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18 Plants That Repel Flies

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18 Plants That Repel Flies

Nothing kills an outdoor picnic or barbecue vibe quite like annoying flies. However, there are natural ways to repel them by using certain plants.

You may be surprised to find that some of the plants that can help keep flies away are probably already growing in your yard. Things like lavender, basil, catnip, and rosemary contain natural oils that flies and other insects find unpleasant and will avoid.

Simply planting these fragrant herbs around outdoor gathering spaces can create a natural barrier for many insect pests. Read on to discover some of the best plants that will have you saying “shoo fly” without the harsh chemicals.

1. Basil

Basil is a natural fly-repellent plant. The strong scent of basil leaves deters flies and other pests. Place a few basil plants around outdoor gathering areas or near entryways to your home.

As you brush by the plant, the essential oils are released, creating a pleasant aroma that repels flies and mosquitoes.

For the best results, choose a basil variety with an intense scent, such as sweet basil or lemon basil.

2. Garlic

Garlic is one of the most potent fly-repelling plants. Its strong smell deters flies, keeping them away.

Plant garlic cloves in your garden or in containers. You can also make a garlic spray by blending a few cloves of garlic with water and some other ingredients.

The aroma of garlic will permeate the area, sending those pesky flies packing.

3. Catnip

Growing catnip around your patio or yard will also help create a protective barrier against flies and mosquitoes.

Place several catnip plants around the perimeter of your outdoor space. The aromatic oil in catnip, called nepetalactone [1], repels insects like flies.

For the strongest repellent effect, regularly rub the leaves to release their essential oils.

4. Carnivorous Plants

Carnivorous plants like Venus flytraps and pitcher plants can also help reduce annoying fly populations in your home and yard. Their modified leaves trap insects as food for the plant.

These fascinating plants lure flies into their jaw-like leaf traps. Once an insect lands on the trigger hairs inside, the trap snaps shut.

Digestive enzymes then break down the insect, providing nutrients to the plant. Using carnivorous plants is an eco-friendly way to control flies in a natural and sustainable manner.

5. Eucalyptus

The aromatic leaves of the eucalyptus plant naturally keep flies and other insects at bay.

Therefore, place a few eucalyptus branches in vases around entryways to your home or in areas where flies tend to congregate. The strong fragrance will deter flies from entering the space.

You can also crush the leaves to release the essential oils and rub them on your skin for protection from lice, mosquitoes, and other insects when spending time outdoors.

6. Tansy

The tansy plant, with its fern-like leaves and yellow button flowers, may also repel flies in your garden. The common tansy contains compounds that flies hate.

It will also keep away ticks, moths, ants, and more. Therefore, place pots of tansy around outdoor gathering areas, entryways, or near compost bins where flies congregate.

7. Lavender

The pleasant aroma of lavender isn’t just appealing to humans; it also deters many insects, including black flies. Therefore, plant lavender bushes around outdoor gathering areas, entryways, or near compost bins.

Lavender’s fragrant essential oils have natural insecticidal properties that flies dislike and avoid.

8. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a perennial herb with a strong lemon-mint scent. It repels gnats, flies, mosquitoes, and other biting insects.

Its dense foliage and potent fragrance create an unpleasant environment for these insects, encouraging them to move along.

You can also crush a few of the fragrant leaves in your hands and rub them on your skin for a natural insect repellent.

9. Bay Laurel

The bay laurel bush is another fly-deterrent plant. It produces leaves that contain chemicals with insect-repelling properties.

Crush a few bay leaves in your hand to release their aromatic essential oils. Flies and bugs will steer clear of the area.

10. Chrysanthemums

Some chrysanthemum flowers release a natural insecticide called pyrethrin that repels insects, including flies.

Plant chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium) around entryways to your home or in your garden to create a natural fly barrier. The flowers also make a lovely addition to any yard or patio.

11. Marigolds

With their pungent odor and dense foliage, marigolds act as a natural barrier against flies and other pests seeking entry into your yard or garden.

Therefore, plant clumps of marigolds around the perimeter of gathering areas. You can also plant them near doorways leading into your home and anywhere else flies tend to congregate.

The strong smell will drive flies away to find another location more suitable to their needs.

12. Mint

Place potted mint plants around the patio or deck areas where you entertain. The aroma will discourage flies from buzzing around you and your guests.

You can also crush a few mint leaves in your hands and rub them on your skin for a natural insect repellent.

13. Pennyroyal

The strong minty aroma of pennyroyal will also deter flies and other insects.

You can also make pennyroyal spray to use in your room for protection from insects. However, pennyroyal essential oil and extracts can be highly toxic, even to cats and dogs, so use them with caution and properly dilute them.

14. Rosemary

Rosemary’s strong, woodsy fragrance discourages flies and can be used in several ways. You can grow the plants around outdoor living areas and entryways.

You can also make a rosemary essential oil spray. Add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to water in a spray bottle. Mist it around doorways and windowsills.

The fragrance will make your home cozy and inviting for you, but not for flies. Moreover, this herb is pet-safe.

15. Sage

The aromatic oils in sage also act as a natural insecticide and repellent.

Therefore, plant sage around outdoor living areas, in your garden, or near entryways to your home. The scent will keep flies and other bugs out of the area.

For the strongest repelling power, plant several sage plants together. Their combined fragrance will have the greatest impact.

16. Wormwood

The bitter herb wormwood contains compounds that can keep flies and other insects at bay. Growing wormwood near outdoor gathering areas, in your garden, or around your yard may help create a barrier against flies.

17. Lemongrass

Does lemongrass repel flies? Yes, flies hate it!

Lemongrass is a tropical grass with a refreshing lemon-like aroma that naturally keeps away flies and other insects. Its oil contains citral and geraniol oils that flies do not like.

You can plant lemongrass in your garden or in flower pots to bring indoors. It grows best in full sun but can tolerate some shade.

Place the flower pots around entryways to your home or in areas where flies congregate. The lemony fragrance will waft through the air, deterring flies.

Lemongrass essential oil can also be diluted in water in a spray bottle and spritzed around the house.

18. Citronella

Citronella is high on the list of common insect repellent plants. Its sharp, lemony scent repels flies and other insects. To use citronella, plant citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus) in your yard.

The tall grass blades contain citronellal [2], the essential oil that gives citronella its distinctive smell. You can also crush citronella leaves to release their essential oils and rub them on your skin.

Citronella oil or citronella candles containing citronellal provide a chemical-free way to repel flies from patios and decks. The oil can also be used to make homemade fly spray by mixing a few drops with water in a spray bottle.


These are more than a handful of plants that can help repel those pesky flies from buzzing around your home.

Place a few potted plants around doorways or near open windows, and you’ll be enjoying your backyard BBQ or porch hangouts in peace. A little gardening goes a long way when it comes to outsmarting those annoying flies.

Picture via commons.wikimedia.org

Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown is a blogger and lover of all things natural.

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