Let caterpillars nibble your leaves to create a healthier garden, advise the RHS – HouseBeautiful.com

Letting caterpillars feast on leaves can help to create a healthier ecosystem in your garden, says the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS).

Despite being considered as minor pests who nibble prized plants and veg, the gardening charity explained in their latest Gardening With The RHS podcast that 'tolerating a few nibbled leaves' can help attract wildlife in your garden and 'reduce the need for human intervention'.

Andrew Salisbury, the RHS' chief entomologist, said: 'Moths and butterflies do have caterpillars that feed on garden plants so you need to tolerate a few nibbled plants to have a healthy ecosystem in your garden.'

While many of us have spent years searching for ways to deter the eating machines from our favourite flowers, they may actually be good for our garden after all.

In the podcast, Andrew explained that he had been watching the caterpillars enjoy his nasturtiums before the bees came to take them away. 'In the course of three hours I watched wasps come in, search, find a caterpillar, fly off, and feed their babies in their nest,' he said.

Katharine VogellGetty Images

'I watched every caterpillar get taken, so if you encourage the grubs you encourage the predators that eat them. It's important to put up with some nibbled cabbages to have a healthy ecosystem in your garden.'

Also in the podcast, Andrew said we should avoid having a garden that's too tidy, and to accept a bit of damage to get a healthy, balanced eco-system. Time to let caterpillars enjoy your garden...

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Let caterpillars nibble your leaves to create a healthier garden, advise the RHS - HouseBeautiful.com

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