Plants that repel pests: photo

Do you want to get rid of ants, arphids, asparagus beetles, bats, bed bugs, cabbage butterflies, cabbage loopers, cabbage maggots, carrot flies, centipedes, cockroaches, codling moths, colorado potato beetles, corm earworms, cucumber beetles, cutworms, flea beetles, fleas, flies, gnats, imported cabbage worms, Japanese beetles, leafhoppers, lice, Mexican bean beetles, mice, moles, mosquitoes, moths, nematodes, peach borers, rabbits, rats, silverfish, slugs and snails, snakes, spiders, spider mites, squash bugs, squash vine borers, termites, ticks, tomato hornworms, wasps, whiteflies, wireworms using natural methods, such as plants? Perhaps, you’re not sure whether they are effective.

We have carried out an investigation and studied the scientists’ opinions and found out whether it is possible to repel rodents and insects with the help of plants. As we have learned, things are not that simple. Let’s get started. In 1999, the Cornell University scientists have drawn up a special chart of Pests and the Plants that Repel them while studying the properties of various plants disclaiming that “certain plants are believed to repel insects”. They’ve included all types of pests there, such as insects and bugs and also mentioned such animals as the moles, rabbits and mice.

We don’t trust this obsolete study and have thoroughly gone through other scientists’ opinions, added some up-to-date information on our hands, argued some points… and came to the following.

Plants That Repel Bugs, Rodents, and Insects

If we speak about rodents, they are not easily frightened so you’d have to try hard to repel them from your house specifically with the help of plants. The grand majority of scientists fail to mention natural repellents as an effective means of eliminating rats and mice. They do admit that many odors are disgusting for rodents but they also add that the animals quickly adapt to them and stop being repelled by them. The same happens with raccoons and other animals. We’ll list the herbs the smell of which they can’t tolerate in the table below, but the choice is always up to you.

Plants that repel

This is the easiest way to repel insects in particular. Here you can pick some natural components which would help you get rid of these creatures.

However, the business is not like a piece of cake as it seems at a first glance. Do not fool yourself into thinking that planting a couple of types of herbs in the backyard will be enough for repelling pests. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. For instance, there are plenty of mosquito repellent plants, but almost all of them are only effective if burnt. Also, many couch experts advise rubbing plant oils over oneself. Undoubtedly, this bears results but it can also be dangerous. You can get a burn or dermatitis. That’s why we recommend you to attentively read our article where we cover the correct use of natural repellents in details.

The following chart mentions all types of pests: the ones infesting gardens exclusively and the pests (both rodents and insects) which are found everywhere.


Repellent Plant



Mints, tansy, wormwood.

We believe that no plants that really repel ants exist and that it's far more effective to eliminate ants with the regular traps and poison gels. Don't expect quick results, though, as you'll have to work on eliminating intensively for about 2-3 weeks! Read our 7 Best Fire Ants Killers Review to find out all the secrets to getting rid of ants!


Most aromatic herbs and flowers that repel bugs, including catnip, chives, clover, coriander, eucalyptus, fennel, garlic, larkspur, marigold, mustard, nasturtium, peppermint, spearmint

Asparagus Beetle

Basil, calendula, nasturtium, parsley, tansy, tomato


Occasionally we come across such traditional methods of repelling bats such as ones using garlic or peppermint, but we have no confirmation that they work indeed. That's why we recommend some old school methods, such as sealing all of the cracks in the house while there are no bats and luring them into a bat house. Such tricks will prove extremely useful in the summer! Do you want to know why? Read our guide to the best bats removing ways to find out!

Bed bug

You won't get rid of these nasty bugs merely with the help of plants, as there are no bed bug repellent plants! The scientists don't recommend relying on repellents and IGR (insect growth regulator) products in this case, as they won't eliminate the bed bugs. If they have infested your house and bed, use a killer spray, and read our top list of the best bed bug killer sprays or bed bug mattress protectors

Cabbage butterfly

Southernwood, tansy

Cabbage looper

Catnip, dill, eucalyptus, garlic, hyssop, nasturtium, onion, pennyroyal, peppermint, rosemary, sage, southernwood, spearmint, thyme, wormwood.

Cabbage maggot

Garlic, marigold, radish, sage, tansy, thyme, wormwood.

Carrot fly

Basil, leek, lettuce, nasturtium, onion, rosemary, sage, tansy, tobacco, wormwood


Here the plants have no power as well. Centipedes can only be eliminated with the help of insecticides, sticky traps, and dust, and no repellents will be helpful! If you still don't know what kind of products are most effective against centipedes, read our review of the best Products for Killing Centipedes and Millipedes.


In case of cockroaches, such plants as bay, cucumber, citrus, and garlic and coffee grounds can do well as repellents. But they won't be enough to fully get rid of cockroaches, as it is necessary to deprive them of shelter and food and keep the house perfectly clean! In addition, you won't manage without insecticides, traps and bait. You can find the best ones in our review of the 12 best cockroach killers.

Codling moth

Garlic, wormwood

Colorado potato beetle

Catnip, coriander, eucalyptus, marigold, nasturtium, onion, tansy

Corm earworm

Cosmos, geranium, marigold, thyme

Cucumber beetle

Catnip, corn, marigold, nasturtium, radish, rue, tansy


Spiny amaranth, tansy

Flea beetle

Catnip, marigold, nasturtium, peppermint, rue, spearmint, southernwood, tansy, tobacco, wormwood


The chart never mentioned what repels fleas, but you can try that with the help of cedar, lime and sage. Look for the recipes in our guide to getting rid of fleas. Also, mind that it's far easier to prevent the flea infestation at home or on your pet than to deal with it later!


Basil and tansy are fly repellent plants, according to the University of Cornell scientists.
Thyme, citronella, lavender, eucalyptus, cedar, clove, mint, garlic and lemongrass can be considered plants that repel flies. However, synthetic repellents, mechanical ones and deadly traps are more effective against flies than the natural repellents. For more details about these methods, refer to our Best Fly Traps & Repellents Review.


If you're looking for a natural gnat repellent, you can perfectly use any proven natural mosquito repellents (such as citronella and lemongrass) such as these species are related and are thus eliminated similarly. The effect of these repelling plants is, however, not as strong as that of synthetic products. Hurry up and pick a suitable gnat & mosquito repellent!

Imported cabbageworm

Dill, garlic, geranium, hyssop, peppermint, nasturtium, onion, pennyroyal, sage, southernwood, tansy, thyme, borage

Japanese beetle

Catnip, chives, garlic, nasturtium, odorless marigold, tansy, white geranium


Geranium, petunia


Tea tree.
It is the tea tree oil that is used as a repellent as a preventive measure by many people who have to deal with lots of people by the nature of their occupation. Read How to Use Tea Tree Oil to Repel Lice to find out how to use it properly. However, if you have already got lice, you can get rid of them only with the help of designated pediculicides. To find out which brands can be trusted, read our guide about Head Lice Removal in 5 Steps.

Mexican bean beetle

Garlic, nasturtium, marigold, rosemary, savories



Most of the scientists are skeptical about any mice repelling plants. Nevertheless, many people are reluctant to use lethal products, such as poisons and traps, that's why ready-to-use mouse repellents containing fir, cinnamon, cedar, lemongrass and peppermint oils are extremely popular with the consumers. We would rather agree with the scientists and recommend you to try radical measures, which you'll find in our review of the Best Ways to Getting Rid of Mice.


Castor bean, narcissus



Basil, is that it? Cornell University scientists, are you kidding us? We have composed a huge article regarding mosquito repelling plants, and other plants, such as citronella, lemon, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and clove, turned out to be the leaders of our list. Organic essential oils, repellent sticks, and candles are manufactured on their basis. What is your choice against mosquito bites?


