List Of Insect Repellent Plants (10 Effective Choices)

The Insect Repellent Plants1 mentioned in this article would help protect yourself and keep your surroundings safe.

What Are Insect Repelling Plants?

While plants can fall prey to insects, many have compounds like repellents, toxins, and feeding deterrents that prevent phytophagous 2(plant-eating insects), mosquitoes, and biting Diptera.

This method is used by humans with plants in hanging baskets, burning them to drive away mosquitoes, and applying in the form of oil to one’s skin (used in Ancient Times).

Types Of Insect Repellent Plants

Although the efficacy of this natural method hasn’t been proven individually, it can be one of the steps you take to prevent insects.

By growing insect-repellent plants, your garden beds and vegetable garden will remain safe. The added benefit for your safety is that it doesn’t involve chemicals or a sticky spray.

The insect-repellent plants mentioned below can help prevent flies, mites, slugs, aphids3, beetles, tomato hornworms, maggots, and larger animals.

1) Basil

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This aromatic plant basil 4– part of the mint family, can be used for many purposes, like cooking veg and non-veg dishes.

Famous in South Asia, Basils vary from sweet to citrusy lemon flavours and are an iconic addition to Soups, curries, and fries. Its pungent smell can annoy pests, flies, and mosquitoes.


1) Basil Oil as mosquito repellent spray can be used for skin protection

2) Through companion plantings, like basil with root vegetables, tomato plants, and peppers, your vegetable garden will remain safe, and the mosquitoes won’t bite you.

3) Burning the leaves acts as a bug repellent. You can also scatter them for minimal protection.

If you plan to use basil, make sure that it is damp, has good drainage, and is kept in a sunny area. They can be planted in garden beds or containers, indoors or outdoors. Click here to know more about this in detail.

2) Lavender 

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Part of the mint family, this aromatic shrub has been used for centuries for its sweet fragrance. However, it falls right under the category of insect-repellent plants due to the same smell (the compound – linalool).

Lavender oil extracted from the plant does the trick, as proven by studies – indoors, it might diffuse up to 93% of mosquitoes, and outdoors, 58%.


1) Make a natural insect repellent, however, be cautious about using it on your skin; it might also cause itching and redness. But, it also is good for the skin and helps in sleeping.

2) Use it with a carrier oil; this daily moisturizer can repel bugs.

3) You can also use it as one of your body wash’s fragrant and essential oils.

4) Lavender sprays and sachets are other options.

Overall, this natural pest control plant is healthy due to its antifungal and antiseptic properties.

Plant in a sunny area with a good drainage facility or near entryways to keep your indoors pest free. Click here to know more about it.

3) Chrysanthemums 

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Part of the daisy family, this plant has the ingredient – pyrethrum, which kills insects that fly and jump, mainly used in insecticides and sprays.

But, it can be harmful to the environment unless it is natural pest control. The compound is famous for its biodegradable quality and for not harming birds and mammals.

Loved by gardeners due to its variety of colors and shapes, all the insects will stay away from it, especially bugs.


1) They can also repel ants, roaches, Japanese beetles, silverfish, lice, ticks, spider mites, root-knot nematodes, and pesky insects like bed bugs.

2) It can be used with companion planting, as a spray, and as concentrated dust.

Click here to know more about growing this as one of the insect repellent plants in detail.

4) Nasturtiums

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Famous for ‘companion planting5,‘ this plant grown in vegetable gardens can trap insects and distract them from other vegetable plants like tomatoes, cabbages, and beans, making it a ‘trap crop,’ more than one of the insect repellent plants.


1) While the airborne chemical repels insects and attracts others in the vegetable garden, they are a great choice to plant with others, considering they still attract bumblebees important for pollination.

2) Apart from squash bugs, they can also repel whiteflies, cabbage moths, and many beetles.

3) Another benefit of using them is that they are easily planted and require minimal care; they mostly thrive under sunlight and in moist climates.

4) You can also grow them in containers.

Click here to know their history and more details on planting.

