Guide To Plants That Repel Bugs

Is your home or garden an insect attracting magnet? 

Then it’s time to get your garden full of plants that keep the bugs away without resorting to harsh chemical sprays. 

The good news is that most of these plants don’t just keep bugs at bay, they also taste great! 

12 Plants That Repel Bugs


Marigolds have a scent that’s not very pleasant to mosquitoes, plant lice and it’s even been known to send bunnies running too. 


Plant them near the front door and back door to keep mosquitoes out of the house or around your vegetable garden to keep rabbits at bay. 


There’s probably no better bug repellent than the humble chrysanthemum. 

They can drive away a host of potential pests including: Japanese beetles, bed bugs, spider mites, ticks, lice, Harlequin bugs, silverfish, roaches and ants!

The natural pesticide “pyrethrum” is found in the plant and, in fact, if you buy a store bought insecticide it will probably contain this chemical extracted from the flowers. 


Mint is found in every herb garden kit that we’ve ever used and when you’re not using it to drive away bugs, it’s pretty tasty too. 


It’s brilliant at driving away mosquitoes but we’d recommend that you grow it in pots as it spreads like wildfire if left to grow freely. 


Another tasty and useful plant, chives is very adept at running off Japanese beetles and Carrot Rust Flies. 

They can be grown nearly everywhere and, unlike mint, they won’t run wild. 

Bay Leaves

If there’s a plant that we can’t live without it’s bay leaves. Why? Because bay leaves are the ultimate deterrent to flies.

bay leaves

We like to keep a pot or two of this growing inside nearly every room in the house and, of course, when we’re not using it for fly defense – we’re using it to cook our soups and roast dinners!


Who doesn’t love garlic? It has real health benefits when eaten and has been proven to reduce bad cholesterol in the bloodstream!

It will also help keep carrot root flies, codling moths, Japanese beetles, and root maggots away, so plant it wherever these pests raise their ugly heads! 


Another wonderful addition to our anti-bug armory is basil. 

It helps to keep both mosquitoes and flies away and, of course, it really works wonders wiht pork and chicken and goes very well in a salad too. 


You can also use it to make your own insect repellent spray! 

Steep 6 ounces of leaves in 4 ounces of boiling water for 8 hours. 

Remove the leaves and add four ounces of vodka (we’d recommend the cheap stuff) and then put it in a spray bottle. 

If you don’t use it all – refrigerate it. Don’t inhale it when you spray!

Citronella (Lemon) Grass

Citronella is another excellent mosquito repellant and you may even have bought candles made from the plant to keep mozzies away in the past.

It’s best grown in a pot as an annual plant as it’s not the hardiest of varieties. 

It also works beautifully with many Asian schools of cuisine and, in particular, with chicken and pork. 


Lavender tackles flies, mosquitoes, moths and fleas! 

It may have a lovely smell to human noses but those pesky little buzzing critters hate it. 


Plant it on your walkways to keep your home free of pests. 

And later on in the year, dry out the flowers or extract the oil for a homemade essential oil!


Rosemary is a good all-round insect repellant and it’s very easy to grow. 

You can put it in pots, in beds or even in your herb garden and it will thrive and do its job very well, indeed. 

You can also make an insect repellant spray with it. Boil a quart of the dried plant in a quart of water for half an hour. 

Strain it and add to a quart of cool water. 

Spray as needed and keep in the refrigerator when not in use. 


Sage has similar properties to rosemary when it comes to keeping bugs away and it’s particularly handy when camping. 


A small amount of sage tossed onto the fire keeps insects away from the toasted marshmallows!


Don’t eat it, though if you have cats, they will. 

Catnip is a form of mint and has very similar properties to mint as an insect repellent. 

Final Thoughts On Plants That Repel Bugs

So, there you have it, 12 plants that repel bugs!

If you don’t know how to grow them, may we suggest checking out the New Plant Parent

And if you’re not sure how to eat what you grow, then we’ve got a great range of vegan cookbooks for you!

Who knew keeping the bugs away could be so tasty? 

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