9 Pest Fighting Plants That’ll Save You This Summer

Last Updated on May 31, 2024 by April

9 Pest Fighting Plants That'll Save You This Summer

This post on pest-fighting plants may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclaimer page.

With the warmer months often comes the unwelcome buzz of flying pests. Flies and mosquitoes not only cause irritation with their presence but can also be vectors for various diseases.

Consequently, finding effective means to repel these insects is a concern for many.

It’s common for people to turn to synthetic repellents, but these are not the only option.

Nature provides its own set of solutions in the form of plants which have intrinsic properties that can help keep these pests at bay.

Certain plants have been used for centuries as natural repellents, and modern science supports these traditional uses.

The essential oils derived from some plants have proven to be effective against a variety of flying insects.

For example, a field evaluation has shown certain plant-based repellents to be efficient against mosquitoes and black flies.

Furthermore, an ethnobotanical survey from Uganda sheds light on how local communities frequently employ certain plant parts, such as leaves and stems, to repel houseflies.

This body of knowledge opens up a realm of possibilities for those seeking to incorporate these natural repellents into their own spaces.

Adding such plants to one’s garden or living space not only offers a pleasant aesthetic but also serves a practical function in decreasing the presence of unwanted insects.

They can stand as a first line of defense, reducing reliance on chemical repellents, and fostering a healthier environment.

It’s essential to understand which plants have repellent qualities and how best to use them to maximize their efficacy.

Sweet Basil, Zones 4-10

9 Pest Fighting Plants That'll Save You This Summer

Sun: 6 hours of sun a day in a warm environment.

Water: Provide water at its base when soil is dry to the touch. Be sure not to water leaves.

Companion Plants: Tomatoes and parsley make great companion plants.

If you are looking for a beautiful aromatic plant to prevent flies as well as mosquitoes, then sweet basil is a great option. You can either place it inside near a window or outdoors in a flower bed.

Help this herb thrive by keeping its soil damp, well-drained, and allowing plenty of sun. It is suitable to be planted by itself or with other herbs that have similar maintenance needs.

Lavender, Zones 5-9

9 Pest Fighting Plants That'll Save You This Summer

Sun: Full afternoon sun with shade in hotter climates help lavender grow.

Water: Lavender thrives in well-drained soil.

Companion Plants: Wild indigo, babies breath, aster, and sedum.

Want more sun-loving plants? Check out these drought-tolerant flowers and plants.

Lavender is probably one of my favorites because it not only prevents bugs; it helps me sleep every night. This drought-resistant plant is excellent for beginners and does very well with full sun and good drainage. It’s adaptable to different climates but does best in warmer weather.

Also, it looks GORGEOUS! If you are trying to get rid of fleas, moths, mosquitoes, and flies, then you need some lavender in your life. Just be aware that this fragrant plant does attract butterflies, but who doesn’t like butterflies?

Chrysanthemums, Zones 5-9

9 Pest Fighting Plants That'll Save You This Summer

Sun: Full sun for at least 6 hours per day.

Water: Water with your lawn in the morning so the afternoon sun may dry leaves. Avoid leaving this plant wet too long.

Companion Plants: Dianthus plants and vegetables.

Use these stunning flowers to prevent ants, ticks, silverfish, lice, fleas, bedbugs, spider mites, harlequin bugs, root-knot nematodes, and even roaches. The blooms of chrysanthemums contain pyrethrum, which is a common ingredient in insect repellant and dog shampoo.

Give your garden protection that is effective and stunning to view. I recommend placing these in your vegetable garden to reap all of its benefits.

Petunias, All Zones (Annual) & 9-11 (Perennial)

9 Pest Fighting Plants That'll Save You This Summer

Sun: Full or partial sun for a minimum of 6 hours per day.

Water: Thorough watering once a week is ideal as petunias don’t go well with constantly soggy soil.

Companion Plants: Beans, basil, grapes, and tomatoes.

