Various pests in the insect world are harmful to our beloved plants, from aphids and spider mites to potato bugs and Mexican bean beetles. However, seedlings and flowering squash plants are most vulnerable to a squash bug attack. Fortunately, many plants repel squash bugs, and they are a great addition to the garden.
A bug infestation is the gardener’s worst fear, and a large population of harmful insects quickly destroys everything from flower gardens to fruit and vegetable crops.
While insecticidal soap often does the trick of eliminating garden pests, and is what kills squash bugs, this treatment may also kill the beneficial insects we enjoy and need for healthy plants. Many plants repel aphids, stink bugs, squash bugs, and other insects, and they are perfect for planting around a squash garden.
- Growing Plants that Keep Squash Bugs Out of the Garden
- What are Squash Bugs?
- What are Squash Bug Repellent Plants?
- Are There Different Types of Squash Bug Repellent Plants?
- Are Plants that Deter Squash Bugs Difficult to Grow?
- Petunias (Petunia)
- Dahlias (Dahlia pinnata) – Flowers that Repel Squash Bugs
- Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
- Marigolds (Tagetes) – Flowering Plant that Repels Various Pests
- Lavender (Lavandula)
- Sunflowers (Helianthus) – Seed-Bearing Plant that Deters Squash Bugs
- Bee Balm (Monarda)
- Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) – Herbaceous Squash Bug Repellent Plants
- Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
- Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – Herb Plants that Repel Squash Bugs
- Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum)
- Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) – Pollinating Plants that Deter Squash Bugs
- Borage (Borago officinalis)
- Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum) – Flowers that Produce a Natural Insecticide
- Four O’Clocks (Mirabilis)
Growing Plants that Keep Squash Bugs Out of the Garden
Companion planting is a natural alternative to using harmful chemicals or having to make your own homemade squash bug repellent. It is a practice that allows you to plant beautiful flowers, herbs and veggies that draw pollinators and good bugs while keeping your pumpkin and squash plants safe from squash beetles and other insect pests.
The best way to keep your garden naturally free of pests, whether you are dealing with stink bug vs squash bug or mosquitoes, is to grow plants they hate. There are many squash bug repellent plants to pick from, including scented herbs and plants that bloom. Some emit a scent squash bugs cannot tolerate, while others draw beneficial bugs that help keep pests at bay.
Here are some of the top plants that deter squash bugs with a detailed description. Discover their needs and growing habits to help you choose the perfect ones to plant in your area.
What are Squash Bugs?
Squash bugs (Anasa tristis) resemble stink bugs, and they are flattened, large insects with dark gray or brown bodies. Their abdomens have orange and brown stripes, and they lay tiny, yellowish bronze bug eggs on the leaf and stem of a squash plant and other plant debris. Each squash bug egg hatches a bug nymph, which then feeds on the plants.
These bugs suck the sap out of leaves, causing yellow spots that affect the plant’s flow of water and nutrients. Sturdy plants are more tolerant of the damage, but young plants often wilt and die. It’s essential to know what plants repel squash bugs and how to avoid squash beetles to ensure your garden grows healthy and strong.
What are Squash Bug Repellent Plants?
Some plants keep squash beetles away by their smell or taste, and others attract beneficial bugs that eat the unwanted pests like a squash bug or squash vine borer. Early summer crookneck and butternut squash are squash bug favorites, while artemisia releases an odor that repulses the insects and is ideal for preventing squash beetles from attacking your squash.
Are There Different Types of Squash Bug Repellent Plants?
There are a variety of squash bug repellent plants, from ornamental plants to herbs like basil, lavender, and catnip. Some are a trap crop that pulls pests away from your favorite plants.
Flowers like petunias, dahlias, and sunflowers repel squash bugs. With so many options, it’s easy to find the perfect plants to fit your style and needs while eliminating squash bugs from your garden.
Are Plants that Deter Squash Bugs Difficult to Grow?
