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10 Plants That Are Known To Keep The Bugs Away

Check out this useful list of insect-repelling plants and enjoy a bug-free backyard!

Here’s a quick list of some of plants that are revered for their insect-repelling properties.

1. Lavender

Perfume - Lavender herbs growing
Lavender

Not only is lavender beautiful and fragrant, but it is known to repel mosquitoes, fleas, flies, and moths.

2. Basil

green and purple Basil - herbs

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!

3. Thyme

Herb - fresh Thyme

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.

4. Mint

Essential oil - Oil
Mint

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.

5. Lemongrass

Cymbopogon flexuosus - Perennial plant

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?

6. Alliums

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.

7. Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemum - Flower

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!

8. Petunias

Group of bright pink petunias.
Petunia

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.

9. Marigolds

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 - Garden Insect repellent

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. Her article on woolly worm caterpillar folklore appears in the 2020 Farmers' Almanac.

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Camilla Smith

What plants and designs can I use around my small garden pond

Ashley W

How do I get rid of black flies. There are terrible biters. My kids love playing in the yard. They get bit. Anyone know how to help reduce that?

Pam

This won’t work for the whole yard, but put water in a gallon size zip-lock bag. The reflection hurts their eyes. Also you can place some honey or sugar on a plate at the far end of your yard, this will keep them from the patio or perhaps where your kids play area.

Rhonda Foster

I also heard that it helps to place a penny in the bag of water. Haven’t tried it yet but I need to give it a shot. I have flies bad around my pool. 🙁

Bridget Bedard

This site is wrong about petunias. Asiatic beetles come out at night and devour the blossoms!

Kyah Vaughn

I have aphids ON my marigolds…so clearly they don’t repel them.

Alana

They don’t repel them. Aphids actually prefer them over veggies. That’s why they’re planted together, kinda like a sacrificial flower to save your crops.

skw1rl

I’ve heard that echinacea repels deer from the garden.

Harriett

I learned this from my Uncle who was a farmer for 60+ years and it works. When planting tomatoes plant the tomato then a hot pepper plant then another tomato plant then another hot pepper plant and so forth. The tomatoes do not turn hot and the bugs stay away including squirrels who like to taste peppers When they find out how hot it is they will turn and go and will not come back

tammy

I have a hibiscus with aphids I tried bug be gone and hand soap mixed with water, but nothing works I am thinking it’s the plant that has no defense mechanism or the aphids have become immune. Should I give up and forget about the plant or can I spend more time making sure every square inch is treated everyday till they are gone?

Sarah

Bonide All seasons Horticultural oil. This stuff is like my cure all:)

Pam

Where do you find it? Is it expensive?

Kurtis Bradley

just about anywhere Amazon walmart Lowes

Doreen Hahn

It has been my experience that marigolds keep squirrels away. Where I live now, my neighbor has a planter outside. There’s a rabbit that keeps digging back where the dahlias and the phlox are. At the other end of the planter she has planted marigolds and dahlias. There’s lots of room there for digging, but that end of the planter hasn’t been bothered. They seem to keep the insects away, too.

Alice Cowart

On the matter of ANTS! My Dad used instant grits forever. To this day I still use it. Just remember do not use if it’s going to rain or when watering as it will expand and loose it’s effectiveness. I saw where someone used cornmeal and that should work the same. But, I will also try the cinnamon.

Pam

Or Red Pepper flakes!

David

Need help with stink bugs on tomatoes. Used marigolds and mint now.

Nailah Baderinwa

Greetings! I’m also from Ohio (NW) and was interested in seeing if there any plants I didn’t know about (as far as natural pesticides), and saw a few that would neutralize insects on tomato plants I didn’t know about. THANKS!!!

Starchynne

Something is eating my ripe strawberries. Some kind of bug because most are eaten from the underside. The plants themselves are fine. I have marigolds planted but not with the strawberries. Maybe should have planted them closer?

Alice Cowart

Borage was used when first coming to the Americas.

Virgil Turner

You probably have slugs eating the strawberries, so take crushed eggshells and diatomaceous earth and spread on the ground around the strawberries. That should do it.

Judie

Thank you for letting me know how to get rid of earwigs I have them bad on my patio out front . I’m going to give that a try thanks again .

Kit Loft

I don’t have problems with any critters, because I have raised garden beds, so I can ride right up to it and pick my lovely garden. But I do have marigolds around my garden and have sagebrushes around. Don’t have to use any chemicals at all. My garden is totally organic. Hope this might spark someone to raise their garden, if for no other reason it is less back breaking to have it that way. Good luck!

Abay

Can you please post a pic of your raised garden?

BARBARA Z

For earwigs (also deters other insects): I make a solution of cedar oil, water and a dash of dishsoap.
I spray all the window sashes and possible entryways (especially around ac units) with the solution.
I probably use a 1 tsp – 1 tbsp / quart of water.

christina prewitt

You need ladybugs and lacewings. You can encourage ladybugs to come by purchasing ladybug food, and possibly even ladybugs themselves. Ladybugs do not hurt plants, but eat aphids.

GG*

Where can ladybugs/lacewings be obtained? Do they die in the winter or last through?

Rose Gingery

Could you please provide a list on deer adverse plants? They love whatever I plant.

Melissa

Springhill Nursery provides a list of Deer and rabbit resistant plants on their website. You don’t have to purchase them but you can get a good list of what plants deer and rabbits wont eat. https://www.springhillnursery.com/category/deer_resistant_plants

Susan Higgins

Melissa and Rose Gingery, Farmers’ Almanac also has a list of deer-resistant plants. Take a look here.

