Plants that Repel Insects in Gardens

Have your garden be fresh and green without pesky bugs with these certain tricks.
Have your garden be fresh and green without pesky bugs with these certain tricks. | Source

Growing an Organic Garden

Keeping harmful bugs out of your garden seems to be a constant battle. Although we want to keep the insects away, we want an organic garden that does not use chemicals, especially when growing vegetables and fruit. Many years ago, before many of the pharmaceutical products were made, people relied on the natural effects of certain plants to keep away harmful bugs and worms from their garden very successfully, which shows us that we can do the same. They had a basic understanding of where to grow what plants to avoid certain creatures.

Plants to Grow to Get Rid of Pests

Pest Problem
Plant to Grow
Ants
mint, lavender, rosemary, garlic, thyme
Aphids
buckwheat, basil, catnip, garlic
Mosquitoes
peppermint, rosemary, marigold, lemon balm, garlic, clove, eucalyptus, tea leaves, lavender
Japanese Beetles
tansy, rue, garlic, catnip
Slugs
rosemary, daffodils

Photo of Garlic

Garlic repels more than just your date, plant it in the garden to keep away the pesky pests.
Garlic repels more than just your date, plant it in the garden to keep away the pesky pests. | Source

Garlic Repels Japanese Beatles, Aphids, Mosquitoes and More

If you need to keep Japanese beetles, aphids, mosquitoes away, garlic is a great plant to grow. For one it is very easy to grow and extremely effective at keeping insects away. Garlic is a good choice when you want a plant that takes up little space, although there are some foods you do not want to plant it near, such as legumes (beans), strawberries, potatoes, and peas. These do not grow well with the garlic plant. Also, garlic is one plant that needs to be moved from year to year, as it does not grow well in soil two years in a row.

If you want to use garlic as a repellent, then you want to plant them in a circle surrounding the garden that you want to protect. Many choose to plant garlic around cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts to ward away aphids, since aphids are very attracted to all four of these veggies. The one downside to planting garlic as a deterrent is the smell. If you plant too many, it may overpower the nice smells that often comes from a well-tended garden.

Another option is to use garlic in a water solution. Then spray the solution on plants to protect them from nasty bugs.

A Pretty Rosemary Photo

Rosemary is very pretty and good to plant around picnic areas.
Rosemary is very pretty and good to plant around picnic areas. | Source

Rosemary Keeps Mosquitoes, Slugs, and Gnats Away

Rosemary is a beautiful herb that has leaves similar to pine needles with varying colors of blossoms. Not only does it smell nice, but also repels mosquitoes, cabbage moths, Mexican bean beetles, gnats, and slugs. Unfortunately, they are not the easiest plant to grow, and it is suggested to start it from a large nursery plant rather than a seed, because it takes a while to fill in as a plant.

Once grown, it is a very tolerant plant, as long as the temperature does not drop below thirty degrees. If it drops below thirty in your area, you may want to consider planting it in a pot, where you can bring it inside on nights you know it will be very cold. Potted rosemary is great to put around your picnic area to keep away the mosquitoes.

Tansy Picture

These take up lots of room in a garden and harmful to animals, although repel a large amount of creatures.
These take up lots of room in a garden and harmful to animals, although repel a large amount of creatures. | Source

Tansy Repels Japanese Beatles, Fleas, Flies, Mosquitoes, Moths and Mice

Tansies are a very nice choice if you want to keep away a large variety of bugs, including Japanese beetles, squash bugs, cucumber beetles, mosquitoes, moths, flies, and more. The biggest drawback is it can become a nuisance in the garden, because it grows very easily. Most people choose to plant this near squash and cucumbers, because it works as a great companion plant, and wards away some of squashes and cucumbers worst predators. It also makes a great companion plant to most vegetables and flowers.

It is a very large plant, and can grow six feet tall, although it usually only reaches three feet. If you have livestock on your property, you do not want to grow this plant, as it can be fatal to these animals. Even if you plant them far away from your animals, the seeds can spread across fields and grow wild in their pasture.

Mint

Should be planted inside a flower pot, because it can be very invasive otherwise.
Should be planted inside a flower pot, because it can be very invasive otherwise. | Source

Plant Mint to Repel Mice and Ants

Mint is a great plant to have around your house. It keeps ants and mice away. When the leaves are crushed or even rubbed, they are most effective as a natural repellent; therefore, choosing a place where they may be accidentally stepped on or rubbed against is not necessarily a bad thing. The one drawback to choosing mint is that you want to be mindful how you plant this very invasive plant. One great way to prevent mint from crowding other plants is by digging a hole large enough for a large flowering pot. Plant the flowering pot in the ground, then fill it with dirt, and plant the mint within the pot. This will limit where the mint will grow, and it can be easily maintained. Each spring, you will need to dig up and repot it, because pots will begin to break down, allowing the roots to spread.

