8 Plants to Repel Bugs, Insects, and Pests

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Bugs, bees, ants, wasps, mice, etc…..they’re called pests for a reason! Here’s a list of 8 plants to repel pests naturally. With 2 kids under 5 I don’t like using chemicals around the house but these plants repel pests so I don’t have to!


Plants that Repel Pests

8 Plants that Repel Bugs, Insects, and Pests

I don’t know about you but I HATE bugs!

They just freak me out!  It really doesn’t matter what kind of bug- roaches, silverfish, spiders, mosquitos, fleas, beetles…. You name it and I HATE it!  Especially bed bugs!  I’ve never experienced bed bugs before but I was watching 20/20 a while back and they were doing some kind of expose on bed bugs in hotels and I’ve been freaked out ever since!  The mere thought of them makes my skin crawl!!!!

Since we had such a mild winter (here in Georgia anyway) everyone is saying how horrible the bugs are going to be this summer because nothing died off during the winter.  So now I’m super freaked out and have been looking into natural remedies or repellents for those nasty creepy crawlers and stingy sneaky fliers.  I used to just have a bottle of Raid handy… but now I have Little Man and Miss Jellybean so I really don’t want to be spraying chemicals around them.
After a little research I realized there are some EXTREMELY simple plants that you can put around the house to repel all those nasty critters!  The nice thing about these is they can be planted in pots and moved around (which is extremely beneficial) or they can be planted directly in your yard—and they’re even pretty with many having multiple uses!
Just click on the picture for easy ordering straight from Amazon.
8 Plants to Repel Pests
1. Mint
Who knew mint has so many uses!  It not only smells nice and is super delicious (Mojitos anyone?? 😉 ) but it keeps away ants and mice!  Crush some to release the fragrance and it’ll run off any strays that come your way….but be warned…kitty cats LOVE mint and will roll around in it.  I’ve heard that mint is also a natural flea repellent.
Another delicious herb that’s used in many recipes are bay leaves.  Not only do they make my BEST beef stew recipe unbelievably delectable but bay leaves also ward off roaches!

 3. Lemongrass

Let me just say…this year my back yard is going to have a whole border of lemongrass!! Did you know that Lemongrass will keep away those flying pesksy mosquitos and bees!  And it looks pretty too– we have a ravine in our backyard so I think this will make the perfect border….plus I HATE bees….I’m always terrified of getting stung!

Yummy and keeps those annoying flies at bay!!  Isn’t it amazing how many herbs keep pests away….just another reason to build a nice herb garden…right?!  I love this herb garden for growing fresh herbs year round…and now I know I can just sprinkle some of the leaves around if I notice any pests nearby….win/win!


They not only add a boost of color but they keep out Japanese beetles!  These would look beautiful in the front walkway…curb appeal and bug deflector…yeah I’ll take it!
Now, I read about 2 plants that seem to be SUPER-PLANTS!
These are a must this year:
Yep, that stuff that makes your cat act all crazy…. Supposedly wards off a long list of bugs including mosquitos and flies.
AKA: Mums specifically the ones that look like Daisies!
These are the be all end all of pests!  According to wiki.answers these cute little flowers repel: Roaches, fleas, ticks, bedbugs, lice, silverfish, ants, and so much more!

8. Citronella

Probably the most well known repellent….citronella can easily be found everywhere during the spring and summer months.  You can use the plant or even the essential oil….I personally prefer Young Living Essential Oils because they’re all natural, pure grade, quality oils that we use for all sorts of ailments at home. You can read more about Young Living Oils here.

So, I am  buying up some of these to plant in pots around the house and hopefully we’ll have a bug free summer!

How do you repel bugs, insects, and pests? Share in the comments below!

Are you like me and always on the hunt for deliciously simple recipes that your family will love?  Here’s a free printable for my 5 FAVORITE one dish meals– they’re perfect for busy nights when you don’t have a ton of time and don’t want to clean a bunch of dishes!

Next up:

10 All Natural Ways to Repel Ants

Naturally Repel Ants



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  1. says

    Thanks for sharing this! I think it is really smart to use natural methods for keeping your yard free of pests. In fact, I may start planting some lemongrass in my backyard. Who knows, maybe it can help keep away the mosquitoes that always come around in the summer.

  2. says

    These herbs usually are available in your own home.
    And the most scary fact which most of us do not know is that cockroaches transmit
    a lot more than 33 diseases, most prevalent identified is Asthma in young children. Use natural, safer alternatives to
    control insects.

  3. Ariel says

    Thank you for this very informative article. I noticed, though, that you mentioned only seven plants: mint, bay, lemongrass, basil, germaniums, catnip and mums . Did you overlook one?

