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Flowers to Repel Pests in Vegetable Gardens

Updated on September 25, 2012

Having a vegetable garden is a wonderful thing - the taste, the aroma, the sense of pride! I love sharing the fruits of my harvest with friends and family. But, I don't like sharing the fruits of my harvest with garden pests. Of course, I don't like dousing my vegetables with pesticides either. What is a green gardener to do? Thankfully, there are flowers to repel pests in vegetable gardens. Also known as companion planting, the idea of planting flowers, vegetables and herbs together to repel pests and/or to attract beneficial insects is simple to put into practice.

Before You Get Started

  • Correctly identify the pests and beneficial organisms present and note when they occur most commonly.
  • Make frequent or at least weekly checks for pest activity.
  • Coordinate planting and harvest dates to avoid certain pests.

Plants The Repel Pests

  • Marigolds - a childhood favorite, marigolds emit and oder that repels many insects, including asparagus beetles and tomato worms.
  • Catnip - catnip will repel ants, aphids, flea beetles, cockroaches and japanese beetles.
  • Lavender - besides offering lovely beauty and fragrance, having Lavender in your garden helps repel ticks, moths and mice.
  • Garlic - Garlic repels aphids, coddling moths, root maggots, snails and Japanese beetles.
  • Rue - in addition to being a great host plant for butterfly eggs, Rue repels flies, onion maggots and slugs.
  • Dill - Finally, a plant that can repel squash bugs, and, to a lesser extent, aphids and spider mites. Planted near tomatoes, dill can also help repel tomato hornworms.
  • Peppermint - Peppermint helps to repel ants, aphids, cabbage lopers, flea beetles, cabbage worms, squash bugs and white flies. You can plant peppermint near susceptible plants or make a tea from the crushed leaves and spray it on infested plants
  • Rosemary. Dried and powdered rosemary leaves are used as a flea and tick repellent; simply dust the powder around where your pet sleeps.
  • Basil - Like Dill, Basil planted near your tomato plants will help keep away tomato hornworms.

Plants That Attract Beneficial Insects

In addition to planting flowers and plants that repel pests, you can also plant with the intent of attracting beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, green lacewigs, parasitic wasps, and syrphid flies. Yes, a parasitic wasp is actually beneficial in your garden because it kills pests, such as tomato hornworm, by depositing eggs on the body of its victim. Here is a list of plants that attract beneficial insects.

  • Angelica
  • Buckwheat
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Cilantro
  • Clovers
  • Coneflower
  • Coreopsis
  • Cosmos
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Mustard
  • Queen Anne's Lace
  • Tidytips
  • Wine cups

Tips for Companion Planting

There are several ways to put beneficial herbs and flowers to work for you. You can plant them bordering your vegetable garden or you can intersperse them throughout your vegetables. You can also use containers as a way to bring pest repelling and attracting flowers and plants into your garden area. Take the poll at the right and tell us how you are making use of beneficial herbs and flowers in your garden.

I hope these tips and suggestions help you maintain a healthy balance in your garden with limited use of pesticides. