Many flowers and herbs release sweet scents that humans enjoy, but bugs and other pests find unbearable, making them the perfect natural pest repellents.
From flies and mosquitoes to ants, bees and mice, there’s a plant to handle whichever type of pest your yard attracts most. In this article, we’ll cover which pest-repelling plants are best for your garden, along with how you can grow them and make the most of their natural pest-deterring properties. Keep reading to find out more about plants that repel rats, bugs and other pests, from flowers and herbs to carnivorous plants.
Flowers That Deter Bugs and Mice
Who said plants that repel pests can’t be pretty? There are lots of beautiful flowers that also serve as natural pesticides, allowing you to simultaneously add aesthetic value to your home while banishing bugs and mice. Many of these plants emit scents that pests can’t stand, but humans don’t mind, or even find appealing.
Here are our five favorite flower plants that repel mice and bugs to keep your yard pest-free:
When it comes to perennial plants that repel mosquitoes, it’s hard to find a better flower than petunias. Sometimes referred to as nature’s pesticide, petunias have a licorice-like smell that repels insects from aphids to hornworms. Plant these vibrant plants in a sunny place and enjoy their bright colors and pest repellence in exchange for minimal maintenance.
Marigolds rank as one of the best plants that attract butterflies, but not bees. In addition to being wonderfully colorful and appealing to butterflies, marigolds have a natural compound found in many insect repellents. The distinct scent of marigolds also repels mosquitoes and other backyard pests like rats, tomato worms and squash bugs. When planted in your garden, marigolds can deter mosquitoes and other insects from buzzing around your summer crops.
Also known as “mums,” chrysanthemums ward off many insects, such as Japanese beetles, fleas, bedbugs, ants, cockroaches and more, thanks to their organically occurring compound called pyrethrins, which is a common ingredient in natural pesticides.
The flower petals of chrysanthemums drive away pests, so clear away dead blossoms and leaves to make your mums as potent as possible. Keep chrysanthemums in a spot that’s sunny, but not so bright that they stop flowering.
They don’t call Pelargonium citrosum, a specific type of geranium, the “mosquito-repellent plant” for nothing. The lemony fragrance produced by the flowers of geraniums is highly effective at driving off leafhoppers and other insects, such as bees. Best of all, geraniums grow quickly and thrive in sunny, dry climates, so you can plant them in your vegetable garden or flower beds.
If mice are your most prominent pests, consider planting some daffodils to keep them at bay. Daffodils emit an odor that sends mice running, so clear up a rodent problem in no time by planting some of these beautiful flowers around your house to deter mice from entering your home.
Herbs That Deter Pests
What’s better than something that looks pretty and deters pests? Something edible that keeps pests away! The same tasty herbs we use for livening up delicious recipes can also serve as natural bug repellents.
Check out these top 10 plants that repel pests:
Banish bees and mosquitoes with basil. Basil plants don’t ask for much — plenty of sunlight and water — and can thrive inside or outside your house. Make a simple insect-repelling spray by soaking fresh basil leaves in vodka for a couple of weeks, then straining the mixture and using it to spray your windows and doors where mosquitoes, spiders, house flies and other pests could get in. You can store the leftover spray in the refrigerator and use it on your skin whenever you go outside.
Another culinary staple, rosemary also serves as a rodent, mosquito, spider and insect repellent. Rosemary grows well in many climates and conditions, making it well-suited for pots, Mason jars, herb gardens and other landscaped beds. The oils from rosemary drive away many insects, and you can use the plant to make a repellent spray by boiling dried rosemary in water and then straining the liquid into cooler water before capping the concoction and storing it in the fridge. Squirt some of your homemade spray on each time you head outdoors to guard yourself against pests.
Like rosemary, sage is a perennial plant that can grow outdoors in gardens and landscaped begs or live in small indoor planters to grow the herb conveniently close to the kitchen. The smell of sage is strong enough to ward off unwanted insects like mosquitoes, moths and beetles, so next time you’re hosting a bonfire, toss some sage in with the wood to generate sage-scented smoke that will repel insects. You can also harness the bug-repelling power of sage by combining it with apple cider vinegar, rosemary and mint to make a DIY insect repellent.
Mint is yet another naturally effective mosquito repellent. Although most humans enjoy the smell of fresh mint, many insects and critters can’t stand it. Rats, in particular, hate peppermint, so if you have a rat problem, grow this herb to keep them at bay. Growing mint or scattering containers of mint leaves around your garden or house can help keep the area free of rats, bees, fleas, ticks and ants. Beware that mint grows quite aggressively, so you’re better off planting this perennial herb in pots rather than in your garden to cut down on spreading.
As a member of the mint family, catnip is also a natural mosquito, tick, cockroach and termite repellent. Studies have also found that the right concentration of catnip can kill termites. You can easily grow catnip — just be careful to plant it in a well-contained outdoor space, as it tends to grow quite tall and may take over your garden. Use the essential oils from your catnip to prevent termite tunneling or make a natural insect spray containing vinegar and rosemary.
The sweet scent of lavender, although soothing to us, wards off fleas, flies, rodents, spiders, mosquitoes and other pesky insects. Leaving lavender in drawers around the house, burning a lavender-scented candle or rubbing lavender oil extract on your skin are all ancient natural pesticide secrets. Growing lavender can be a bit of a challenge, because it requires frequent pruning along with an abundance of sunlight and fresh air, but if you have room to grow it outdoors, lavender can be a valuable addition to your home garden.