    • says

      Hmmmmm…..you are correct…..I guess I was still suffering from baby brain when I wrote this and my counting was off. I guess I’ll have to do some research to find one more. :)

      • Ariel says

        If I may make a suggestion, citronella would make a fine addition to this list. It’s an excellent mosquito repellant and is easy to maintain.

        • says

          Thanks so much! I don’t know why I didn’t list citronella…I guess I was counting it as lemon grass. Thanks for the tip…I’ll make sure to add it. :)

    • says

      Have reviewed your plants repel… my household has spiders badly, and wondering what you mean by lavender? Is it the oil, or is there such a plant? Hope you can help!

      • says

        There is a lavender plant…but I’m sure the oil would work wonderfully….it’s the smell that’s supposed to keep them away.

        • says

          Thank you for your response :)… Now, next question… I’m interested in getting all the plants you’d mentioned, placing some outside and inside. My concerns? Are these plants safe for indoor pets (cats, for one)? One of mine (“Mouserella” LOL ‘cos she looked like a tiny mouse when born) likes to nibble on indoor plants.

          • says

            The only plant I can 100% vouch for is the catnip…completely safe for animals. I would check with a lawn and garden expert at a local nursery or your veterinarian to be completely sure about the other plants….from what I’ve read they’re safe…my cats love laying in the mint and chewing on the lemongrass but I’m not an expert. So definitely double check with an expert.

  4. mel says

    lemongrass is also supposed to repel bedbugs. great thing to keep around your floors if you live in the city, and in sachets in your clothing and linen storage, and in your luggage!

    • says

      Good to know! I have this crazy fear of bedbugs– I’m always checking out hotel rooms and my husband’s luggage when he returns from trips. I’m definitely going to make a little sachet for his luggage!!

      • says

        I’ve heard great things about using lemongrass. I’m about to plant some in our new backyard this Spring because we have a creek running through the backyard and it’s perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes….which I definitely want to keep away! :)

    • Melissa says

      Oh my gosh….you are so right! I must have miss counted when I originally wrote the post (over a year ago!) and you’re the first person to notice! :) Guess I should change the photo….or find another plant! LOL…sorry!!

  5. Cindy says

    Hi just wondering if you ever thought about making some kind of flower/plant water to put in a bottle to spray counters & floors with? Is this possible? How could we do that

    • Melissa says

      I have no idea about those…. we used to get them all over the place in Florida– but they don’t sting or bite so I don’t worry about them too much.

  6. Pam says

    Put some minty mouthwash in a spray bottle. When you sit on your porch spray it around the peremeter and the flies, mosquitoes, and bees stay away!

  7. Patricia Carpenter says

    I haven’t started our garden yet this year, but the idea of planting garlic with the marigolds and roses sounds like a plan…:-). I have a terrible time with slugs eating marigolds in our garden in British Columbia, Canada and I hope I don’t have the same problem in Oklahoma.

  8. says

    Hi Bill. Thanks for your comment.  This post was originally written as a way to repel pests in general- not necessarily for gardeners. It has really taken off with Pinterest and sometimes is not always categorized correctly.  My original intent with this post was for people like me, who don’t want to get stung or be bothered with flies while sitting on the porch enjoying a glass of tea– as I continued researching I found other natural pest deterrents and included them in the post.  For gardeners, yes, you by all means would want flies and bees in your garden to pollenate your plants.
    Hope you’re having a wonderful day! :)

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  9. says

    I’m always freaking out about bed bugs!  Everytime we stay in a hotel I’m checking to make sure I don’t see any signs of them!!

    Most Recently on Serendipity and Spice: Manic Monday Linky Party 1/28

  10. says

    Well everyone hate pests including me, they freak me out too specially when it comes to bed bugs, those tiny biting insects can make your sleep miserable leaving red spots all over your body.

  11. Lilly says

    Free range chickens! They eat bugs (especially spiders and tomato worms and slugs) all day and if you use deep bedding in their coop, they will do the stirring to compost their own poop which you can put on your garden next year. And they are delightful to watch. Plus, they happily give you eggs. Win, win, win! (But they might nibble at your garden if you don’t fence them out or stake things too high for them to reach.

  12. Michelle Muckala says

    Glad I checked comments, was wondering about spiders! I’ll keep lavender in mind, I HATE spiders. Have an insane fear of them.

  13. Anonymous says

    I read that planting dill in between tomato plants repels the tomato hornworm (actually repels the moth that lays the eggs that hatch into those wicked looking things) that DEVOURS tomato plants.

