Building your own dragonfly water garden can be easy and fun. A dragonfly watergarden can be any size from as small as a backyard garden with a barrel for the pond to as large as a 20 foot diameter pond in the middle of the Big Apple.
Food, water, shelter and sun are the main components of any successful dragonfly water garden. The key is to always go for beauty and balance.
- Dragonfly Food: Strictly carnivores, dragonflies will eat insects, larvae, tadpoles and even small fish while still nymphs, especially mosquito eggs (one of their favorites). Adult dragonflies on the other hand, can eat some 50 mosquitoes in a day while flying around.
- Dragonfly Water: Balance, dragonflies demand that the water be healthy and breathable for them, as they need oxygen to breath. Dragonflies spend most of their lives in water as nymphs and it is breathing in water that pushes them forward, while exhaling out the back propels them even faster in that same direction.
- Dragonfly Shelter: Plants do the job of providing shelter from curious predators outside the pond such as cats and children. Meanwhile, aquatic plants need to have a certain environment to survive readily and in abundance as well, providing perches for mating adults and incubatorsfor dragonfly eggs and maintain the delicate balance of a dragonfly water garden. Plants are used, as incubators by some of the prehistoric species of dragonflies that are endangered, yet still exist. Modern species of dragonflies can lay eggs directly in the water, making their probabilities of survival much better.
- Dragonfly Sun: The sun is the basis of all life on earth. To dragonflies, the sun means life, energy and survival of their habitat. The sun is life to plants being used as a shelter such as any of the many species of waterlillies that provide shade and impede the super-population of algae through heavy shade. Plants are incubators and landing pads for mating dragonflies, as well as life to the adult dragonflies whom without the suns heat would not be able to fly or hunt. For the purpose charging their batteries to hunt, a nice white flat rock does a great deal for Dragonflies charging their solar cells.
The well-kept dragonfly water garden is a natural mosquito trap as dragonflies are carnivores and rely on smaller insects such as mosquitoes for food.
In nature, open ponds and watersheds all have something in common; balance. A well-balanced dragonfly water garden is rich in gas exchanges between plants and nymphs as well as other inhabitants that might dwell in the pond such as frogs or smaller fish.
Larger fish can prey on nymphs and larvae, therefore, being undesirable in a dragonfly pond, unless they are substantially smaller than the nymphs themselves, in which case they are an ideal food source for the dragonfly.
To get a good balance in nature, a pond usually has a constant intake from the mountains or regular water runoff, from some large rainwater catchments system like a giant field and a major water outlet, like a stream going toward the ocean.
Too much movement is a river and too little is still water, neither ideal for a natural dragonfly habitat, the main reason for healthy water is because, still water pollutes too easily and too much algae will steal all the oxygen in the pond, suffocating the nymphs.
Dragonflies need clean and unpolluted water for their habitats. The pond itself is more of a breeding ground for the adult dragonflies rather than a hunting ground and more of a living space for young nymphs, who have not yet moulted to receive their adult wings and are still aquatic.
Creating the ideal conditions for a dragonfly friendly water garden is actually rather simple.
Make sure the water has a balance of midday sunlight in most spots and a good dose of shade, such as water lilies, to inhibit algae growth. The ideal ratio has been said to be around 70% direct sunlight and 30 percent covered with natural shading like the water lilies.
One of the best places for a dragonfly water gardenis wherever there is a lot of food available for them. Both for the ongoing survival of the dragonfly adults as well as for their nymphs and larvae, water gardens that follow the basic precepts to careful dragonfly habitat creation, should see rewards within the year.
Surrounded by the local breeds of garden plants and insects, especially untouched local vegetations of the region.
Just laying down a hole in the ground on a slope or near a rainwater runoff, just might be one of the best solutions as long as there is still enough attention paid for the hows and whys of pond building.
Fish and bug zappers are both natural predators of dragonflies and nymphs so it is natural that you avoid putting fish in your dragonfly water garden, or zappers nearby.
Deep water plants, semi aquatic and submersed aquatic plants are all welcome to compete with algae for oxygen and nutrients it is all about a sustainable balance that is your freshwater water garden.
Just remember, to dig deep in the center, toss in a pond liner that doesnt leak, lots of plants to hide in and your local dragonflies will find it
A well balanced dragonfly water garden you will surly include food (prey), water (living stage as nymphs, shelter (aquatic plants) and sunlight to recharge their solar batteries in a way that makes you feel good about yourself and those around you.