Plants that Repel Bugs

If your outdoor area has become an insect magnet, or even your interior space during the summer months when all the windows and doors are open, it’s time to invest in some plants that repel bugs.

If you want to tackle the nuisance bugs, you’ll be pleased to know there are a number of herbs, flowers, and shrubs that promise to fight back against unwanted bugs such as flies, gnats, mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and other undesirables.

To help you enjoy the great outdoors, try tactically placing these insect-repelling plants in your garden or on your patio. Read on to discover which plants can help you out during your time of need.


This bold scented herb works to repel unwanted house flies and mosquitoes. Plant basil in containers and place on windowsills, by your house doors and in outdoor areas where you often entertain or relax.

Asides from being delicious in salads, soups, and other dishes, fresh basil can also be used to create a DIY insect repellent spray. This simple recipe requires four ounces of boiling water, which you will need to pour into a container, and four to six ounces of clean, fresh basil leaves (you can leave the stems on if you wish).

Allow the leaves to steep for several hours, before squeezing all of the leaves’ moisture into the mixture. The next step requires you to add four ounces of vodka to the mix. Store in the fridge and apply as a spray before going outside.


This sweet smelling herb works to repel flies, moths, fleas and mosquitoes. It has in fact been used for many centuries to add a pleasant perfume to homes and clothes drawers. Although the majority of us adore the scent of lavender, unwanted insects detest it.

For best results, dot tied bouquets around your home and plant it in sunny areas of the garden or near entrance ways. You can also use the oil from the herb’s blooms as a mosquito repellent by applying it to exposed skin before venturing outside.


Another herb that works to repel mosquitoes is lemongrass. You’ve likely seen citronella candles in stores and for sale online during the summer months. Citronella is a natural oil found in lemongrass, which is in fact an impressive ornamental plant that can reach heights of up to four feet tall and a width of three feet wide.


Mint should be grown in containers rather than in the ground as it can spread aggressively. With a little effort, the plant’s aromatic oils can be removed and combined with apple cider vinegar and witch hazel to create a great mosquito repellent. You may also wish to place pots of mint in the garden or on the patio to keep your outdoor areas and plants insect free.


A member of the mint family, this herb contains a chemical called nepetalactone, which works wonders to attract cats but also repels an array of insects including flies, deer ticks, mosquitos and cockroaches. These plants are pretty easy to grow and can be planted from seeds outdoors in the spring or autumn months.


The Allium giganteum, whose flower heads adorn stalks of up to an impressive six feet tall, are deemed as a broad-spectrum natural insecticide. They are able to deter a variety of unwanted insects, which are often a nuisance in vegetable gardens, including the likes of slugs, aphids, cabbage worms and carrot flies.


These pretty plants not only add colour and energy to your garden, they also rid your outdoor space of ants, roaches, Japanese beetles, ticks, lice, silverfish, fleas, harlequin bugs, bedbugs and spider mites. The ingredient in chrysanthemums that makes them deter unwanted bugs is pyrethrum – it’s also highly toxic for any insects that ingest it.


The scent from various types of marigolds ward off aphids, mosquitoes and even rabbits. Farmers also use the roots to repel nematodes, although these can take a year to take effect. Other unwanted insects they deter include whiteflies – which is good to know if you’re a fan of growing tomatoes.


Petunias are often nicknamed nature’s pesticide as they have the ability to deter aphids, asparagus beetles, tomato hornworms, squash bugs and leafhoppers. They also add a hot hue to your outdoor space and require minimal maintenance to thrive.


Geraniums can rid gardens of leafhoppers and other types of nuisance insects. One type of geranium, Pelargonium citrosum, is often referred to as the Mosquito Repellent Plant. When in bloom, they boast a series of pretty flowers with a lemon-like scent, which helps keep bugs at bay.

Floss flowers

Floss flowers contain a chemical used in bug repellent sprays called coumarin. Mosquitoes hate the smell of this chemical, which is also found in the ornamental plant sweetgrass.

These small, flowering plants boast beautiful pink, blue and white blooms, which thrive in both the summer and autumn months. They are a great addition to rock gardens, can be used as an edging shrub or added to flower beds.

For best results, ensure they are placed in extremely fertile soil and fertilize your plants regularly.

Pitcher plants

These plants trap and ingest unwanted insects. They come in the shape of the largest group of carnivorous plants and appear extremely exotic-looking in style, fragrance, and hue.

Once insects have crawled inside the pitcher, they find themselves on a slippery surface with downward-facing hairs. The insect usually slips or falls into a pool of water.

The plant then digests the insect, which is usually an ant, a fly, a wasp, a bee, beetle, slug, or snail. Pitcher plants thrive in boggy areas in the wild and require a sunny spot that stays moist.

If growing them at home, try placing them in pots sitting in a saucer of water in an area that receives a good amount of sunshine.

As you can see, there are a wide array of plants that can help to repel bugs, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor space in peace. These are available online or at your local garden center and most should be relatively low-cost.

Start growing some plants. Should you prefer flowers or plants, garden centers, and online florists have an abundance of choice, many of which offer same and next day flower delivery.


Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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