  14. Anonymous says

    Hair from your hair brush in a a old knee hi and hung inside an upside down cup (Plastic or Styrofoam) will keep deer and the likes away from your crops. Rosemary is Awesome to keep bugs away from you and your garden, it works great for me here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Mint does seem to keep most ants away, however cow ants are not ants they are wasps so they love hanging out in the Mint. I’ve heard Lavender is also good for gnats and mosquitoes, but have not tried that one yet. If you want to attract Butterflies though try starting a compost pile without a lid. Butterflies really like decaying fruit and veggies. I do have a Citronella plant I got at Lowe’s and is working wonderfully, plus side it smells good too! Juniper is another I’ve heard is good to deter the ugly bugs, but I’ve not tried it either. Nice to know about the Lemongrass, Geraniums, and Mums those were new ones to me! THNX

  15. says

    Thx for tips! Just moved into a home and there is a terrible ant prob!!! I have cats and mom’s dog keeps coming over so I want to avoid pesticides!!!

  16. Anonymous says

    Eucalyptus around areas I was told will repel spiders. I don’t know if the oil or ground up leaves works better though.

  17. Anonymous says

    Thanks so much for the list! I love being able to fight off bugs in a natural way. I realized I have some of the plants you listed. Now to get lemon grass and catnip.

  18. Anonymous says

    Hi Melissa,

    I just saw this on Pinterest. It caught my eye because I too HATE bugs. My friends make fun of me because of my bug fear. Anyway, I was gardening at my cousins house and pulling weeds around her mint plant and when I lifted the mint there were a bunch of ants. Is there a special type of mint one should use? Just curious. Thanks for the tips!


  19. Anonymous says

    old cd’s hung on fishing line tied to two stakes works well for keeping birds and other rodents out of your garden. I’ve used this for 3 years now.

  20. Anonymous says

    Plant garlic with your roses, and marigolds in your veggie garden.Get a good book on companion planting, and figure out what to grow together for best results!

  21. Anonymous says

    Rosemary is another great pest repellant… Keep a pot of it by the door and when you go outside rub the plant with your hands and then rub any exposed skin. Will keep mosquitoes and gnats away. I use it all the time when I am outdoors.

  22. Anonymous says

    Caution tape around your garden will keep the birds away too. You can buy it at lowes or some place similar for cheep.

  23. says

    Hi very interesting and I love the idea of NO pesticide, I have a tip to share but is to keep birds again from eating your veggie garden. It’s is a full size imitation hawk to protect your crops, farms and gardens from birds and other predators. Effective & affordable.@ hawkbirdscarer.com

  24. Kadie says

    Okay, so I am totally on the way to the store tomorrow to stock up on the mums!! I have mint and basil already. We had a very mild winter in Texas too so huge bugs here as well. This is a great list I will be featuring it at our party tomorrow morning. Stop by and grab a button if you would like. Thanks for sharing with us at Link It UP Thursday.

  25. Quanz Family says

    be careful if you’re allergic to bees though! we have a ton of catnip and basil and the bees looooove them, but we have to keep the kids away! :)

  26. Maggie says

    so do you crush them or just put them around the house and in the garden…either way I am stocking up too…my cat brought us a mouse last night and we invested in raid ant traps two nights ago…

  27. Misty McFadden says

    Love this, such great info! I’d love for you to link up to my first ever linky party, Ta-Da Tuesday :) check it out HERE ! <3 from your newest follower, I’d be delighted if you’d follow back!

  28. Christina at I Gotta Create! says

    Great to know! I can hear my cats pleading with m to plant some nip! Thanks so much for linking up at I Gotta Create! <3 Christina

  29. Alyssa says

    Thanks for the great tips. I will have to plant some of these to ward off pests. Thanks for sharing at Showcase Your Talent Thursday!

  30. Anonymous says

    My son was bitten by a Brown Recluse last week and I was told by the Orkin man that 6 or 7 Hedge apples in your garage or basement will run them out of the area. Haven’t tried it yet though.

  31. Anonymous says

    Thanks! I love all those plants. I will be planting some. I also have another organic pest repel. Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade.

  32. Tutus & Tea Parties says

    Wow, great info! Thanks for sharing. I’d love for you to share at my Pinteresting Party if you have a moment. :)

  33. the cape on the corner says

    i wrote down all those suggestions! i just heard that about catnip, who knew? great post.

  34. Danni Baird @ Silo Hill Farm says

    Well I’m all for anything that repels ticks, flies and mosquitoes!! Thanks for the info!

  35. Missy Shay says

    cedar essential oil repels scorpions (my friend had an infestation in her house last year!) and ticks, and I’m not sure what else. I had all the other oils that is supposed to ward off bugs, they work on fleas and mosquito, but did not work on ticks. I wish I had had the cedar, we went to MO and ticks were crawling on me – I’m stilling freaking out about it!

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