These flowers come in a HUGE variety of colors, which is part of why they’re so popular. If you would like to repel aphids, tomato hornworms, asparagus beetles, squash bugs, and leafhoppers, then this is your answer!

Petunias prefer plenty of sun but will do just fine if you want to place them inside the home. If any insects decide to wander into your home, chances are they will find themselves stuck to the petunia’s sticky hairs. Eventually, the roots of this pretty flower will absorb nutrients from the unlucky bug.

Peppermint, Zones 3-9

9 Pest Fighting Plants That'll Save You This Summer

Sun: Peppermint does well with a large range of sun, but prefers shaded areas.

Water: Keep soil moist but not soggy.

Companion Plants: Broccoli, kale, and cabbage.

Not only is mint a digestive aid, but it is also fantastic at preventing flies and mosquitos. Peppermint is toxic to mosquito larvae and will keep them from breeding. As a bonus, spiders can’t stand it and will stay away.

As a bonus, it smells truly divine. Just be careful planting mint, because it grows like crazy and can take over your yard.

Catnip, Zones 3-9

9 Pest Fighting Plants That'll Save You This Summer

Sun: Full sun for 6 hours.

Water: Regular watering with well-drained soil.

Companion Plants: Pumpkin, squash, and beets.

This pest-fighting plant is a cat magnet, but it is quite the opposite for pests. Place this inside your home or in your yard to scare off mosquitoes. It will also prevent termites and cockroaches from taking over your home.

Tansy, Zones 4-8

9 Pest Fighting Plants That'll Save You This Summer

Sun: Full sun is best, but will grow in partial shade.

Water: Well-drained, fertile soil.

Companion Plants: Corn, roses, squash, cucumber, and beans.

These marigold look-alikes are great at preventing flies, fleas, moths, mice, and ants. You can easily make a spray out of the tansy by combining 1 cup of fresh tansy leaves with 2 quarts of boiling water. Be sure to place your mixture into a heatproof container before transferring to a spray bottle. Do not drink this tea as it is toxic to consume. Use it as an insect repellant!

Citronella, Zones 9-11

9 Pest Fighting Plants That'll Save You This Summer

Sun: Slightly shaded area, but will tolerate full sun.

Water: Citronella loves water and should be watered regularly to avoid drying out.

Companion Plants: Marigold, basil, and lavender.

Try some citronella if you want to be singing ‘Goodbye Mosquitoes!’ This low-maintenance plant does well to prevent flies as well. Its strong but pleasant scent is what makes it so popular to use in insect repellant and candles.

Lemongrass, Zones 9-10

9 Pest Fighting Plants That'll Save You This Summer

Sun: Full sun for a minimum of 6 hours per day.

Water: Regular watering a bare minimum of every other day with misting.

Companion Plants: Mint, thyme, basil, cilantro, and lemon verbena.

Lemongrass works to repel flies and kills mosquito larvae. It requires full sun and smells divine. Be cautioned not to use this around pregnant women and new moms.


Benefits of Plant-Based Repellents

Plant-based repellents offer a natural alternative to chemical agents, reducing exposure to potentially harmful substances commonly found in insect repellents.

One of the primary advantages is that they are environmentally friendly; since they are derived from natural sources, they biodegrade quickly and are less likely to accumulate in the environment, which can help minimize the ecological footprint.

They are gentler on skin compared to some synthetic repellents. With fewer harsh chemicals, those with sensitive skin or allergies may find plant-based options more tolerable.

Many plant-based repellents are known for their pleasant aromas, which are often derived from essential oils like citronella, eucalyptus, and lemongrass, making them more enjoyable to use.

An often-overlooked benefit is that plant-based repellents can be sustainable if sourced responsibly.

For instance, they can be cultivated and harvested in ways that support local economies and farming communities.

Lastly, widespread use of these natural repellents can contribute to reducing insecticide resistance in mosquitoes, as they have different modes of action compared to conventional insecticides.

BenefitsDescription
Environmental ProtectionLess impact on ecosystems.
Skin-FriendlySuitable for sensitive skin.
Pleasant SmellNatural, enjoyable fragrances.
SustainableCan support local communities.
Resistance ManagementHelps mitigate insecticide resistance.

