Pest Repellent Plants You Need In Your Garden

pest repellent plantsEveryone wants to spend more time in their garden and yard in the summertime, but bugs can be a real problem, not only for your plants but for you as well. Bugs like mosquitos can be a real danger to you and your pets, carrying diseases like West Nile and Zika Virus. And that’s not to mention all the work you put into making your garden productive and beautiful. The last thing you want is nasty bugs coming around eating your plants and destroying your tomatoes! Believe it or not, taking control of these nasty pests can start with something as simple as the way you design your garden.

While those living in the city might need to call in a company such as Broadway Exterminators in NYC to fix their pest problems, others can find the solution in what they plant, and where.

Here’s an overview of the most effective bug repelling plants and how they can be incorporated into your garden design.


Marigolds have cheerful flowers in shades of yellow and orange. They are commonly seen planted in containers and borders with other annual flowers. But, did you know that their distinctive scent makes a great repellant for mosquitos, squash bugs, and other garden pests? Plant them in the vegetable garden and they will protect neighboring plants from pests. Another great way to take advantage of their pest repelling abilities is to plant them in containers that can be moved around the yard, patio, and garden wherever they’re needed to help keep the bugs away. Put them near your squash, melons, and tomatoes in the vegetable garden, or place them near open windows and doorways to keep the mosquitos away.


This heavily scented herb has a fragrance that is very pleasing to most humans, but the bugs hate it! The beautiful purple flowers of lavender will add beauty to your garden while repelling mosquitoes, flies and most other bugs. Use lavender in the border plantings around your patio or in pots by the door as a natural, but very effective, fly and mosquito repellent. Even better, it’s a tough, drought-resistant perennial that you can rely on year after year. You can even hang lavender that has been dried in your closet to keep moths away.


Lemongrass contains citronella. You’ve probably heard of citronella candles and lamp oil for repelling mosquitos and other biting pests on the patio at night. Well, the lemongrass plant itself has an even stronger scent, so it’s even more effective at keeping the nasties away! The plants get nice and tall, and they’re drought and heat tolerant. Plant them as a thick hedge to create privacy on your porch or deck and they’ll repel the bugs, too. Be sure to protect them from frost and they’ll work for you for years to come.


Rosemary is such a lovely and useful herb! Most folks keep it around for cooking, but it’s lovely scent is also great for repelling flies and mosquitos. Incorporate it into your vegetable garden, too, because it will keep cabbage moths and other pests off your crops. The great thing about rosemary is that it thrives in containers and loves hot, dry conditions. Put little containers of this plant all around your patio and garden to take advantage of its wonderful pest repellant abilities and beautiful fragrance.


Petunias are a versatile, annual bedding plant that adds beautiful color to the garden and patio. The scent of their blossoms repels many insects, especially flies, aphids, squash bugs, and tomato hornworms. As an added bonus, their bright, funnel-shaped flowers will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Put them in containers around your picnic areas or incorporate them into your vegetable beds to take advantage of all their benefits.


Mint not only has a delicious fragrance, it’s also useful in the kitchen and it adds beauty to the garden. If ants or mice are a problem in your garden, this is the plant for you! Mice hate mint, especially peppermint, and ants are repelled by it, too. Even mosquitos are chased away by the smell of mint. Mint will spread quickly in the ground, so it’s a good idea to plant it in pots and move it around the garden to where it’s needed most. You can even sprinkle dried mint in the house if ants or mice are a problem.


Basil is another popular culinary herb that can double as a fantastic bug repellant. Basil smells amazing and it’s beautiful in the garden or on the patio. Plant basil in pots to put on your picnic table and the strong smell will keep the mosquitos away.


We all know that our cats go crazy for catnip, but did you know that catnip has been found to be ten times more effective at repelling mosquitos than DEET? According to Science Daily, the essential oil nepetalactone, found in catnip, not only repels mosquitos, it is commonly used in commercial insect repellants. Be aware that catnip is part of the mint family, so it will spread in your garden. Grow catnip in pots around your garden and patio to keep biting insects at bay. You can even rub the leaves on your skin for a natural, safe insect repellent. Don’t be surprised if you get some extra attention from your cat, though!

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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