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23 Plants That Repel Garden Pests

An endless struggle within the realm of gardening is keeping away bugs and insects that want to harm your crops. However, an easy way to naturally deter them is by planting the right herbs, flowers, and plants that repel pests.

Many of those that will be discussed below are also great additions to your patio and outdoor furniture.

These pest repelling plants naturally help to keep off ants, mosquitoes, and other insects when you’re outside enjoying the weather [1].

Below is a list of plants that repel bugs from your garden and home.

1. Basil

Basil is among the pest deterrent plants that keep away mosquitoes and your standard house-fly. It also works well at controlling thrips, gnats, and aphids.

Another perk is that it grows easily in a pot on a windowsill, so you can have some in your kitchen as well as in your garden to keep you protected both inside and out.

Basil is easily incorporated in many recipes, so you’ll never run out of ways to use your basil once you start growing it.

Purchase basil seeds online.

2. Lavender

Not only is it a gorgeous flower, but using lavender can keep insects and rodents away. Particularly flies, fleas, mosquitoes, no see ums, caterpillars, moths, and mice.

Besides adding some color to your garden or windowsill, lavender also adds a sweet and relaxing fragrance to the home or garden.

In addition to growing it in your garden or a pot, you can also tie small bundles of the herb over doorways and near windows to keep insects out of the house.

Order lavender seeds online.

3. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a key ingredient in many mosquito-repelling candles and oils [2].

This ornamental grass grows as an annual in most locations, but it will be nice and tall and potent during peak mosquito season.

Purchase lemongrass seeds online.

4. Mint

Mint is a great mosquito repellant herb as well as a tasty addition to many dishes.

However, it tends to grow aggressively, taking over any garden bed it may be planted in or near.

The best bet is to plant it in a container. Not only will this contain the herb where you want it, but it will also make it easier to move it to a different location (such as atop your patio table) as needed.

Purchase mint seeds online.

5. Rosemary

If your veggies are being endlessly harassed by bugs, you may want to plant some rosemary nearby.

Rosemary grows well in-ground or in a container, and is also a good choice for most ornamental landscaping.

As it grows it will hold off most pests, but you can also use the herb to make a natural repellent spray.

Simply add some dried rosemary to boiling water for half an hour, then strain into a container that contains just as much cool water.

Finally, store the mixture in the fridge in a spray bottle and use it when needed.

Purchase rosemary seeds online.

6. Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are great at keeping away flies that might otherwise lay their eggs in your garden. They also repel earwig insects.

Another bonus is that bay leaves are a savory addition to many soups, stews, and pasta.

7. Dill

Among the herbs that repel bugs, dill is an excellent pick. It is very successful against garden insects such as aphids, spider mites, cabbage loopers, tomato hornworms, and squash bugs.

Add dill to your garden in the vicinity of the vulnerable crops.

Order the seeds online.

8. Petunias

Another common garden flower, petunias are just as productive as they are pretty. These easy-growers are great at protecting your garden from aphids.

Companion planting with petunias also helps rid your garden of squash bugs, tomato hornworms, asparagus beetles, and leafhoppers.

You can find them in almost any color you prefer, and they tend to grow very easily, whether in-ground or in a container.

9. Fennel

If you have a problem with slugs and snails attacking your garden, fennel should be planted in or around your garden. The plant also repels aphids.

Purchase fennel seeds online.

10. Thyme

This herb discourages whiteflies, ants, maggots, stink bugs, corn earworms, cabbage loopers, and tomato hornworms.

Moreover, it isn’t extremely aggressive (like mint) so can easily be incorporated throughout your garden to protect your cabbages and tomatoes.

Buy thyme seeds online.

11. Alliums

Plants belonging to the Allium family are great for driving away slugs, flies, aphids, and cabbage worms. Examples of these pest and bug repellent plants include chives, leeks, and shallots.

Find the one that’s right for you and your garden, and plant it close to anything from peppers to broccoli to carrots to keep them safe from pests.

12. Chrysanthemums

These are excellent flowers to plant in your vegetable garden to control nematodes, spider mites, harlequin bugs, Japanese beetles, and even lice and fleas.

Chrysanthemums contain organic compounds called pyrethrins, which contain strong insecticidal properties.

Besides, these flowers add a nice pop of color anywhere you want to plant them in your yard to protect your garden from unwanted pests.

Purchase Chrysanthemum seeds online.

13. Marigolds

These flowers give off a scent that keeps away gnats, mosquitoes, aphids, and sometimes even rabbits!

Marigolds make for a beautiful border around your garden. Besides, they are plants that are natural pesticides, providing even greater benefits.

Purchase marigold seeds online.

14. Nasturtiums

If your garden seems to be loved by squash bugs, beetles, or whiteflies, you’ll definitely want to companion-plant some nasturtiums.

Nasturtiums release a scent in the air that naturally keeps off many insects without harming any other plants or even the beloved bee.

Purchase nasturtium seeds online.

15. Onions

Although they’re mostly known for turning off your date, onions are also great for getting rid of certain harmful insects.

Now, they’re not a total bug deterrent like some of the other plants, but they are great at deterring cucumber beetles and even carrot maggot flies.

Some farmers also plant onions near their tomatoes and kale to help keep aphids at bay.

16. Calamint

Yet another mint family member, calamint is great for keeping at bay cabbage worms and cabbage loopers, as well as moth larvae.

This mint cousin, however, spreads very easily like mint itself, so be careful where you plant it.

17. Garlic

Garlic protects your blueberries, roses, and raspberries from Japanese beetles, as well as from aphids on your lettuce.

It may also repel stink bugs, spider mites, ants, earwigs, and caterpillars. As a result, it’s a great companion to any plant that might be susceptible to those pests.

18. Catnip

A member of the mint family, catnip doesn’t proliferate quite as much as mint does, so you’re safe to plant it directly in your garden.

It protects eggplants, radishes, and other plants that are susceptible to flea beetles and potato bugs.

Buy catnip seeds online.

19. Tansy

Many gardeners will plant tansy near their roses to keep away Japanese beetles and cucumber beetles.

It’s believed that it gives off a scent that confuses the pests, making it difficult for them to find the rose bushes and make their homes there.

Purchase tansy seeds online.

20. Borage

This herb works best on garden pests such as hornworms and cabbage worms.

It also makes a nice-looking addition to your garden and will support your local honey bee population.

Purchase borage seeds online.

21. Castor Oil Plant

This should first be prefaced by the warning that castor should be grown with caution — it can be poisonous to humans and animals if ingested.

That being said, if you plant it with care and only where appropriate, it is excellent at getting rid of moles and voles. 

22. Tomatoes

That’s right, planting tomatoes can help protect other plants in your garden.

However, be sure to plant at least one companion plant nearby that will, in turn, protect your tomatoes from pests.

In particular, they will keep your asparagus free from pests as the scent of the plant gets rid of asparagus beetles.

Since many gardeners plan to have tomatoes anyway, it’s helpful to know that they can perform a double-duty.

Find a variety of high-quality tomato seeds online.

23. Citronella Plant

Mosquitoes hate the smell of the citronella plant. It is a member of the geranium family and resembles spiky ferns.

Simply planting it in your garden is not enough to drive them away; however, crushing or touching the leaves will release its oils.

The scent from the oil is what they hate, preventing them from coming near.


This is an extensive list of natural insect repellent plants to consider growing.

These are quite easy to cultivate. If you take the time and plan it correctly, you can have the best companions near each of your plants, dispelling harmful insects and protecting the health of your garden.

Sasha Brown

Blogger and lover of all things natural.

1 comment

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