If you’re looking for plants that keep spiders away, you’ve found a new best friend in dill. Dill sends spiders scurrying away, along with aphids, mites, squash bugs and tomato hornworms, while attracting beautiful butterflies and other beneficial insects. Planting this annual herb near your house is a smart and easy way to deter spiders and other bugs from hanging around your home.
Lemongrass serves as a natural bee and mosquito repellent thanks to the citronella oil found in its leaves. As a large, ornamental plant, lemongrass can reach up to five feet in height and two feet in width within a single season. Lemongrass thrives in tropical climates, so anyone outside those zones will need to grow the plant as an annual. Whether you plant your lemongrass in a pot or the ground doesn’t matter as long as it’s in a sunny, well-drained spot.
Lemon thyme is much hardier than lemongrass and can survive in dry, rocky and shallow soils, making it perfect for any herb garden or front lawn location. Although planting lemon thyme on its own will not repel mosquitoes or other pests, breaking open its leaves will release bug-repelling chemicals. Cut a few stems of lemon thyme off your plant and rub them on your skin to deter insects from swarming you. Be sure to start with a small area of skin to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction to the plant’s natural properties before slathering your arms in lemon thyme.
In addition to being a delicious Italian seasoning, oregano acts as an effective rodent repellent. Oregano’s potent smell is so offensive to rats and mice that you can use its scent to form a protective barrier around anywhere you don’t want rodents to be. Try sprinkling some oregano near your doorways, soil and cracks around the house to successfully deter rats and mice from entering your home. As a hardy plant, oregano acts as a perennial that typically needs no annual replanting.
Bringing plants that keep spiders away and repel other bugs indoors is a great way to keep your home pest-free from the inside out. As a bonus, indoor plants that deter pests can add to your home’s aesthetic while keeping insects and other pests out of your house.
Here are five indoor plants that repel spiders and other pests.
1. Citronella Plant
You might recognize the name citronella from citronella candles. These candles use the fragrance from citronella plants’ oils to repel mosquitoes, spiders and other insects. Citronella is an excellent indoor plant because it doesn’t do well in winter weather, especially in colder climates. Grow your citronella in easily portable containers so you can bring it inside during the winter.
The strong smell of eucalyptus leaves is powerful enough to drive away bees, spiders and other bugs. Although full-grown eucalyptus plants are often too large to grow in your yard, a dwarf species of eucalyptus is perfect for home decor. The pale shade of green and soothing scent of dwarf eucalyptus leaves can make any room feel more relaxing.
3. Citrus Fruits
Another miniature alternative to full-grown plants, dwarf citrus trees are ideal natural pest repellents for those who don’t live in a subtropical climate zone. Dwarf citrus trees are small enough to grow in heated indoor areas and emit enough of a citrus scent to deter spiders. If you don’t have room in your house for even a dwarf citrus plant, you can still use citrus fruits to repel pests by leaving lemon or orange peels near windows or doorways that spiders frequent.
4. Lemon Verbena
Another citrus-scented plant useful for repelling spiders and most other bugs, lemon verbena is a beautiful perennial plant. Although lemon verbena can grow quite tall, many people opt to keep the plant indoors so the delicious aroma can fill their homes and deter pests. When planted in an indoor potter, lemon verbena is manageable and easy to maintain.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a natural mosquito repellent that’s perfect for growing indoors. As a succulent, aloe doesn’t require much attention to thrive — just some cactus potting soil mix and enough water to survive. While aloe is an excellent insect deterrent, it is also valuable for its healing properties. Break off a piece of your aloe vera and spread some of its gel on a bee sting to soothe the pain.
Carnivorous Plants for Pest Control
Few methods are more effective in eliminating pests than carnivorous plants. Because they naturally feed on pests, carnivorous plants devour insects like house flies and mosquitoes, so you don’t have to bust out the bug spray.
If you find other plants aren’t enough to deter pests from your property, enlist these carnivorous plants as your natural exterminators.
- Venus flytrap: As their name suggests, these plants are perfect for keeping your home’s house fly population under control.
- Bladderworts: This plant is a must if you live near a pond. Bladderworts will keep your water area free of pests like mosquitoes and aquatic worms.
- Trumpet pitchers: If your yard seems to attract wasps, moths and bees, place some trumpet pitchers in your flower beds to capture flying insects.
- Cobra lily: The cobra lily relies on its nectar to bait its typical prey of wasps, ants and flies.
- Sundews: Get rid of annoying buzzing insects with some well-placed sundews, which will trap pests in its leaves’ sticky liquid.
- Contact Spectrum Pest Control to Handle Pest Problems
- Large numbers of a pest population can be overwhelming, but you have help beyond carnivorous plants and houseplants that deter pests. If you keep finding bugs or rodents in unwanted areas despite planting natural pest repellents, it may be time to call a professional. For pest problems that go beyond insect-repelling plants, contact Spectrum Pest Control to take care of persistent pests.
When other methods won’t cut it, Spectrum Pest Control offers the most comprehensive pest control service in Pittsburgh, with an annual pest control program specifically designed to target insects’ life cycles and provide year-round protection. As a locally owned and operated company, our priority is to protect our community’s homes from intrusive pests.
Call Spectrum Pest Control today at 412-532-1380 to take care of your pest problem once and for all.