Return to Content

Plants that Repel Insects and Garden Pests | Natural Gardening

Plants that Repel Insects and Garden Pests | Natural Gardening
8 votes, 4.75 avg. rating (93% score)

Have the summer insects and pests been “bugging” or attacking you and your prized plants? Why not introduce plants that repel insects and garden pests naturally. These herbs and flowers deter mosquitoes, black flies, slugs, snails, ticks, moles, deer, ants and horn worms and work with nature to combat the not-so-welcome insects and pests that invade your lawn and garden in the summer.


Plants that Repel Insects and Garden Pests

Marigolds: These compact flowers, with their brightly colored hues of yellow and orange, have a strong, distinct smell that makes this a plant that repels insects like mosquitoes and black flies. A great border plant to have around your home and outside seating areas. Marigolds work even better when planted near tomatoes to help to repel the dreaded tomato horn worm. Deer are not fond of the scent of marigolds either, and may decide not to munch on the more tempting fruits and veggies if they’re planted close by. These flowers will continue to bloom all summer and throughout the fall as long as they are deadheaded on a regular basis. Deadheaded buds may be dried and the seeds saved for next year.

Citronella: Yes, it’s actually a plant, and not a chemical! The strong citrus smell of this plant will repel insects like mosquitoes and black flies. A great container plant to have on your porch or deck to complement and work with marigolds to ward off predatory blood-thirsty insects.

Catnip: This herb does double duty as both a natural mosquito repellant and  a fun treat to entertain our feline friends — not only as it’s growing but also after it’s dried — as it can be packaged up and made into sachets that your cat can enjoy anytime throughout the year!

Garlic: It’s not just for vampires! Garlic wards off garden pests such as slugs, snails, ticks, and some grubs. Japanese beetles avoid garlic as well, though these pests are all but impossible to eliminate altogether. Garlic also helps to keep mosquitoes at bay. The added bonus is that you can eat it too!

Castor Oil Plant: This plant is said to discourage moles and mice from invading lawns as well as being effective on deterring deer and many species of ants.

Find out more about plants that repel insects in this article about companion planting.

Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley Fleming-Wigglesworth is a certified Maine Master Gardener and award winning newspaper columnist from Kennebunk, Maine. She has been writing for the York County Coast Star for more than a decade as a freelance columnist and features writer. In 2010 she began writing her own gardening column “The Master Gardener’s Notebook” for Tourist News. She also teaches gardening classes at local schools and colleges
Yankee Magazine Advertising

$10 Introductory Offer
plus, get the Tablet Edition FREE!

In this issue: Thoreau's Maine

  • Best Chowder: We Found It!
  • 5 Best Historic Home Tours
  • Spring Comes to Narragansett Bay
Subscribe Today and Save 72%

5 Responses to Plants that Repel Insects and Garden Pests | Natural Gardening

  1. Nita February 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    Informative,citronella is said to repel wasps.

    • Shelley Wigglesworth February 10, 2013 at 9:21 am #

      Thanks for the tip-certainly worth trying!

  2. June Adrion May 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    Is garlic and onions good to use to get rid of ground hogs? Any kind of plants?

Leave a Reply

We reserve the right to remove or edit comments that are offensive or disrespectful to our readers and/or writers, cannot be verified, lack clarity, or contain profanity. Your comments may be republished by Yankee Magazine across multiple platforms.

Register Sign In

©2013, Yankee Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Yankee Publishing Inc., | P.O. Box 520, Dublin, NH 03444 | (603) 563-8111