Michele

How about earwigs? I’m having an awful time with them this year.

Amber Kanuckel

Robert: I’ve had stinkbugs in the tomatoes before, too. And Japanese beetles, argh! There is a bunch of stuff that will repel both, but since I don’t want to crowd out the tomatoes with big, bushy herbs, I usually just plant lots of garlic (about a foot apart for each clove) and a few marigolds around them. Seems to work for me!

Amber Kanuckel

Chrysanthemums should repel ants, and chives will keep rabbits out as one poster mentioned, and they’ll also chase off Japanese beetles.

To the poster asking about spiders, that’s a tough one. There aren’t a lot of plants that will repel them. I’d say to get rid of them, you’d want to get rid of the bugs that they’re eating. At my house, they can get bad on our breezeway — like you said, all over everything. My solution is to keep lights off at night (keeps away moths and such) and to use plants that repel flies, mosquitoes and whatever else that is commonly buzzing around.

Lorayne Stelling

How do I get rid of spiders. They are all over my screened in patio. I have tried numerous sprays to no avail. There are single strand nests as well as cobwebs.
They are on the screen, furniture, plants etc.
Do you have any suggestions to get rid of them so we can enjoy our patio.
Thank you
Lorayne

Amy Long

I’ve heard that spiders do not like peppermint oil or vinegar. Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 1/2 cups water, and about 20 drops of peppermint oil in a spray bottle and spray around windows and doors. I haven’t tried this myself but I’ve heard it works.

Margaret Rushing

We have lots and lots of ants (maybe harvester ants?) in our garden, do you have any suggestions as to how we can get rid of them?

Robert Strickland

The stink bugs are ravaging my tomatoes. I do not want to use pesticides. I want to stay organic. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Robert

Brenda Frahm

Chives will keep rabbits out of your flower gardens. Plant small clumps throughout your flowers, and rabbits won’t eat them (the flowers).

Christie W

Basil, peppers are being ravaged this year. Very little not being eaten. Zinnia flowers shoots gone. Nasturtium seeds and cukes not showing. Whew. What a year! Heirloom Tom’s flawless. Go figure. Now I appreciate a good winter! I’ve never had problems with bugs I couldn’t manage with good amended soil. Can’t even find soil amending this yr!

Linda

Ants don’t like dry tea–so I’ve heard. I have only tried it once, but the ants did not come back. Save used tea bags and dry them. Then sprinkle dry tea in a shallow container and place in the area where needed. Simple, but certainly worth a try.

christina prewitt

I normally give my tea leaves to my worms, but I will try this!

mary

what about a pet-friendly (cats/dogs) repellant for ants. I’ve tried Cream of Tartar, I’ve tried baby powder, I’ve tried Bay leaves, I’ve tried dish soap and they keep coming. Doesn’t help with all this rain we have been having since May….

christina prewitt

You could try nematodes

Doreen Kryski

For ants a pet and child friendly repellent is cornmeal. Sprinkle cornmeal in the areas you have ants around your house. They stay away.N of sure how it works but it does.

Robert Davis. Jr.

Sprinkle cheap cinnamon all over the areas that are troubled by ants. The cent of it interferes with the ant’s ability to communicate, and they will leave the area. Works on wood piles ect…. Might be able to use cinnamon oil to spray an area, but I’ve never used that method myself. To kill them mix sugar and 20 mule team borax at a ratio of not more than 30/70. Mix this in water to combine them and boil the mix to reduce it to just shy of a slury. Then pour the mix into an aluminum pie pan and let stand in the sun until it form a hard cake. Break up into small pieces and place were ants and roaches ect. will be able to find it. They will take it to the nest and feed to the Queen and each other. Please place so that bees or anything bennifical will not take it. Baby food jars with holes poked in the lid will allow ants access and deny it to other creatures.

Lyn Aldridge

What about scorpions ???

christina prewitt

You need chickens 😉 lol
Seriously though, I wish I knew otherwise. We have only seen a handful, thankfully, thanks to our birds. Be sure you are keeping wood away from your house. They love hanging out under wood.

Robert Davis. Jr.

Lavender. Arrickneds hate lavender. Oil of lavender on a duster used to remove spider webs from ceiling corners and walls will cause the nastys to flee.

Hauns

I have some of these herbs in my garden but have never really noticed the lack of certain bugs. Will surely pay attention now.

Becki

Southernwood might be something else to look at.

Becki

My mother and grandmother always used zinnias to keep away rabbits from their gardens. I have also been successful with zinnias in my gardens over the years. However, I do research to find other ways of doing things. Marigolds have been useful. I also use herbs in my gardens every year for many different things. Nothing is a be-all to end-all. Find what works best for you. Research, and try new things.

Dean B

I have heard for years that marigolds keep rabbits out of a garden. So a year ago I planted a 4×4 plot solid with marigolds. They came up dense and beautiful. I got busy and did not transplant them as planned. In the fall I went to collect the seed heads and discovered that a rabbit had a nest right in the middle of the marigold patch. So much for that advice.

christina prewitt

Lol that is too funny.
I have zinnias, marigolds, and chives randomly around my garden, and the wild rabbits still feasted on my bellpeppers. There seems to be a whole lot more rabbits this year than last. Possibly because of the rain?

Carian

I planted marigolds all around the perimeter of my garden to stop the bunnies from eating my vegetable plants. They ate the marigolds!

RobertAbdo

Thanks for this new information. I have marigold in my garden. Hope it works.

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