Plants Japanese Beetles Tend to Avoid

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20170620A

Japanese beetle. Photo: Benny Mazur, Flickr

Japanese beetle season is upon us or almost upon us, depending on where you live. Not that Japanese beetles (Popilia japonica) are found everywhere, but they are spreading throughout both Europe and North America and chances are that, if your garden isn’t presently under attack, it will be one day soon.

20170620B Luk, WC

Japanese beetles skeletonize the leaves of their favourite plants, yet ignore others. Photo: Luke, Wikimedia Commons.

The problem with these voracious insects is that they have such a wide host range: over 300 species of plants, including vegetables, annuals, perennials, climbers, trees, shrubs and even conifers … well, actually, they don’t much like evergreen conifers, but love the deciduous ones (larch, bald cypress, etc.). About the only plant group they avoid entirely is aquatic plants: they’re just not that great at diving!

If you want to learn more about eliminating Japanese beetles, you can read controlling those #$@&%* Japanese Beetles. But if you’re a laidback gardener, the real secret of success with Japanese beetles is to get rid of the plants they love and replace them with ones they don’t like.

Plants That Japanese Beetles Hate

I’ve already published an article on Japanese Beetle Host Plants, in other words, plants you should avoid growing. What follows is a list of plants that Japanese beetles dislike. They tend to avoid them even when other plants nearby are almost totally defoliated. And if ever they do nibble a leaf or flower here and there, the damage should be so light as to be unnoticeable.

  1. Abies concolor (white fir)
  2. Acer negundo (boxelder, Manitoba maple)
  3. Acer rubrum (red maple)
  4. Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
  5. Achillea (yarrow)
  6. Adiantum (maidenhair fern)
  7. Ageratum (ageratum, floss flower)
  8. Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
  9. Albizia julibrissin (silk tree)
  10. Allium (onion, garlic, leek, chives)
  11. Antirrhinum majus (snapdragon)
  12. Aquilegia (columbine)
  13. Asclepias (milkweed)
  14. Aster (aster)
  15. Astrantia (masterwort)
  16. Baptisia (false indigo)
  17. Begonia (begonia)
  18. Betula nigra (river birch)
  19. Betula papyrifera (paper birch)
  20. Betula platyphylla (Asian birch)
  21. Brassica oleracea (cabbage, kale)
  22. Buxus (boxwood)
  23. Caladium (caladium)
  24. Callicarpa (beautybush)
  25. Calycanthus floridus (Carolina allspice)
  26. Carya (hickory)
  27. Celastrus (bittersweet)
  28. Centaurea (cornflower)
  29. Cercis (redbud)
  30. Chamaecyparis (cypress)
  31. Chelone (turtlehead)
  32. Consolida (larkspur)
  33. Convallaria majalis (lily-of-the-valley)
  34. Coreopsis (tickseed)
  35. Cornus (flowering dogwood)
  36. Corylus (hazel, filbert)
  37. Cosmos (cosmos)
  38. Cotinus (smoketree)
  39. Cryptomeria japonica (cryptomeria)
  40. Dianthus (pink, carnation)
  41. Dicentra (bleeding heart)
  42. Digitalis (foxglove)
  43. Diospyros (persimmon)
  44. Euonymus (euonymous, burning bush, wintercreeper)
  45. Ficus (fig)
  46. Forsythia (forsythia)
  47. Fraxinus (ash)
  48. Gaillardia (blanketflower)
  49. Gardenia (gardenia)
  50. Geum (prairie smoke, avens)
  51. Ginkgo biloba (maidenhair tree)
  52. Gypsophila (baby’s breath)
  53. Hamamelis (witch hazel)
  54. Hedera (english ivy)
  55. Helleborus (hellebore, Christmas rose)
  56. Heuchera (heuchera, coralbells)
  57. Hosta (hosta)
  58. Hydrangea (hydrangea, hortensia) (exception: Hydrangea quercifolia)
  59. Ilex (holly)
  60. Impatiens (impatiens)
  61. Iris (iris)
  62. Jacobaea maritima, formerly Senecio cineraria (dusty miller)
  63. Juglans cinerea (butternut)
  64. Juniperus (juniper)
  65. Kalmia (mountain laurel)
  66. Lantana (lantana)
  67. Lathyrus (sweet pea)
  68. Leucanthemum (daisy)
  69. Liatris (gayfeather)
  70. Lilium (lily)
  71. Liquidambar (sweet gum)
  72. Liriodendron (tulip tree)
  73. Lonicera (honeysuckle)
  74. Lychnis (campion, catchfly)
  75. Magnolia (magnolia)
  76. Monarda (beebalm)
  77. Morus (mulberry)
  78. Musa (banana)
  79. Myosotis (forget-me-mot)
  80. Nepeta (catmint)
  81. Nicotiana (nicotiana, flowering tobacco)
  82. Pachysandra (Japanese pachysandra, Japanese spurge)
  83. Papaver (poppy)
  84. Pear (Pyrus)
  85. Petunia (petunia)
  86. Philadelphus (mockorange)
  87. Physostegia (obedient plant)
  88. Picea (spruce)
  89. Pinus (pine)
  90. Populus alba (silver poplar)
  91. Portulaca grandiflora (portulaca)
  92. Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir)
  93. Pyracantha (firethorn)
  94. Quercus (oak) (exceptions: Q. prinus, Q. palustris)
  95. Ranunculus (buttercup)
  96. Rhododendron (rhododendron, azalea)
  97. Rhus (sumac)
  98. Robinia (locust)
  99. Rudbeckia (black-eyed susan)
  100. Ruta (rue)
  101. Scabiosa (pincushion flower)
  102. Sedum (sedum)
  103. Styphnolobium japonicum, formerly Sophora japonica (Japanese pagoda tree)
  104. Symphoricarpos (snowberry)
  105. Syringa (lilac)
  106. Tanacetum (tansy)
  107. Taxus (yew)
  108. Thuja occidentalis (aborvitae, white-cedar)
  109. Tradescantia (spiderwort)
  110. Tricyrtis (toad lily)
  111. Tropaeolum majus (nasturtium)
  112. Tsuga (hemlock)
  113. Verbena (vervain)
  114. Veronica (veronica)
  115. Viburnum opulus (European cranberry bush)
  116. Viola (pansy, violet)
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