Plant Placement for Maximum Efficacy

When selecting plants to repel flies and mosquitoes, their placement is as crucial as the plant choice itself.

Effective placement can optimize the plants’ repellent properties, ensuring they serve as a natural barrier to these pests.

Entry Points:

Strategically position plants like the dense-growing lemongrass near windows, doors, and other entry points to deter mosquitoes from entering.

Studies suggest that certain plant species can provide household protection when positioned correctly.

Outdoor Living Areas:

For outdoor spaces where people congregate, such as patios or decks, container plants that produce repellent aromatics like citronella or marigolds may be more effective.

These can be moved around to areas of activity to increase their impact.

High-Traffic Zones:

In tropical regions, traditional use of mosquito-repellent plants has seen them placed in high-traffic areas within the community, reducing the number of mosquitoes that reach living and working environments.

Garden Planning:

  • Create a buffer zone with a selection of repellent plants surrounding the perimeter of the area to be protected.
  • Alternate different types of repellent plants to cover a broader range of active compounds.

Height & Coverage:

  • Ensure plants grow to various heights to create a diverse canopy, limiting mosquito access from above.
  • Dense foliage helps to maintain a continuous protection area.

For maximum efficacy, regular maintenance of these plants is vital. Pruning and proper care will keep them robust and enhance their repellent properties.

Safety and Considerations for Pets and Children

When incorporating plants that repel flies and mosquitoes into environments with children and pets, certain safety precautions need to be observed.

The use of repellent plants can be a great natural alternative. However, understanding the potential risks is crucial for maintaining a safe space for the more vulnerable family members.

For Children:

  • Ensure plants are non-toxic if ingested, as children may accidentally consume leaves.
  • Teach them not to touch their eyes after handling plants; some may cause irritation.
  • Confirm that the plant’s essential oils are safe for use around children.
  • For example, oil of lemon eucalyptus is not recommended for children under three years of age. For more, see ACPJournals.org.

For Pets:

  • Be aware that some plants can be toxic to animals if eaten.
  • For example, citrus-based repellents may harm pets.
  • Flea-repellent plants like chrysanthemums contain pyrethrins, potentially toxic to cats.
Pet-Safe Repellent PlantsConcerns
BasilNone for general use; avoid high concentrations of basil oil
LavenderSafe in moderation; excess can be harmful
LemongrassDo not let pets consume; mildly toxic if ingested

Remember, always conduct extra research or consult with a veterinarian for specific advice about pet safety around repellent plants.

Consider using physical barriers to prevent pets from accessing certain plants, and always supervise children in garden areas.

Previous article14 Jaw Dropping Bathroom Makeovers You Gotta See
Next article16 Easy Craft Room Organization Ideas

56 COMMENTS

  1. cats is allergic to cat nip believe it or not but a lot of others on this list I really like will have to see what is available locally

  2. Im from the tropics and knows lemongrass very well as we use it in cooking. Your picture is very different from lemongrass and looks like a spider plant on the ground.
    I planted petunias in hanging baskets this spring, dont know bout you but mine dont really repel aphids, rather it got really infested that i had to cut it back extremely short-almost to the roots- just to save it 🙂

    • Hi Cleng!

      I hope all is well. : ) Wow, yes, I remember when I lived in a more tropical climate. Bugs were tough and absolutely everywhere! Thank you for the heads up on the photo, it appears I had uploaded the incorrect file. All is fixed now and I greatly appreciate your feedback.
      Plants can be difficult sometimes, at least for a person like me. I am still learning how to keep them healthy (and safe from my munching pets). Thank you so much for your comment and please take care!<3

  3. Question about the Tansy tea. Can it be used as a spray-on or rub-on bug repellent on people? I have 2 large tansy plants in one of my raised beds. 🙂

    • These marigold look-alikes are great at preventing flies, fleas, moths, mice, and ants. You can easily make a spray out of the tansy by combining 1 cup of fresh tansy leaves with 2 quarts of boiling water. Be sure to place your mixture into a heatproof container before transferring to a spray bottle. Do not drink this tea as it is toxic to consume. Use it as an insect repellant!

