(Nemophila menziesii ‘Baby Blue Eyes’)
Baby Blue Eyes is a cool weather annual low spreading shrub-like flower that is native to California which is commonly found growing in woodlands and grasslands in the western United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 9” and features succulent stems topped by upward facing, cup-shaped, 5-lobed, blue flowers with a light blue to white centers, and feather-like gray-green foliage. This plant can be grown in containers and hanging baskets, it attracts bees and butterflies, and is drought tolerant!
Variety: Baby Blue Eyes
Native Range: California, Mexico Northwest.
Introduced into: Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden.
Easy of growing: Easy
Grown as: Annual
Maturity (Blooms): May to June
Light: Full Sun to Part Shade. Part afternoon shade is best in hot summer climates.
Soil Moisture: Medium. Evenly moist, well-drained soils.
Containers: Yes. Great choice for containers and hanging baskets. Grows best in loose, acidic, organically rich soil.
Attracts Beneficial Insects?: Yes. It attracts bees and butterflies.
Suitability: This is a cool weather annual that grows best in cool summer climates where nighttime temperatures consistently dip below 65 degrees F. Plants are intolerant of dry soils and drought. This plant will self seed in the garden in optimum conditions.
Sow Depth: 1/4"
USDA Zones: 2-11
Produces: succulent stems topped by upward facing, cup-shaped, 5-lobed, blue flowers with a light blue to white centers, and feather-like gray-green foliage.
Garden Uses: Borders and rock gardens. Interesting plant for edging. Will cascade from containers.
and Yellow Jackets all prey on aphids.
have an alligator-like appearance, and are black with orange markings. Pupae are sedentary. Ladybeetles are commercially available but purchasing is not generally recommended since the adult stage tends to fly away once released. Introductions may be more effective in greenhouses and high tunnels. Diverse plantings can help recruit resident ladybeetles to an area.
To attract Ladybugs to your garden you will need to grow: Angelica, Calendula, Caraway, Chives, Cilantro, Cosmos, Dill, Fennel, Feverfew, Marigold, Statice, Sweet Alyssum, and Yarrow. You may also want to grow decoy crops to keep your ladybugs supplied with aphids to eat such as Early cabbage, Marigold, Nasturtium, and Radish. Without a food source, your ladybugs will be forced to leave which will leave your crops vulnerable.
Soft-winged Flower Beetle or Collops Beetle: Collops beetles are commonly found on Alfalfa and Cotton plants in agricultural fields, landscapes and gardens. The adult eats aphids and the larvae are active predators in the soil. Two
abundant species in Utah are the two-spotted melyrid and the soft-winged flower beetle. Collops beetles are not commercially available.
Soldier Beetles: The adult stage of the soldier beetle eats aphids. The larvae live in the soil and help to control soil-borne pests. There are beetles that look similar to soldier beetles such as blister beetles and click beetles, so use care when identifying them. Soldier beetles are not commercially available.
Since Soldiers Beetles lay their eggs in the soil, all you have to do to is grow good nectar or pollen producing plants like Asclepias (milkweed), Solidago (goldenrod), and, while it’s not well understood, they seem particularly attracted to hydrangeas. Soldier Beetles can be found on flowers where they lie and wait for prey. They also feed on nectar and pollen but do not damage the plants.
Long-legged Flies: There are many species of long-legged flies (Dolichopodidae), the adults of which are predators of soft-bodied pests such as thrips, aphids, spider mites, flea hoppers, booklice, flies, silverfish, small caterpillars, and a variety of other small insects. They also eat nectar from flowers. The adult is recognized by the long legs and tapered abdomen but also by the metalic green or blue color. Larvae of long-legged flies are maggot-like in appearance and develop in wet or dry soil, rotting vegetation, or under bark. They are not commercially available.
Syrphid, Flower, or Hover Flies: Syrphid flies are about the size of house flies and hover in flight. The adults, which sometimes resemble bees, are not predaceous, but the larvae are aphid predators. The larvae vary in color from green to brown, some with a stripe or two down the back. The body tapers to the mouthparts. Syrphid flies are not commercially available.
