Do you want to enjoy being outdoors but get annoyed with insect attackers? You can protect yourself with plants that repel flies and mosquitoes.
Their power comes from the scent they give off when you crush their leaves. Pests instinctively avoid the odor and move on to a less offensive target.
While you might be tempted to deter bugs by rubbing the juice on your skin, that could lead to a rash. Instead, opt for essential oils made from insect-repelling plants like mint and lavender.
We’ve listed thirteen of the best plants that repel bugs. Grow them in your garden or keep them close by in containers. Not only will they keep biting insects away, but they will also make your home more beautiful, too.
Beautiful Plants That Repel Flies and Bugs
Nasturtium Easily Repels Flies
Nasturtium flowers taste like pepper, and they have ten times the vitamins of lettuce. Many gardeners raise nasturtiums among cucumbers and squash because they are a delightful garnish for meals and they also keep pests away from other plants in the garden.
Growing nasturtiums in containers or on trellises is easy. And they give off a scent that repels aphids, beetles, loopers, whiteflies, and squash bugs. Just make sure they have plenty of sun and water, and they will create a protective zone wherever they thrive.
Lantana camara comes from Central and South America, but it flourishes in gardens around the world. It grows so fast that it’s considered a weed in Asian countries. And it’s also toxic to livestock. So why would you want Lantana in your yard?
For one, scientists proved that Lantana, or Wild Sage, protected against the malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquito in Kenya. Its leaves fight fungal infections and extracts from the plant cure respiratory illnesses.
Not to mention that Lantana doesn’t need much water and its colorful blooms attract butterflies, too.
Marigolds Keep Flies Away
Did you know that marigolds can predict the weather? If their blooms don’t open in the morning, it’s because it’s going to rain during the day.
Marigolds also have a unique scent that deters mosquitoes, aphids, squash bugs, and rabbits that might eat your vegetables. Plus, extract from Calendula Officinalis of the marigold family treats eczema and skin infections. And if you dry the flowers, you can make a tea to soothe an upset stomach.
Chrysanthemums – Amazing Bug Repellent Flower
Chrysanthemums are the secret ingredient in flea shampoos and sprays as well as insecticides. This innocent-looking blower contains pyrethrum, a chemical that repels and kills mosquitoes, ticks, spider mites, roaches, and more. Dalmatian chrysanthemums are especially potent.
You might want to grow mums among your other plants, not just put them in pots around the porch. And if you collect the blooms and let them dry, you can use them to make your own home remedies for flies.
Basil Must Be Crushed to Repel Flies
Basil won’t repel flies and mosquitoes unless you crush its leaves. It’s the vapor from its juice that turns away predatory insects. But that’s not a problem because you can harvest the leaves to put in salads, soups, and sandwiches.
Some gardeners make an insect repellent spray by steeping basil in boiling water and then adding vodka to the mix. It’s not wise to spray that on your skin, but you can treat a picnic table or other outdoor furniture with it.
Lavender is a sweet-smelling plant that keeps moths, flies, fleas, and mosquitoes at bay. And its magic works even after you’ve picked the flowers and dried them. Historically, many people kept lavender sachets in her clothing drawers to keep bugs away.
This pretty purple plant is simple to grow as long as you have well-drained soil with plenty of sunshine. And you can use its fresh blossoms in sauces and desserts and dried flowers for tea.
Lemongrass Contains Citronella Oil
The citronella oil that repels mosquitoes comes from lemongrass. While bugs hate it, humans love eating this tasty citrusy plant. Many Asian dishes call for its distinctive flavor.
If you want to grow lemongrass, you’ll need a warm climate with full sunshine and plenty of water, as well as fertile, well-drained soil. And you can harvest it as soon as its stalks are a foot tall.
Lemon thyme of the thyme family is another citrus-flavored herb that repels insects. But to achieve that effect, you’ll need to bruise its leaves.
Pick a few sprigs, crush them, and let them sit nearby while you enjoy the sunset on the patio. Then take them into the kitchen to add to a marinade.
Thyme is a tolerant plant that grows well in rocky soil with partial shade and only rainfall for water. It makes a pleasant garden border or season ground cover with its tiny green leaves.
Mint – Amazing Plant To Repel Flies and Mosquitoes
Mint, whether spearmint or peppermint or any of the other varieties, keeps mosquitoes away. Its stems, leaves, and flowers all contain the aromatic oil that repels bugs. But it will spread quickly through your yard, so plan on keeping it in pots or even hang plants from your porch, as long as they are not in the ground.
On the other hand, its ability to grow aggressively means you only need to give it minimal care. Keep its soil moist and partial to full sunlight. Then you can enjoy adding mint to your drinks and your desserts all summer long.
Rosemary is delicious to humans and disgusting to mosquitoes. To take advantage of its ability to repel pests, you’ll need to release its scent. That’s why you may have more success with essential oil or a homemade repellent spray than the plant alone.
Rosemary is a shrub that can grow up to four feet tall. You can trim it into decorative shapes. And its leaves make poultry, lamb, and even Mexican salsa delectable.
Catnip attracts cats and beneficial insects like bees. But it repels mosquitoes and roaches because it contains nepetalactone, a substance more powerful than DEET.
Plant catnip or its cousin catmint in well-drained soil that’s slightly alkaline. Both varieties like partial to full sun and moist conditions.
Then enjoy the little white and purple blooms that appear in early summer. And you can use the flowers, the stems, and the leaves for cooking, too.
It’s appropriate that garlic repels bloodsuckers like mosquitoes. And it’s effortless to grow from cloves planted in well-drained soil. But this plant only deters bugs while the scent is strong. And contrary to urban legend, eating garlic doesn’t protect you from bites.
On the other hand, if the mosquitoes eat garlic, it can kill them. The trick is getting them to consume it. In the meantime, enjoy raising garlic in your garden to add flavor to home-cooked meals.
Bayleaf or Bay Laurel
Bayleaf, also known as bay laurel, repels flies. The scent of its dried bay leaves also deters ants, fleas, and roaches.
Bay is a tree, not a shrub, but it grows slowly, and you can raise it in a container. It needs plenty of light and a warm spot with no drafts. You can harvest it once it’s at least two years old. Then you can enjoy fresh bay leaves in your soups and stews.
While many of the plants that repel bugs do their best work when their leaves are bruised, several of them are full of flavor and ideal for cooking. That means you can cut sprigs to create a protective barrier, then recycle the damaged parts into your next meal.
Also, many plants that repel flies and biting insects provide attractive accents to your yard and home. Some are gorgeous for ground cover, and others add color to trellises and pots around the patio.
In summary, we’re glad Nature provides pleasing solutions like these plants. And we hope you enjoyed our article about them, too. Please share it as much as you like. We love to see that our work is appreciated.