5) Petunias

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Considered ‘nature’s pesticide’ – Petunias are known for their colors and minimum maintenance, grown anywhere, from outdoors to containers, hanging baskets, and garden or flower beds.

Petunias might last longer when planted in sunny, light, and well-drained soil (mostly spring). Vegetables and herbs like tomatoes, pepper, and basil, can be planted in companion planting.


1) They can repel leafhoppers, squash bugs, asparagus beetles, and aphids.

2) They act as a trap with their sticky stamens, so the insects die and don’t harm the plants.

Click here to know how to grow and care for these insect-repellent plants in more detail.

6) Alliums 

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This natural pest control plant contains a broad spectrum of insect-repellent plants used against aphids, slugs, cabbage worms, and carrot flies that attack vegetable gardens.


1) Garlic and onions repel mosquitoes with a strong fragrance among the edible allium plants.

2) These can be planted with potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, and carrots.

3) Others like shallot, chives, and onions are famous ingredients in cooking.

4) Alliums are drought-tolerant and grow in acidic soils, whether as plants or flowers.

Click here to learn more about these insect-repellent plants.

7) Mint

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A perennial plant like mint repels mosquitoes and annoying insects. The essential oils found in many mint plants can also be helpful. 

They can be grown both inside and for selling in the market, especially during the spring and fall season. Although relatively easy to care for, they might invade your garden area.

Here’s a list:

1.7.1) Sage

This staple ingredient, found in gardens and kitchens, can also be used as a mosquito repellent, but the efficiency isn’t proven. These become insect-repellent plants whose strong odor bothers insects.

This can be grown in dry soil, with hot temperatures, and under full sun. Sage is also used as one of the essential oils, burnt to bring out the smell, and as a homemade bug spray. It can also be planted in landscape beds or on a patio.

Click here to get a natural Diy method for this plant.

1.7.2) Catnip

As the name goes, the chemical nepetalactone6 found in this plant only attracts cats but can repel mosquitoes, deer ticks, flies, Colorado potato beetle, and cockroaches, making it one of the insect-repellent plants.

Catnips are proven to be effective mosquito repellents, especially the Greek catmint oil, which can keep you safe for 2-3 hours, more useful than the chemical DEET.

Click here to know more.

8) Pitcher Plants

pitcher plants
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The largest group of carnivorous plants – lure the insects into the pitcher with the help of their nectar, color, and fragrance. They get trapped in a slippery slope filled with digestive fluid and die.

The insects digested by this plant are – wasps, bees, flies, ants, slugs, beetles, and snails. These become added nutrition for the pitcher plants.

They grow naturally in wetlands (with decayed plant matter), the key is to keep the surroundings moist.

Keeping them indoors is not advised due to the smell these plants produce. They can grow in a hot greenhouse better.

Click here to know about other insect-repellent plants under the carnivorous category.

9) Marigolds

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These annual flowers have a smell that deters insects like mosquitoes, aphids, nematodes, Mexican bean beetles, Japanese beetles, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies.

Even though marigolds are grown in flower beds and vegetable gardens with other house plants, the evidence on whether they protect them from all insects, except nematodes, has not been proven yet.

They are best grown in sunny locations but take extra care as they can be destroyed due to powdery mildew, gray mould, and root rot.

Click here to know more about these insect-repellent plants.

10) Lemongrass And Citronella Grass

A natural oil found in Lemon Grass – Citronella7 can act as a natural mosquito repellent. It is used for ornamental purposes and mostly in herbal teas. They can also repel different kinds of flies like stable, houseflies, and sandflies.

Citronella grass is considered quite effective under plants that repel pests.

Apart from being insect-repellent plants, these two kinds of grass are also known for perfumes, essential oils, medicinal, and food preparation uses. 

A key difference while annoying mosquitoes is that lemongrass essential oil can be applied to the skin for protection. At the same time, citronella grass has to be used with caution if it causes any irritation.

Click here to know in detail.

Other Kinds Of Insect Repellent Plants

The above-listed plants are not the only ones that can keep away pesky bugs, and repel flies and other annoying insects. You can also try planting these:

1) Lemon Thyme

This plant is a hardy herb found in shallow, dry, or rocky soil which can grow in your rock or herb garden to repel mosquitoes.

