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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Question about Evening Primrose as Japanese Beetle Trap

Question about Evening Primrose as Japanese Beetle Trap

Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 350
So, Dave & I have an ongoing slight difference of opinion and I'm sure it's one of those cases where neither approach is wrong or right...just different ways to do it.

One of us thinks that planting something like Evening Primrose (thanks Lori!) anywhere near (i.e. within 20 feet of) the other good stuff that JBs like (our grapes, for instance) is crazy and will draw in more critters than you would have had otherwise from all the surrounding neighborhood.

The other point of view is that the JBs are going to show up, one way or another, in your garden. If you give them something to munch that you don't mind losing, they'll leave your good stuff less damaged/eaten.

What are your thoughts on this "honeypot" approach? Experiences one way or the other?
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 144
I had/have evening primrose on my property and did not notice a lot of JB activity. That said, I will look more closely this year.

I have had good luck with thimbleberries (Rubus parviflorum/odoratus) attracting them. Additionally, they have big, wide leaves that make the JBs easy to capture. You shape the leaf like a chute with your hand and they will tumble down it into a waiting container of soapy water that dispatches them quickly. My son enjoyed doing it when he was little. I composted my JBs.

Thimbleberries bloom all season with flowers like R. rugosa (sort of). The berries are good and also come all season till frost or beyond. They have zero commercial value though due to the fruit being thin and delicate. Once they get established JBs cannot kill them. They can be quite invasive though like most all berry bushes. Find thimbleberries in the woods or along railroad beds, or roadsides. Some people raise them but they aren't a usual greenhouse item. They are thornless BTW.

I also raise tomatillos as a lure for squash bugs. They prefer the tomatillos to even the watermelon and cantaloupe (mostly). Tomatillos can be invasive too. I only bought them one year when I lived in Gardiner and every year after that I had way more volunteers than I knew what to do with. Tomatillos are good. The can make an absurd amount of fruit.

David H.
Oxford, ME
Post #: 297
Plants For A Future...­
Lori P
Portland, ME
Post #: 11
Hi All--the evening primrose I gave you will bloom (yellow) all summer in sun or shade, and spreads like the dickens, so don't plant it if you don't want it to spread! but it's easily pulled up. I am digging it up like weeds right now. I don't think I have ever seen Japanese beetles on it. However my garden now has few beetles--i only saw a handful all summer long last year, and they were on my pole beans. (I probably shouldn't have said that).

I too am torn about the trap question.

A former member
Post #: 109
Wild evening primrose does not look much like the "tame" variety. I had both in BBH and I can't remember seeing beetles on the tame one. There was one spiky weed that they did love, but I'll be darned if I can remember what it was. At any rate, I think it would have been easier to collect the beetles from the grapes and rugosa roses (their favorites) with the method David mentioned. I had a one gallon milk jug with the top cut off (saving the handle) with some water in the bottom which I would shake them into--till I just gave up and put up with them.
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 130
Our good friend and owner of Nelsen and Nelson Landscaping included us in an email sharing information on -- "Plants that repel Japanese beetles:"

Rue (may cause skin irritation in some individuals)
Kelp (as foliar spray)

White scented pelargonium (annual geraniums)
Larkspur (attracts and then kills)
White flowering chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum coccineum)
Four-o'clocks (Mirabilis)

from Melda Page, garden committee, Granite Hill

Gorham, ME
Post #: 138

I have Tansy both winter sown and started from seed, grown as companion plants for my fruit trees coming as well as my raspberries and, perhaps the blueberries. I read that the Jap Beetles didn't bother them, but didn't catch that they are repelled by it. Perhaps I'll start a few more Tansy plants for the grapes, etal.

My Rue hasn't done much..only 1 sprout in my entire winter sown container and no more seeds...sigh

I purchased more garlic starter flowers for just the purpose of companion planting/repelling jap beetles.

I keep on forgetting to start my Four Oclock and larkspur seeds...sigh.

My winter sown chives and bunching onions are doing fine... I haven't found the geranium yet or the white mums.

Hopefully these plants work to at least limit the jap beetles this year!!!

I got my basic plant listing off the ghorganics companion planting site. Nice to know other people concur with ghorganics!

user 6954726
Sullivan, ME
Post #: 10
zengeos, i want to mention that you may not want to start too many tansy plants.... it is a very vigorous plant that will spread and sucker, before you know it you will be able to divide your original plants (if they haven't already travelled about). we have some tansy here that is becoming a bit of a problem bc it's too vigorous in the flower beds. and grows anywhere, sun, shade, really acid soil. just an FYI. :) (but maybe you already know this!)
A former member
Post #: 112
Both tansy and four o'clocks grow in my row of grapes and they don't repel beetles.

I'd agree that tansy can be invasive and I think it is best put "in the ditch" if you have one. Furthermore, I find that in the flower garden it needs to be staked or it ends up on the ground. But it's a great plant.
Gorham, ME
Post #: 141
I have around a dozen plants started. 1 for each fruit tree, 3 or 4 for the raspberry row and a few others for good measure. Two types...Purple Tansy and a generic unknown variety.

Now, Rue is bothering me. Why only 1 seedling in my jug? I should have more than that!!!
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