Using Plants as Natural ‘Pest’ Repellants

As summer creeps up upon us, many of us are squeezing in our first (of many) cookouts, patio parties, camping trips, and gardening chores. We’re also noticing the arrival of some uninvited guests; mosquitoes, flies and moths, to name just a few. Most of these ‘pests’ are simply annoying, but others can pose more serious threats.

Of course, the presence of insects is not only natural; it’s an essential aspect of a healthy garden. The challenge comes in managing the ‘pests’ – those biting, veggie-decimating, marching-inside-the-house sorts of pests – while doing no harm to the microcosmic health of our garden, or to ourselves, our families, pets and wildlife, and the environment as a whole.

The following are examples of plants that can help repel, or at least deter, some common pests. 

Plants that help repel mosquitoes:

  • Agastache cana (a.k.a. Mosquito Plant)
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Scented geraniums
  • Beebalm
  • Mint
  • Marigolds

Plants that help deter ticks:

  • Lavender
  • Garlic
  • Pennyroyal
  • Pyrethrum (type of chrysanthemum)
  • Sage
  • Eucalyptus
  • Mint

Other pest-deterring plants:

  • Rue – especially good at deterring flies, Japanese beetles, slugs, fleas, and cats
  • Wormwood  – deters a variety of insects including ticks, flies and moths
  • Mint – deters beetles, fleas, moths, mice, ants
  • Rosemary – in addition to mosquitoes, it also deters cabbage moths and carrot flies

As is always the case when making plant selections, it’s important to understand the plant’s benefits and possible hazards.

Summer is a great time to be thinking about what pest-repelling plants would work well in your landscape, especially near your outdoor living areas.


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