They can be more effective as insect-repellent plants than DEET; however, try bruising the leaves first to release the necessary chemicals. Cutting the stems and rubbing them in your hands would work.

Fact: Thyme as a herb falls under plants that repel cabbage loopers, corn earworms, tomato hornworms, cabbage maggots, and whiteflies.

Note: Thyme oil should be used with caution, especially if your skin is irritated with mint plants. Avoid consuming them during pregnancy.

Click here to know in detail.

2) Rosemary

These insect-repellent plants with purple flowers can be useful to keep away mosquitoes, cabbage moths, carrot flies, and other insects that harm vegetables. It is due to their woody scent.

These can thrive in containers (best for winters), hot and dry conditions – preferably sandy soil with direct sunlight. Due to their various shapes and sizes, they can be planted near borders and as decorations.

Click here to learn about this herb in detail.

3) Bee Balm

This plant can keep bad pests away while attracting beneficial insects like bees and butterflies. Other names include Monarda or Horsemint. 

The fragrant oils from its colorful flowers of different shades like red, purple, white, and lavender do the trick.

If you want to know more about growing and caring for Bee balm as insect repellent plants, click here.

4) Floss Flower

A chemical used in numerous sprays to repel bugs – Coumarin is found in floss flowers. This helps in keeping mosquitoes away specifically.

These insect-repellent plants are more popular during the summer and fall seasons and can be found in rock gardens and borders. They thrive in fertile soil.

Get the complete guide for this plant here.

5) Geraniums

This flowering plant can repel leafhoppers and mosquitoes in hanging baskets and flower beds. One variety is also known as the ‘Mosquito repellent plant.’

Scented geraniums have a lemon fragrance that keeps bugs, ticks, flies, and fleas away. They thrive more in dry and sunny conditions. Click here to know more.

6) Petunias

Also known as ‘nature’s pesticide,’ this plant can repel aphids, tomato hornworms, squash bugs, asparagus beetles, and leafhoppers.

They have many colors, are low maintenance, and can be planted both indoors and outdoors, especially under full sun.

They are helpful with companion plantings like beans, peppers, and basil as they trap the insects which harm these plants.

Click here to get more detailed information.

Are These Plants Enough To Keep Insects Away?

Much research is still pending to prove these plants can solely keep away insects. However, these are other natural measures you can take as well:

1) Keep your surroundings clean – that is, get rid of dark holes, wipe down surfaces regularly, and use a natural cleaning product.

2) Breeding areas are the main for the growth of these insects, you could make sure to prevent these, for instance – Standing water, can be eliminated to keep away mosquitoes.

Click here to read more about insects that might harm you and take precautions accordingly. Happy Informative Reading!  

  1. Maia, Marta Ferreira, and Sarah J. Moore. “Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing.” Malaria journal 10 (2011): 1-15. ↩︎
  2. Bernays, Elizabeth A., and Reginald F. Chapman. Host-plant selection by phytophagous insects. Vol. 2. Springer Science & Business Media, 2007. ↩︎
  3. Kennedy, J. S., and H. L. G. Stroyan. “Biology of aphids.” Annual Review of Entomology 4.1 (1959): 139-160. ↩︎
  4. Simon, James E., et al. “Basil: A source of aroma compounds and a popular culinary and ornamental herb.” Perspectives on new crops and new uses 16 (1999): 499-505. ↩︎
  5. Parker, Joyce E., et al. “Companion planting and insect pest control.” Weed and pest control-conventional and new challenges 10 (2013): 55044. ↩︎
  6. Lichman, Benjamin R., et al. “The evolutionary origins of the cat attractant nepetalactone in catnip.” Science Advances 6.20 (2020): eaba0721. ↩︎
  7. Wany, Aakanksha, et al. “Chemical analysis and therapeutic uses of citronella oil from Cymbopogon winterianus: A short review.” International Journal of Advanced Research 1.6 (2013): 504-521. ↩︎

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