10 Best Insects & Bug Repellant Plants For Your Garden

10 Best Insects And Bug Repellant Plants For Your Garden
Image: Envato Elements

Plant-based repellant has been used for years in traditional practice and protection against insects and bugs. Most plants contain essential oils which are nature’s bug repellant and they also contain compounds that they use in preventing phytophagous which are plant-eating insects hence you can have some of these plants planted to make your own natural bug repellent but simply including bug and insect repellent plant in your landscape alone won’t itself rid your garden of insects. 

The use of plants as bug and insect repellents has been exploited for centuries and it is still widely used in many countries however there is not enough research in this area to support this but there are simple herb plants that can keep a bug off your property and there is also a carnivorous plant that can eat insects and keep your vegetable garden productive.

It is hard to enjoy a cool calm moment in your garden with the irritating buzz of an insect approaching and your hopes of enjoying a cup of coffee on the nation might be ruined hence we have gathered 10 best insects and bug repellant plants to grow in your garden.

Top Insect And Bug Repellant Plants to Grow In Your Garden

Few plants repel insects without you needing a spray but first, we advise making your living area clean and less friendly to mosquitoes by getting rid of any standing water and you also cut back any high grass to and for those who like to give the natural route a try, here are some of the best insect and bug repellant plants for your garden.

1. Lemongrass 

Lemongrass is an effective insect and bug repellant and there is doubt on its ability to repel mosquitoes and houseflies. This isn’t just a name of one plant rather it is an umbrella name for the plant of the Cymbopogon family and there is a natural oil that can be found in lemongrass that gets rid of insects. With its pleasing aroma and effectiveness, it has become one of the most popular all-natural insect repellant plants (1). 

This grass does well in a pot or the ground in a well-drained sunny location and all you need to grow it is lemongrass or lemongrass oil, water and a pot and when using the plant itself, grab a bunch of leaves.

2. Basil

Basil. mint, parsley, coriander - 10 Best Insects And Bug Repellant Plants For Your Garden
Image: Envato Elements

The fastest natural way to repel mosquitoes and bugs is with the use of basil plant as there is oil in basil that kills mosquito eggs. This plant naturally emits it’s aroma so there is no need to crush the leaves or prepare it in any way and it also makes a delicious pesto sauce and tasty salads. 

Fresh basil leaves can be used to make insect repellant spray instead of spraying yourself with some chemicals (2), simply pour four ounces of boiling water into a container holding 4 to 6 basil leaves, let the leaves steep for several hours then remove the leaves while squeezing the moisture into the mixture, thoroughly have it mixed with vodka, to be stored in the refrigerator and used as a spray when going outdoor. 

3. Marigolds

Marigolds have a scent that will easily help keep insects like mosquitoes, nematodes like worms, cabbage and other pests like bugs away. Marigolds are sun-loving plants that are often used by farmers as companion plants to keep pests away. It can attract beneficial insects that attack and keep aphids away as they give out an airborne substance called limonene that protects against flies (3).

4. Petunias

Petunias make a beautiful addition to any garden, it has a bright coloured purple hue and came from the nightshade family and they make alkaloid substances that work as a weapon in getting rid of insects that try to eat them (4). Petunias add a burst of colour to your garden while also repelling pests that want a bite of your vegetables.

5. Rosemary

Rosemary is harmful to mosquitoes and some varieties of insects and this is a herb plant many of us are familiar with,  it can be grown in containers on a patio and the plant itself and it’s cutting are effective insect repellant. Rosemary can help protect your vegetable plants from infestation and their woody scent is what keeps insect away plus you can use it when cooking at home.

6. Lavender

10 Best Insects And Bug Repellant Plants For Your Garden

Lavender repels moth, fleas, flies, and mosquitoes and this is because it contains a non-toxic compound called linalool which can be found in many pest control products. It has been used for centuries to add a pleasantly sweet fragrance to homes and clothe drawers. The smell from lavender is loved by many people but hate by insects, it can be planted in sunny areas of the garden or near the entryways to your house.

7. Sage

Sage repels the same insects as rosemary, it is a perennial plant that can be grown on a patio, in planters or planted into landscaped beds. The fresh and dried sage released natural essential oil when crushed and you can simply have this rubbed on your skin to release the oils and create a barrier between you and insects. A strong burning sage is also a great way to keep mosquitoes away.

8. Catnip

Catnip acts as a natural repellant to insects and bugs although this is a herb it’s of those people don’t eat, instead, cats are attracted to it and it contains a chemical called nepetalactone which attracts cats but repels insects. Catnip plants are relatively easy to grow and you can have it planted from seeds or as plants outdoors in the spring or fall (5).

9. Alliums

The plants in the allium family serve as a good repellent to bugs and insects. Onions, chives, leeks, scallions and shallots fall into this group, they repel numerous insects and are regarded as a broad-spectrum natural insecticide (6). They grow tall with purple white or pink flowers and contains a substance called lectins which help to protect other veggies from worms, slugs and flies though they attract moths. Alliums will also keep aphids off rose bushes.

10. Pitcher Plants

The pitcher plant is also referred to as the trumpet leaf and this doesn’t attract mosquitoes or insects rather it attracts and eats them and uses them as nutrients to grow. This is the largest carnivorous plant and it is an exotic looking plant that is often grown as a curiosity plant and the insects that often falls victim to this pitcher plants are ants, flies, wasps, bees, slugs, beetles and snails (7).

This plants can be grown in pots sitting in a saucer of water as this is the easiest way to grow them, however, don’t keep the growing medium to too wet, it just needs to be moist. 

Final Thoughts

Insect repelling plants repel insects and bugs with their natural fragrances which might be nice to humans but keeps annoying insects away and introduce wonderful scents throughout your garden.

The strategic and natural way to keep insects and bugs away if you do not want to douse yourself or your garden in chemical bug spray is to grow some of the plants listed above and ornamental plants have also been included to help keep plant attacking insects at bay while also helping your vegetable beds stay attractive and your ornamental beds attractive.

Jane Walton
Jane Walton is a mum of two living in the countryside with her husband and four-legged fury, Jasper. With a degree and passion for Plant and Agricultural science, Jane writes articles that help readers figure out what, why, and how to better understand their home and garden. She currently presides over that section here at UnAssaggio.com overseeing everything to make sure you get it right the first time.