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Garden planning: the best plants to repel insects

Last modified: 2021-07-30 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

Amanda Harvey

Insects are part of life, as they play a vital role in maintaining the biodiversity of an outdoor space. However, in a backyard, they can be harmful and cause inconveniences both big and small.

For example, some homeowners may deal with Japanese beetles that devour the leaves of their plants, or with persistent mosquitoes that want to feed on the blood of their party guests. In these specific situations, the presence of insects is not welcomed nor desired.

Some peoples' first instinct in this situation will be to cover their grass and plants with insecticides, believing that this is the only solution to this type of problem. For obvious reasons, this is not the best option when it comes to health and ecology.

Fortunately, there are plants that have the effect of repelling these small beasts that are too voracious. These plants can be easily integrated into your flower beds to create a pleasant outdoor space. They can be placed strategically to reduce the number of insects in certain places. For example, why not consider putting a few near entrances and windows or next to your patio to keep bugs at bay?

Here are the top 14 plants that will work to repel insects

Fine Herbs

Several species which can be classified as the herb-family have properties that can make certain insects flee. As a result, it can be interesting to place them strategically on land or in a garden and watch what happens!

1) Basil

In addition to adding a beautiful flavour when cooking dishes, basil is very useful in gardens as it helps to keep flies and mosquitoes away. We’d suggest installing basil-filled planters near doors and windows to block insects before they can even enter the house.

2) Rosemary

Rosemary seems to be one of the champions when it comes to insect protection. This plant is excellent at repelling mosquitos as well as many other types of pests.

3) Mint

Many insects turn up their nose when they taste a mint leaf, and that's a good thing! Mint tastes and smells very strong, and is a very invasive species. Therefore, it’s advisable to put it in pots instead of planting it inside a garden or a flower bed.

4) Lemongrass

The repellent properties of lemongrass are fairly well known, as many products using this plant are available from stores and businesses that offer natural forms of insect care. Lemongrass repels mosquitoes, and many other types of insects are not big fans of this plant either.

5) Thyme and lemon thyme

This very fragrant herb also repels mosquitoes, especially when you take the time to cut a few branches, as this causes the chemicals in the plant to be released into the air. In addition to adding a lot of flavour to herbal teas and lemonade, it helps to scare away certain insects, including tomato sphinx, cabbage looper, cabbage maggot, corn worm and whiteflies. Therefore, this plant is very useful as an addition to gardens.

6) Oregano

A very useful ingredient in cooking, oregano acts as a repellent for mosquitoes, cabbage moths and cucumber beetles.

Other herbs that can help repel insects, including parsley, dill, bay leaves, fennel or lemon balm.

Plants of the Alliaceae family (Allium)

These types of plants are particularly effective against a wide variety of critters. Therefore, it’s advisable to plant them near your flower beds and around other fruits and vegetables more susceptible to insect attack.

7) Chives

Chive seedlings can help to scare those famous Japanese beetles that cause so much damage to gardens. They also repel carrot flies and aphids.

8) Garlic

Garlic doesn’t just work to scare away vampires! In fact, you can plant it everywhere and create a product that you will spray on the leaves of other plants. Onions and leeks, which are also part of the same family, have insecticidal properties too.


In addition to being beautiful, some flowers have insect repellent properties. All the more reason to grow pretty flower beds around your home and in your garden!

9) Marigolds

Marigolds are small delicate flowers whose properties are underestimated. Rather bitter in terms of taste, their smell is distasteful to aphids and mosquitoes.

10) Petunias

Petunias are rather shrewd as behind their pretty colours, they hide sticky stamens that work to trap insects who are attracted by the smell they emit. Typical victims of this flower include insects of the Crioceris family, tomato sphinx, insects of the Coreidae family, leafhoppers as well as aphids.

11) Chrysanthemums

The beautiful chrysanthemums have a secret weapon that allows them to protect the environment around them against several types of insects. This includes Japanese beetles, spider mites, murgantia histrionica, ticks, nematodes, silverfish as well as bedbugs. Without working miracles, they prove to be a good ally when it comes to avoiding unpleasant invasions.

12) Lavender

In addition to emitting a divine scent that will spread throughout your yard, lavender helps flush mites, fleas, mosquitoes and flies. This plant needs a lot of natural light, so make sure that it’s planted in a sunny area.

Other flowers that can scare away insects

For this purpose, Nasturtiums, geraniums and daffodils are quite effective!

Other types of plants

13) Catnip

This plant that drives cats crazy is not well-liked by insects, especially mosquitoes! It works to help reduce the number of critters in your yard. One downside is that you may have more feline friends showing up in your yard.

13) Carnivorous plants

Unsurprisingly, carnivorous plants can be very effective at reducing the number of insects in a garden because they are voracious!

Toxic to insects, harmful to animals?

Do you have pets? If so, there is a good chance that you are already aware of the fact that some plant species are harmful to cats, dogs, rabbits and birds. To avoid creating a dangerous environment for your beloved animals, do your research for each species of plant.

Additional tips to reduce the number of insects in your backyard

Insects arrive when the environment is welcoming. Without creating a hostile space (one harmful to humans and other animals), there are some other things you can do to reduce the presence of critters around your home. Some examples are as follows:

  • Eliminate stagnant water sources;
  • Clean the gutters;
  • Replace any rotting wood structures.

Want to create a pleasant environment in your yard? Use landscaping and exterior renovation specialists to find a solution that suits your tastes and needs. For examples of landscaping and other outdoor renovation projects completed by contractors affiliated with, check out our article 10 examples of landscaping projects!

Get 3 renovation quotes for your landscaping project can help you get quotes for your landscaping project. If you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with 3 qualified professionals. Fill out the form on our homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will receive quotes from trusted renovation specialists.

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