Lavender

Gorgeous addition to your garden.
Gorgeous addition to your garden. | Source

Lavender Keeps Moths, Fleas, and Mosquitoes Away

Lavender is a very beautiful, nice smelling choice when warding off harmful bugs from your garden. It can be very difficult to grow, and is often not chosen due to its high maintenance. It does best in rocky, dry land; therefore, not generally ideal in most gardens. If you want to incorporate it in your garden, the Hidcote and the Munstead are the best choice in wetter climates. Munsteads are usually bluish-purple flowers, whereas Hidcotes are a dark purple. Aside from its ability to keep away some nuisance bugs, it also grows well with majority of vegetables and flowers; therefore, makes a great companion plant. These are great to dry and place in a satchel, because it will keep moths out of your closets and drawers.

In order to choose the best herb to protect your garden, you want to keep in mind, how invasive it is, is it harmful to animals, and what odor does it have. Also, keep in mind what insects are most prevalent in your area. Once you have chosen what plant you want to grow, choose carefully where and how you plant them. For instance, make sure mint will be confined to an area, like in a flower pot underground, in order to prevent it from affecting other plants. Also make sure that the herb you choose grows well with the plants you are planning to protect. For instance, do not plant garlic near your strawberries. Last, but not least, have fun, make your garden beautiful, and easy to maintain.

© 2012 Angela Michelle

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Comments 19 comments

angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

Livestock would have to eat it on a regular basis to make it fatal, but mostly it will upset their stomach, one time use. It has a chemical called PA or pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which upsets their stomach. I am not sure which part of the plant contains this toxin.

I have not heard of it being bad for chickens, but it is bad for horses.


rbm profile image

rbm 4 years ago

Interesting what you say about Tansies. What is it that is fatal to livestock, their leaves, flowers, or the whole plant? And what about chickens, is it bad for them too?


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

Goodlady, I did not run across one that deters snakes. My mom would like to plant that one, if it is found. LOL


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

Alicia, feel free to share your success or troubles. It will help all of us who want to use plants.


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

How interesting. We have a massive rosemary bush outside the bedroom window which is perfect since we live in a mosquito area ( actually I'd noticed how few we are getting since the bush grew so big) hmmm. And we have a massive lavender which I'm pleased deters mice. It's not deterring snakes though; saw a nice one having a sleep under there last summer.

I'm telling my daughter in law about the tansy since she hates bugs...the smaller the bug the more she hates them.

Wonderful Hub, thanks.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for all the useful suggestions for repelling pests naturally, angela_michelle. I would much rather repel pests in my garden with plants than with chemicals! I'll keep the information in this hub in mind as I plan my garden this year.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

I am so glad to hear that it works!


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

Especially in areas like your porch where you might sit.


Bedbugabscond profile image

Bedbugabscond 4 years ago from United States

I have got to plant some rosemary. Where I live we ALL have to battle gnats. They drive us all crazy and we mostly lose the war. I wonder if planting enough rosemary might help! Thanks for the Idea.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

Chrissie, that is a good question. Actually tansy is dangerous for dogs. I don't believe the rest of them are. I know there are ivys that are bad for dogs. Tansy won't kill your dog, but it could upset their stomach.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

Just Ask Susan, yeah, they might love garlic, but it's a good idea. Put them in a pot, so that way if they are bothered by the dogs, you can move them.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I was thinking maybe planting garlic in and around my patio area to keep the mosquitoes away but my dogs love garlic and would probably eat it.


chrissieklinger profile image

chrissieklinger 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

I'm looking forward to planting some of these near my veggies this year. Would tansy, or any of these, be dangerous to dogs?


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

I should try planting spearmint, I bet I'd love it!


hirundine profile image

hirundine 4 years ago from Nelson, B.C. Canada

Haha! ........ Nope, mint loves to spread but i find it an attraction. I have two or three different ones. My fave is spearmint and is lovely in gin and tonic. No problem, just weed it from areas I want.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

I did read that about Rosemary, and unfortunately I think a lot of these can cause allergies to flare in the right person.

By the way, have you not had any success in containing mint?


hirundine profile image

hirundine 4 years ago from Nelson, B.C. Canada

While not a sufferer, Tansy causes people with allergies some discomfort. It grows wild in southern British Columbia. A plant with natural dying ability.

Rosemary, I have to keep in a pot because it is intolerant to cold. It is also intolerant of low light conditions and find a grow lamp useful on it through January. Also susceptible to spider-mites. However one is rewarded with delightful rosemary fragrance throughout winter. As well as herbage for cooking. These days my garden is small, living in a small town environment. Yet apart from garlic, which I grow on an occasional basis. All of those plants can be found in my yard.

BTW. I would not count on a pot to contain mint? ....... lovely hub as usual michelle_angela!


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

Oh, I should probably point that out as well. Thanks!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I had to laugh at your caption "garlic repels more than your date." I did use garlic in a small garden once and it did keep those pesky rabbits and deer away. Thanks for the wonderful share for gardening. Voted up.

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