11 Plants That Help to Repel Insects

There is nothing worse than an uninvited guest. So why would you allow insects to crash your summer fun? Adding a few of these plants to your garden can help to keep your outdoor space free from mosquitoes and a few other pesky critters.

  1. Basil

Basil can be a great addition to your salad but did you know that it can also be used to repel mosquitoes? Many expert gardeners say that lemon basil or cinnamon basil are particularly good at deterring insects. Basil can handle partial shade but needs between 6-8 hours of sun. During the dry spells in summer be sure to water freely.

2. Catnip

If you have any cats they would love this addition to your garden. In fact, in a 2010 study, researchers found that catnip is 10 times more effective than DEET, the ingredient commonly found in bug repellents. Fortunately Catnip is an easy plant to grow. It grows in sun or shade but be careful because it can be invasive; consider planting it in pots to prevent it from overtaking your garden. If you do have a cat, pots are a good idea to prevent your pet from rolling in it and damaging your other plants.

3. Clove

Clove is a handy plant to have around for keeping away unwanted mosquitoes, as well as other insects; it can be used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes as well. Known to help nausea and tooth decay, it is a handy plant to have around the house. Clove can be a good option for homeowners who might not live in the sunniest of areas as it can grow in partial shade and rainy areas.

4. Lavender

Lavender is known for its wonderful smell but did you know it also repels most insects? Lavender repels fleas, moths, and mosquitoes in addition to flies. This plant can be used inside or out as long as it has the full sunshine that it needs.

5. Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is a very hardy plant and is an excellent choice for beginning gardeners who are still working on their green thumb. This plant resists drought and even grows well in the shade. It is a fast growing and sometimes invasive plant so you might want to keep it in a pot so it doesn’t overtake any of your other plants.

6. Pennyroyal

Not only does this plant deter mosquitoes, but also attracts butterflies! That is a win-win situation for everyone. Some people even use it to flavor fish dishes. Pennyroyal prefers full sun but can handle partial shade. It needs the soil to remain slightly moist but if needed can tolerate some dryness. A long drought would most likely kill the plant, so be sure to water when necessary.

7. Peppermint

Peppermint is another garden favorite that is known to repel mosquitoes. Peppermint will grow almost anywhere that is out of the very hot sun. It prefers at least some shade. This is another plant that you might want to keep in its own pot because it has a tendency to take over an area.

8. Roman Wormwood

Though it doesn’t have any blooms this plant does have a gorgeous silver-green color that has a velvety appearance. Roman Wormwood is fairly easy to grow, requiring only partial sun and minimal water.  As a bonus it is also a natural repellant for a wide variety of pests including flies, mice, mosquitoes, moths, and ants!

9. Rosemary

Rosemary is famous for its petite purple flowers and its woody smell and that smell is exactly what keeps mosquitoes away. This plant is slow growing at first but is well worth the wait if it means keeping those pesky mosquitoes at bay. Plus you can walk out and snip off a few springs every time you need to add extra flavor to your lamb or steak! It even attracts butterflies that you can watch while dining outdoors. Rosemary tolerates partial shade but prefers full sun.

10. Marigolds

Known for their bright colors, marigolds have more than just aesthetic appeal to offer. Marigolds also repel insects as well as garden ruining animals. The Stinking Roger variety of marigold is particularly good at repelling mosquitoes. Marigolds bloom even more profusely in poor soil, making them perfect for harsher conditions.

11. Ageratum/Floss Flower

This plant is perfect for a beginning gardener because ageratum does not require rich soil, but regular watering is necessary. Ageratum is longer lasting and blooms from spring until fall. But don’t let its fluffy flowers full you, this plant packs a punch, for insects that is. Floss Flower produces the chemical coumarin which is a common ingredient in commercial pesticides and is just as effective at keeping your unwanted intruders away.

Hopefully these eco-friendly plants will not only ward off uninvited guests but also add a little zest and color to your life. Grab an Adirondack chair, kick back, relax, and enjoy a bug free outdoor area.

If you know of any other plants that are good for keeping away insects let us know in the comments below!

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