While it depends on the plant type, most squash repellent plants are relatively simple to grow. However, your region, garden space, and growing conditions play a vital role in how well these plants succeed.
Plants like marigolds grow just about anywhere and demand very little care. Lavender is a perennial that wants the right soil type and extra attention to flourish.
Petunias are popular garden flowers that produce pink, purple, yellow, red, orange, green, and white flowers. They look stunning as a border plant and repel the squash bug, tomato hornworm, leafhopper, and asparagus beetle.
This annual flowering plant is one of the easiest to grow, it reaches 6 to 24 inches tall and spreads up to 3 feet, depending on the type. Plant it in full sun and give it mildly acidic soil, and it blooms throughout the season.
Dahlias (Dahlia pinnata) – Flowers that Repel Squash Bugs
The dahlia is a unique-looking flower that grows in every color imaginable. It is a beautiful plant to grow for cut flowers, and it keeps squash bugs and nematodes away from other plants. However, they are toxic to dogs and cats.
Dahlias grow one to six feet tall and one to three feet wide, and they bloom from late summer through fall. They are annual in cool climates and a herbaceous perennial in zones 8 and up, and they grow ideally in full sun.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
This much-loved herb is a favorite among gardeners with its mild, oniony flavor. Not only is it an excellent plant for enhancing food, but it repels the Japanese beetle, carrot fly, and adult squash bug.
Chives are cold-tolerant perennials that grow in zones 3 through 9. They enjoy full sun to light shade and loamy, sandy soil and reach up to 15 inches tall and wide. They are great plants to keep stink bugs off tomatoes if you grow them nearby.
Marigolds (Tagetes) – Flowering Plant that Repels Various Pests
This flowering plant is famous for repelling everything from the mosquito, whitefly, nematode, and squash bug to rabbits and deer, making it an ideal border plant for protecting your garden.
Marigolds have vibrant red, orange, and yellow flowers that bloom non-stop throughout the summer, and they grow 4 to 48 inches tall and 6 to 24 inches wide. They are annuals that desire full sun and evenly moist, well-drained soil.
Lavender is an attractive herb that is great for keeping the squash bug pest, moths, and fleas at bay, and it’s a favorite among beneficial insects. It is an herb that produces delicate blue-purple flowers with a relaxing scent, perfect for the garden or patio. As a bonus, these are flowers that repel spiders, too.
These perennial mosquito repellent plants form a compact shrub that reaches two to three feet tall and two to four feet wide. It grows ideally in hardiness zones 5 through 9 and thrives in full sun and dry, well-draining soil.
Sunflowers (Helianthus) – Seed-Bearing Plant that Deters Squash Bugs
These summertime poster flowers have more than one purpose. Their extra-large flower is stunning, they produce seeds for you and birds, and they deter aphids, squash beetles, and other pests.
Sunflowers range in color, from yellow and red to mahogany. While they are easy to grow, they often require support since they reach up to ten feet tall. They are a sun-loving annual and tolerate well-drained soil of all types.
Bee Balm (Monarda)
This herbaceous perennial is from the mint family, and it produces spiky red, purple, and pink blooms throughout the summer. It is loved by honey bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds and hated by various garden pests, including squash bugs.
Bee balm is hardy in zones 4 through 9, and it grows two to four feet tall and up to three feet wide. It tolerates full sun and partial shade and prefers neutral to acidic soil.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) – Herbaceous Squash Bug Repellent Plants
This hardy plant releases an aromatic scent that keeps the squash bug at bay. However, caution is necessary since this plant has invasive tendencies. It has attractive foliage and displays small yellow, orange, pink, and red flowers during the summer.
Mugwort is a fast-spreader with a mature size of up to six feet tall. It is a herbaceous perennial in zones 3 through 8, grows in full sun or part shade, and tolerates various soil types.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Catnip is a quick-growing herb and a favorite for felines. While cats adore this plant and it’s definitely not one of the plants that keep cats out of your garden, many insects detest it, from squash bugs, Japanese beetles, and weevils, to ants, aphids, and the flea beetle.