  4. Great information. I have Citronella and love it. So beautiful and really effective against mosquitoes.
    Would like to know more about Lewiesia. (sp)

  5. I have a few of these this year. They help some. Just told my husband that next year we are going to have them all. I hate mosquitos.

  6. Helllo, I love ALL the beautiful plant. And my favorite one is the Lavender. I have a big back yard. And I may try some of these that is on the list. And thank you for this wonderful list too.

  7. I have the first 5 and the citronella. We have not had as much of a problem this year as we have in the past. Now I know why!

    • I googled it and according to WebMD :

      Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take lemongrass by mouth during pregnancy. Lemongrass seems to be able to start menstrual flow, so there is a concern that it might cause a miscarriage

  8. I copied the main information and put it so it can be easily copied and printed to take with you when you go shopping for plants.

    Sweet Basil
    Sun: 6 hours of sun a day in a warm environment.
    Water: Provide water at its base when soil is dry to the touch. Be sure not to water leaves.
    Prevents : Flies as well as mosquitoes.

    Lavender
    Sun: Full afternoon sun with shade in hotter climates help lavender grow.
    Water: Lavender thrives in well-drained soil.
    Companion Plants: Wild indigo, babies breath, aster, and sedum.
    Prevents: Fleas, moths, mosquitoes, and flies Attracts butterflies

    Chrysanthemums
    Sun: Full sun for at least 6 hours per day.
    Water: Water with your lawn in the morning so the afternoon sun may dry leaves. Avoid leaving this plant wet too long.
    Companion Plants: Dianthus plants and vegetables.
    Prevents: ants, ticks, silverfish, lice, fleas, bedbugs, spider mites, harlequin bugs, root-knot nematodes, and even roaches.

    Petunias
    Sun: Full or partial sun for a minimum of 6 hours per day.
    Water: Thorough watering once a week is ideal as petunias don’t go well with constantly soggy soil. repel aphids, tomato hornworms, asparagus beetles, squash bugs, and leafhoppers
    Companion Plants: Beans, basil, grapes, and tomatoes.
    Repels: aphids, tomato hornworms, asparagus beetles, squash bugs, and leafhoppers

    Peppermint
    Sun: Peppermint does well with a large range of sun, but prefers shaded areas.
    Water: Keep soil moist but not soggy.
    Companion Plants: Broccoli, kale, and cabbage.
    Prevents: Flies and mosquitos. Peppermint is toxic to mosquito larvae.

    Catnip
    Sun: Full sun for 6 hours.
    Water: Regular watering with well-drained soil.
    Companion Plants: Pumpkin, squash, and beets.
    Scares off mosquitoes. It will also prevent termites and cockroaches from taking over.

    Tansy
    Sun: Full sun is best, but will grow in partial shade.
    Water: Well-drained, fertile soil.
    Companion Plants: Corn, roses, squash, cucumber, and beans.
    Prevents: Flies, fleas, moths, mice, and ants. You can easily make a spray out of the tansy by combining 1 cup of fresh tansy leaves with 2 quarts of boiling water.

    Citronella
    Sun: Slightly shaded area, but will tolerate full sun.
    Water: Citronella loves water and should be watered regularly to avoid drying out.
    Companion Plants: Marigold, basil, and lavender.
    Prevents: Mosquitos and flies\

    Lemongrass
    Sun: Full sun for a minimum of 6 hours per day.
    Water: Regular watering a bare minimum of every other day with misting.
    Companion Plants: Mint, thyme, basil, cilantro, and lemon verbena.
    Repels: Flies and kills mosquito larvae.

  9. My favorite is citronella. Last summer, I planted two behind my outside sofa. By the end of the summer, they were two beautiful bushes…smelled lovely!