To attract Hover Flies to your garden try growing: Fern-leaf yarrow (Achillea ﬁlipendulina), Common yarrow
(Achillea millefolium), Carpet bugleweed (Ajuga reptans), Lavender globe lily (Allium tanguticum), Basket of Gold (Alyssum saxatilis), Dill (Anethum graveolens), Golden Marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria), Dwarf alpine aster (Aster alpinus), Masterwort (Astrantia major), \Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), Purple poppy mallow (Callirhoe involucrata), Caraway (Carum carvi), Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium), Coriander (Coriandrum sativum),
Cosmos white sensation (Cosmos bipinnatus), Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum CA), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Poached egg plant (Limnanthes douglasii), Statice (Limonium latifolium), Butter and eggs (Linaria vulgaris), Edging lobelia (Lobelia erinus), Sweet alyssum white (Lobularia maritima), Lemon Balm (Melissa ofﬁcinalis), Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), Spearmint
(Mentha spicata), Wild Bergamot (Monarda ﬁstulosa), Rocky Mountain penstemon (Penstemon strictus), Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), Sulfur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta ‘warrenii’), Alpine cinquefoil (Potentilla villosa), Gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia fulgida), Orange stonecrop (Sedum kamtschaticum), Stonecrops (Sedum spurium), Peter Pan goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), Wood betony (Stachys ofﬁcinalis), Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia),
Crimson thyme (Thymus serpylum coccineus), Spike speedwell (Veronica spicata), Zinnia "liliput" (Zinnia elegans).
Predaceous Midges: The larvae of these flies are very small (~1/10 inch long), but are generalist predators of mites, aphids and other soft-bodied insects. The larvae are yellow to orange in color. The adults are not predatory. Predaceous midges are commercially available.
Damsel Bugs: These true bugs are very common and abundant in farms, gardens and landscapes. They are generalist predators and both the adults and nymphs eat aphids, caterpillar eggs, small larvae, fleahoppers, lygus bugs, leafhoppers, treehoppers, spider mites, and other soft-bodied insects, especially on shorter growing plants. They are common in agricultural habitats, such as soybean, corn, and alfalfa. Damsel bugs are greyish brown in color and have grasping front legs. They are not commercially available.
To attract Damsel Bugs to your garden you will need to grow: Caraway (Carum carvi), Cosmos “white sensation” (Cosmos bipinnatus), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peter Pan Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), and Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia).
Big-eyed Bugs: Big-eyed bugs are small (~3/16 inch long), fast moving true bugs. They are generalist predators and are most commonly seen on the ground or in shorter growing plants. They prey on aphids, small caterpillars and caterpillar eggs, fleahoppers, lygus bugs, mites, thrips, whiteflies. They are distinguished by their very large eyes which are as broad as the width of their body. Big-eyed bugs are not available commercially.
To attract Big-eyed bugs to your garden you will need to grow: Caraway (Carum carvi), Cosmos “white sensation” (Cosmos bipinnatus), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peter Pan Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), and Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia).
Minute Pirate Bugs: Minute pirate bugs are very small (~1/12 inch long) predators that are difficult to see without a hand lens or jeweler’s loupe. They are generalist predators that feed on small insect prey. Both the nymphs and adults are predaceous. The adults are identified by the black and white color and an X pattern across the back. The nymphs are tiny and red to orange in color. Minute pirate bugs are commercially available.
To attract Minute Pirate Bugs to your garden you will need to grow: Caraway (Carum carvi), Cosmos “white
sensation” (Cosmos bipinnatus), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peter Pan Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), and Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia).
Lacewings: Green lacewings are common generalist predators that feed on aphids. Brown lacewings are slightly smaller. Some species of adult lacewings are predaceous while the larvae are very active predators that feed on soft-bodied prey such as mites, aphids, leafhoppers, thrips, whiteflies, and pest eggs. Lacewings in nearly all life stages are commercially available.
To attract Lacewings to your garden you will need to grow: Fern-leaf yarrow (Achillea ﬁlipendulina), Dill (Anethum graveolens), Angelica (Angelica gigas), Golden marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria), Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), Purple poppy mallow (Callirhoe involucrata), Caraway (Carum carvi), Coriander (Coriandrum sativum),
Cosmos white sensation (Cosmos bipinnatus), Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Prairie sunﬂower (Helianthus maximilianii), Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), Dandelion (Taraxacum ofﬁcinale).
Parasitic Wasps: There are several species of parasitoid wasps that parasitize aphids specifically. Parasitic wasps that specialize on aphids are very small (~1/8 inch long) and female wasps have a modified stinger for depositing eggs. The egg is injected into an aphid where the larva develops inside. Parasitized aphids are a light tan to gold color and have a bulbous look. A circular cut out on the rearend of the aphid indicates adult wasp emergence. Parasitic wasps are commercially available but there are abundant populations in the environment.
Hornets, Paper Wasps, Yellow Jackets: Although hornets, paper wasps and yellow jackets are often considered a nuisance, they are predators of soft-bodied insects. They do not typically sting humans unless they are disturbed. If their nests are not in an area likely to be disturbed by people then it is not a bad idea to leave them alone.