Here’s a quick list of some of plants that are revered for their insect-repelling properties.
Not only is lavender beautiful and fragrant, but it is known to repel mosquitoes, fleas, flies, and moths.
While we all love the smell of basil, mosquitoes, moths, and flies are not fans. Use basil to repel flies and moths in your garden, and crush leaves and rub on your skin while your working in the garden to keep mosquitos off you!
This plant comes in many varieties, and it makes a wonderful ground cover for dry, rocky areas. Thyme will also help keep mosquitoes away from your gardens.
Mint is another mosquito repellent, but one that you should use with care because it spreads aggressively and may take over a planting. Plant it in pots and place it near doorways.
This beautiful grassy plant is packed with citronella, which is one of the best-known alternatives to synthetic repellents like DEET. Crush the leaves and rub on the skin (test a small area first). Will they simply repel bugs on their own?
This member of the onion family is known for tall spikes that produce gigantic balls of purple flowers (although there are also smaller varieties). Alliums are one of the best defenses against a variety of pests, including cabbage worms, aphids, carrot flies, and slugs, as they dislike the smell.
Use these flowers as a border planting around your home to keep out bedbugs, fleas, lice, roaches, ants, and more. These plants contain naturally-occurring pyrethrin, an insecticide. They repel ticks, spider mites, Japanese beetles, and other garden pests. Try making this DIY pest spray!
Known for their many colors and a profusion of flowers, petunias help repel leafhoppers, squash bugs, tomato hornworms, and aphids—simply plant near brassicas (cruciferous veggies), beans, basil, tomatoes, grapes, corn, and peppers. Roses also do well when this natural insect deterrent is planted nearby.
The marigold is one of the most well-known insect-repelling plants and with good reason — they have a scent that will keep pests like mosquitoes, nematodes like cabbage worms, and other pests away. Plant marigolds to attract beneficial insects that attack and kill aphids. Ladybugs are especially fond of aphids.
10. Mosquito Plant
Mosquito Plant (citrosa geraniums or Pelargonium citrosum) is an attractive tropical plant with lacy green foliage and beautiful flowers and a member of the geranium family. It is prized for its citrus aroma that comes from the oils in the foliage. They’re certainly beautiful plants to grow in the backyard, but if you’re planting them because of the promise of fewer bugs flying around your yard, you’ll have to crush the leaves to obtain any bug-repelling properties. Unfortunately, the effects are not very long-lasting—only for about 30 minutes.
Pest-repelling plants can be both fragrant and beautiful. Try planting a few of these in your garden to keep the bug population in check.
Be sure to check out Farmers’ Almanac’s Gardening By the Moon calendar to pick the best days to plant!
Amber Kanuckel is a freelance writer from rural Ohio who loves all things outdoors. She specializes in home, garden, environmental, and green living topics.