  10. This list is great! I live in Florida so believe it or not, my backyard is mainly shaded. I’m not bothered by mosquitoes but the rest of my family gets eaten alive. Do you know of any plants that repel flies and mosquitoes that don’t require as much sun?

  11. I have most of these plants and mosquitoes litterally make nests (especially) in my mint, sweet basil and lavender plants. I wish I could find something that works…

    • Hi. I have a bunch of bunnies in our surrounding woods. I’m a novice gardener, low on physical energy but determined. Planting veges & a pretty good size wild flower garden. I’ve decided to plant all the bunny’s favourites on the edge of the flower garden & nearest to their home. My hope is that they’ll fill up on their garden & spare mine. 🤷‍♀️ Have you since found any solutions?

      • Get some bars of Irish Spring soap! Using vegetable peeler, peel the soap and scatter where you don’t want bunnies eating. Bunnies and deer do not like the smell of the soap and should eat elsewhere. The soap will not harm your plants. Cinnamon works great to keep ants away!

    • I googled it and according to WebMD :

      Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take lemongrass by mouth during pregnancy. Lemongrass seems to be able to start menstrual flow, so there is a concern that it might cause a miscarriage

  12. Thank you for all of this useful information!! I shared it with all my friends, family and Church family!!

  13. Thank you for tips on these flowers because I need each one of them for the past around my house thanks, now to find out where to buy them. Do you know of a place where I can buy these plants? If so please email me thanks.

  14. How do you plant these , I noticed the planters I bought don’t have drainage, so should I put rocks on the bottom and then soil on top of the rocks?

  15. We use coke cans to put in the bottom of our big pots. Bend then in half and add enough for about one third of your pot. Put you planting soil on top and plant away. This gives good drainage, cost nothing and is much lighter than adding rocks.

  16. Would love ideas on plants that thrive in a sunny yard planted in the ground where we live in GA. We have “very nice” red clay for soil.😟 Repelling bugs + rodents is a plus, but having some beautiful greenery is a must.
    The only thing that has done well in ground are my bulbs and zinnias.

    • You might try Lantana. It will tolerate a hot summer well, comes in many colors, it attracts butterflies and if you crush the leaves and rub on yourself it’s a natural mosquito repellent.

  17. Very helpful, I have a raccoon problem, they steal my strawberries n walk on my others, they also attack n spill my bird feeders any ideas to help?? I don’t want to hurt them.

    • It might be worth setting out some food in a bowl for them. And a bowl of water, as they like to each their food. I know they eat cat and dog food, though I’m not sure if that’s super healthy for them. Still, if you set out door for them in a dish they’re less likely to bother your plants.

      My uncle has been hand feeding the wild raccoons in his yard for years 🙂

      Good luck!

  18. 
We are in the middle of a major backyard overhaul, our dumpster rental is full of debris and dead plants. I’m really excited to plant some of these, especially the lavender, to keep the mosquitoes away, thank you!

  19. Could you please leave the information as too whether it harms dogs and cats? Would really appreciate the information. Thank you!!

  20. The citronella plants work amazing and if you plant them they will grow very big within a couple months. I planted mine on both sides of my patio and along my fence.

  21. Thank you for the post. I have a garden and this is great to know the only thing that I would stress the importance of is to make sure that none of these are poisonous to dogs or people because Tansy is extremely toxic to humans and animals.

  22. I started using lavender, mint, citronella and lemon grass about 3 years ago around our decks and pool. They work great. But they work even better if the wind is blowing. If not I give them a little shake when I’m watering and if I’m having a get together I shake them just before. We installed an outdoor fan to the pool deck. When we’re by the pool I turn it on. Mosquito free! The only issue was I had all my plants in pots spread around. Going from the pool to the house we would get ate alive. So I bought my own seeds this year because if you’ve purchased these plants, you know they are quite pricey. I am planting them in the ground around the pool around my vegetable gardens and around the house. The mint, will take over so I may just leave those in pots I’m not sure got to do a little research on how to prevent from spreading so much but I am excited to not only have more mosquito coverage but also more money!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here