Have you ever heard about orange peel kept in closets? This ancient moth larva repelling methods works fine to this day. The moth larvae are also driven away by the odor of any citrus or their cousin, citronella, as well as cedar, thyme, clove, lavender, peppermint and bay leaves.

However, this won't scare adult species; you'll have to resort to synthetic chemicals and special traps. Take a look at our article about how to get rid of moths to know what are the best ways to kill these pests!


Calendula, french marigold

Peach borer



Garlic, onion, marigold

Without any doubt, garlic is a 100% effective rabbit repellent plant. Rabbits are also scared away by the smell of hot pepper and unusual objects and substances, such as blood, feather meal, and human hair. Read our review of the best rabbit repellents to find out everything!


Once again, pepper will save you. Raccoons, for instance, cannot stand Cayenne pepper, so if you mix it with Tabasco sauce, water or detergent you'll get a fine raccoon repellent. It won't be exactly organic, but will be effective for sure. The scientists recommend spraying the raccoons' favorite spots, such as trash bins, porch, etc. with said mixture. Are you interested in other raccoon removal methods? Then read more about them here.


Rats cannot stand the smell of such plants, as pepper and peppermint. It is not in vain that many car owners to this day keep peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls in the cabin and under the hood! Chili and wintergreen are also mentioned as the organic smells which can repel rats.


These insects cannot be repelled! The best you can do is depriving them of comfortable environment, i.e. eliminate any moisture and heat and carry out a thorough cleaning. Read our guide about getting rid of silverfish.

Slug and snail

Fennel, garlic, rosemary


Despite numerous arguments of the scientists, no snake repellent plants exist. You'd better use synthetic chemical repellents and traps as well as fencing when fighting the snakes. Don't waste your time looking for them as all of the best products have already been named in our review devoted to the best ways to keep the snakes away.

Spider mite

Coriander, dill

Squash bug

Catnip, nasturtium, marigold, peppermint, petunia, radish, spearmint, tansy

Squash vine borer



Just like many other rodents, squirrels don't like strong smells, as that of pepper (including red pepper), peppermint and garlic. Apply ready-to-use sprays containing said plants, and then it will be easier to repel squirrels. For more details about this and other smart repelling methods in our guide about getting rid of squirrels.


There are no termite repellents existing, to say nothing of plant repellents! The only exception is special wood treatment (but you have to take care of that before the actual infestation). Termites can only be removed with the best termiticides and traps, so get ready for a real war!


According to some reliable sources, cedar and lemongrass are the plants that repel ticks. Although the best protection from ticks is using DEET repellents, you can try applying some ready-to-use products based on these plants.

Do you want to know more about tick protection? Find the answers to your questions in our review of the 5 Best Tick Insecticides & Repellents.

Tomato hornworm

Borage, calendula, dill, opal basil, thyme


Peppermint is the best-known plant among those that repel wasps. Wasps hate its strong odor and fly away. This is the least aggressive and least effective way of getting rid of wasps out of all, though. We have listed here all of the most effective killers, sprays, and traps.


Basil, nasturtium, peppermint, thyme, wormwood




How to use garden plants properly in order to repel the pests

As you can see, all the pests in the chart can be classified as either the ones infesting gardens exclusively or the pests (both rodents and insects) which are found everywhere.

garden repellent plants

Let us elaborate on the garden ones. In order to repel these pests, planting some dill or garlic randomly won’t suffice. It is recommended to combine planting, i.e. the beds with the plants that are supposed to be protected from pests are to alternate with repellent plants. Such planting can prevent the nasty insects from finding their favorite plants as other horticultural crops will confuse them. This trick won’t do for eliminating garden rodents (moles, mice, and rats), you’ll have to use ready-to-use products based on essential oils of repellent plants.

Mind that repellent plants are only an alternative to more radical ways of removing insects and rodents! If you cannot repel the pests, you’ll be able to get rid of them with the help of traps, poisonous bait, insecticides, and zappers.