see many insects — friends and foes alike — hovering around the plants. The plant is native to central North America, from Canada to Texas running north and south, and from Montana to Connecticut running west to east. You'll find them in wet areas along rivers, streams, lakes, and marshes, and in more developed areas around roads and railroads. The native plant grows well next to other natives and will help local pollinators thrive, so they're good to keep in the garden for many reasons.

Ironweed prefers wet soil and is tolerant of short-lived flooding. If you have an area of garden that is prone to collecting water, try ironweed there, as it will likely thrive. It needs full sun exposure but is tolerant of most soils. They can grow up to 4-feet tall and 3-feet wide, so they can easily fill up empty spaces as needed. Since they live in moist areas, there are bound to be mosquitoes nearby, and where there are mosquitoes, there will be dragonflies. 

Dragonflies and mosquitoes alike will be drawn to the wet conditions and find safety in the ironweed foliage. Dragonflies mate near water and will either lay their eggs near water or inside plants, so the ironweed may function as shelter for young dragonflies to grow up in, allowing you to turn your garden into a dragonfly habitat.