10 Best Pest Repelling Plants that Keeps the Bugs Away

10 Best Pest Repelling Plants that Keeps the Bugs Away

Jun 5th 2024

If you like to spend your evenings in your garden but hate dealing with pests. Yes, we all enjoy spending some time in the company of our garden plants, but mosquitoes and bugs can ruin your day. Instead of using harmful chemicals in your vegetable gardens, what if there were natural ways to repel these bugs away from your garden plants?

Some pest-repelling plants can be a safe alternative to pesticides for your domestic gardens. So, read this guide to learn about the ten best pest-repelling plants that keep bugs away!

1. Petunias

Often called nature's pesticide, these plants repel aphids, leafhoppers, asparagus beetles, tomato hornworms, and squash bugs. You can plant them in the ground or keep them in containers. They are easy to grow and need 5-6 hours of daily sunlight.

These vibrant-colored plants are perfect for your flower beds. Rather than repelling pests, they can trap them in their stamens to kill the insects.

  • Quality: Drought and heat tolerant.
  • Growing zone: 9-11
  • Sun exposure: Full sun

2. Rosemary

Rosemary oil and herbs are used in cooking foods due to their delicious taste. However, the deterring pests hate it because it is a pest-repelling plant. It is available in various forms, such as a patio, ornamental pyramids, herb gardens, or landscape beds. The plant grows best in well-drained environments.

  • Quality: Roots will die in over-wet soils.
  • Growing Zones: 7 to 10.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.

3. Citronella Grass

Citronella grass is also known as lemongrass. It is famous for its unique smell, and its oil is the most popular natural ingredient found in mosquito repellents.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden suggests using lemon-scented plants like citronella grass to keep mosquitoes at bay. The best way to use this plant for pest control is by using the living plant itself rather than extracting oils in a repellent. According to research it's shown that this plant is effective in killing malaria mosquitoes.

This easy-to-care-for plant grows best in large planters since it can't survive frost, but in warmer places, it can be planted directly in a sunny spot in the ground.

  • Quality: Requires thorough, infrequent watering.
  • Growing Zones: 10 to 11.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.

4. Lavender

Have you ever noticed that insects or small animals like rabbits don't damage your lavender plant but move past it? This is because of its fragrance due to its essential oils. Humans love the smell of lavender, but it can kill a mosquito's ability to smell.

Once grown, this tough, drought-resistant plant only needs full sun and good drainage. It thrives best in warmer areas but can survive in many climates.

Lavender essential oils are extremely effective against the mosquito species Anopheles Stephensi.

  • Quality: Requires hot and dry weather.
  • Growing Zones: 5 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.

5. Nasturtium

Nasturtium is an edible plant used as a repellent for whiteflies, aphids, beetles, cabbage loopers, and squash bugs. Its flowers release an airborne chemical that repels insects that mainly prey on vegetables. So, you can easily use it to protect your vegetable garden.

They are also called trap crops and can be used on the edges of vegetable plants.

  • Quality: Does not bloom in partial shade.
  • Growing Zones: 9 to 11.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Relevant Read: Summer Lawn Watering Tips for a Pest-Free Yard

6. Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums are beautiful pests repelling plants for your garden. The bugs they repel include ants, silverfish, fleas, Japanese beetles, harlequin bugs, lice, and root-knot nematodes.

A compound secreted from chrysanthemums, pyrethrum, is used as an insecticide. Pyrethroids are insect repellents, and you can see them mainly in aerosol bombs, pet shampoos, and indoor sprays. However, they are harmful to aquatic ecosystems and some birds.

If you plant chrysanthemums in your garden, you can achieve a natural pest-repellent result without its harmful effects.

  • Quality: Water every other day when the soil gets dry.
  • Growing Zones: 5 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.

7. Marigold

Some of us find the scent of marigold flowers quite objectionable, but fortunately, bugs do also. It has vibrant autumnal flowers that attract butterflies and bees while driving away wasps and hornets.

This annual flower is easy to grow and can be planted in pots or near the patio. It repels widespread vegetable pests, including Mexican bean beetles, whiteflies, aphids, thrips, and tomato hornworms. So, you can plant these beside your vegetables to save them from being eaten.

  • Quality: Can tolerate dry conditions.
  • Growing Zone: 2-11
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

8. Allium

Allium plants are small-growing herbs like garlic chives, onions, leeks, and shallots. The flowers are globe-shaped and float on long, slender stems.

Allium family plants, like Allium giganteum, are known to be broad-spectrum insecticides. They repel common vegetable pests like cabbage worms, aphids, slugs, and carrot flies.

These plants grow 6 feet tall and emit a strong fragrance that is collectively disliked by various mosquitoes.

However, some plants greatly benefit from having allium species around them, such as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, and carrots.

  • Quality: Drought-tolerant plants.
  • Growing Zones: 3 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.

9. Catnip

Catnip or catmint can be found grown almost anywhere. It comes from the mint family and acts as a popular mosquito repellent. These plants are easy to take care of and may even start to invade other areas of your garden due to their insidious nature.

In research conducted by Iowa State University, catmint was shown to be 10x more effective than the chemical used in repellents.

Catmints contain a chemical called nepetalactone, which repels deer ticks, cockroaches, flies, and mosquitoes. This pesticide triggers a chemical receptor in the plants, creating the sensation of pain or itching.

  • Quality: Needs well-drained soil to grow.
  • Growing Zones: 3 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.

10. Mint

Mint is an everyday food essential that can be used in multiple ways. The refreshing plant is widely used in drinks, cocktails, and cuisines.

The best part of mint is that its aromatic properties are present in its leaves, stems, and flowers. Beware, however, because mint grows rapidly in pots and is very hard to remove.

You can make a mosquito repellent from mint by extracting its oil and mixing it with apple cider vinegar or witch hazel.

  • Quality: Slightly acidic and moist soil is needed for their growth.
  • Growing Zones: 3 to 8.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.


These pest-repelling plants work in two ways. Besides keeping harmful bugs away from your garden, they also add to its aesthetic. With these vibrant colored plants, you can easily enjoy the feeling of a lush green and pest-free yard. To take a step ahead, you can also use row covers to protect your plantings.

Check out DripWorks gardening tools and drip irrigation kits. With proper care and the right pest-repelling plants, your garden can be pest-free so that you can enjoy all its benefits!