10 Bug-Repelling Plants You’ll Want in Your Yard

  • Written by: Killingsworth Environmental
  • June 21, 2018

These ten plants have bug-repelling superpowers

It’s finally summer in North Carolina! If there’s anything we North Carolina residents know, it’s that when summer arrives, so do the bugs.

As much as we’d like to spend all of our time outside enjoying the beautiful weather, sometimes the bugs can make it impossible.

Sure, you could bathe yourself in bug-repellant spray or burn a citronella oil candle (great for setting the mood, but not all that effective at repelling bugs) to keep them away…but we would also recommend you try this. Strategically place a few of these bug-repelling plants in your backyard for a bug-free summer!

1. Basil

Basil is a tasty herb with a pungent smell and oil that keeps pesky bugs away and it doesn’t need much attention, just plenty of water and sun. You can really plant it wherever, in a small pot on your deck or in a large herb garden. On the plus side, you’ll always have basil for cooking on hand.

2. Marigolds

Marigolds are a beautiful flowering plant with a distinct smell that bugs hate.

It’s a good idea to place potted marigolds in places of entry for bugs like your home’s windows and doors, and in places where you spend a lot of time like your patio, deck, or balcony. After doing so, you should see a drastic difference in the number of bugs hanging around your home.

*Gardener’s love marigolds because they deter the insects that prey on their tomato plants.  

3. Lavender

Lavender is generally known for its lovely fragrance which helps put us to sleep and makes our clothes smell good…not many know about the plant’s bug-repelling abilities.

Whether you plant lavender in your sunny yard or cut bouquets for a vase indoors, the oils from the lavender plant will drive off any moths, flies, mosquitoes, or gnats that might try to bother you.

4. Rosemary

Rosemary repels mosquitoes and many other vegetable-eating bugs. The oil from a sprig of rosemary can add a uniquely delicious flavor to our food, a flavor most bugs don’t find as savory as we do.

Rosemary can be grown in a variety of ways. Whether you choose to grow it in your garden or a small pot, know the bugs are staying away because of its presence.

5. Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums are able to ward off insects like mosquitoes, roaches, beetles, ticks, ants, lice, fleas, bed bugs, spider mites, and silverfish because they contain an ingredient called pyrethrum. Pyrethrum is so effective at repelling bugs, which is why the compound is often used in commercial insect repellents.

Chrysanthemums will not only make a beautiful addition to your yard they will also keep a variety of bugs from trespassing on your yard.

6. Mint

Herb growers everywhere love mint for its pleasant smell and usefulness in the kitchen. Mint also has the potential to keep your yard bug (particularly mosquito) free this season!

Mint is an extremely invasive (spreads aggressively) plant, be sure to contain it by growing it in pots on your patio or in your garden.  

7. Alliums

Plants in the allium family include small-growing herbs like chives, garlic, leeks, and shallots–all of which have natural insect repelling capabilities.

Alliums can defend your garden and it’s vegetables including tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, cabbage, and broccoli from certain bugs like slugs, aphids, carrot flies, and cabbage worms who might otherwise be deadly to the garden.

Including one or two plants from the allium family in your vegetable garden will keep the entire patch healthy and bug-free.

8. Lemongrass

If you’ve been at battle with the mosquitoes in your yard for a while, you’re likely familiar with the citronella products sold in stores. Instead of purchasing these products, plant lemongrass, an ornamental grass that can grow up to four feet tall and three feet wide in one season. Citronella is a natural oil found in lemongrass plants, great for driving away mosquitoes.

Many Asian recipes call for lemongrass and you can include the fragrant leaves in a chicken or pork dish, soup, or salad dressing for a great flavor!

9. Catnip

Catnip is a member of the mint family. Catnip contains an essential oil called nepetalactone which is what attracts cats but also makes the plant bug resistant. Some studies say catnip is more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes!

Once you grow a full catnip plant, check out ways to steep the plant and create a bug repellent spray.

10. Petunias

Often called “nature’s pesticide”, petunias have a way of chasing off all types of bugs–they’re pretty too! Petunias require very little maintenance, can be planted just about anywhere (go for a sunny spot if possible), and are practically foolproof to grow!

 

Include this gorgeous flowering plant in your garden and watch the aphids, tomato hornworms, asparagus beetles, japanese beetles, leafhoppers, and squash bugs stay away.

 

These ten plants can be helpful when it comes to repelling bugs, but if you’re interested in further protecting your family from mosquitoes we offer a mosquito control program!


If you’re interested in learning more about different insects that might be welcoming themselves into your yard, check out our Pest Encyclopedia here!

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