This perennial grows two to three feet tall and wide in full sun locations. It is hardy in zones 3 through 7 and is adaptable to acidic, neutral, and alkaline soil. It has a clump-forming growth habit and produces flower spikes from late spring to early fall.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – Herb Plants that Repel Squash Bugs
Basil is a popular herb for cooking Italian dishes and an excellent addition to the veggie garden. It contains oils that repel squash bugs, mosquitoes, flies, thrips, and the squash vine borer, and some claim that planting it near tomatoes increases the fruit yield.
There are many basil types of outdoor plants to repel flies, and they grow 18 to 24 inches tall and wide, depending on the variety. They are annual in most areas and perennial in zones 10 and 11 and prefer full sun and somewhat rich soil.
Nasturtiums are fast, easy-growing flowers, and planting them near squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes fends off squash beetles, whiteflies, wooly aphids, and the cucumber beetle. They are a bushy plant perfect for borders, trailing in containers, or climbing on walls.
These annual plants with brightly colored blossoms in red, orange, pink, and yellow shades grow one to ten feet long and one to three feet wide. They bloom from May through September and thrive in sunny locations.
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) – Pollinating Plants that Deter Squash Bugs
Hyssop is a creeping, mat-forming plant with small, succulent leaves and dainty white, purple, or light pink flowers from late spring to early fall. It is wonderful for drawing bees and pollinators to the garden, and it repels the flea beetle, cabbage moth, and squash bug.
This perennial is highly adaptable, and it tolerates a range of difficult growing conditions. It is a fast-growing species that reaches one to three feet tall and one to four feet wide and prefers full to partial sun.
Borage (Borago officinalis)
Borage is an herb that proliferates with vivid blue flowers that bloom through the summer, and it’s a good companion plant for squash, tomatoes, and strawberries. It pulls in beneficial honey bees and wasps and deters the tomato hornworm, cabbage worm, and squash bug.
This annual flower is native to the Mediterranean, and it grows one to three feet tall and nine to 18 inches wide. It prefers full sun, is tolerant of part shade, and grows in well-drained soil of all types. The star-shaped flowers hang in downward clusters, and the stems and leaves have a prickly fuzz that is a deterrent for pests.
Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum) – Flowers that Produce a Natural Insecticide
Chrysanthemums produce an all-natural pesticide called Pyrethrum. It works similar to Neem oil and controls everything from fleas, ants, and silverfish to Japanese beetles, ticks, and squash beetles. They symbolize fall with their bright colored flowers in shades ranging from white and yellow to red and purple.
These herbaceous perennials grow two to three feet tall when planted in full sun and rich, moist soil. They are hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9 and are gorgeous for a vibrant fall garden. However, they are toxic to pets, and caution is necessary.
Four O’Clocks (Mirabilis)
This flowering plant is a delight to have in the garden. Its two-inch trumpet-shaped blooms typically open around four in the afternoon with shades of pink and red. Unfortunately, it is toxic to people, animals, and insects.
However, its toxicity makes it a superb bug-repellent plant if you’re careful while growing it. Use it to repel everything from the squash vine borer and cabbage looper to squash bug nymphs.
Four O’Clocks are perennial in hardiness zones 9 through 11, and they grow two to three feet tall and wide. They enjoy moist, well-drained soil that is acidic or neutral and full to partial sun.
Growing bug repellent plants is a great way to get nature to give you a helping hand in the garden, and they are more beneficial than just keeping pests at bay. Some grow stunning flowers, many are fragrant, and others add flavor to your food.
Companion planting with plants that repel squash bugs makes your yard beautiful and keeps your plants safe from insect destruction, so why not share our squash bug repellent plant guide with the gardeners in your life on Facebook and Pinterest?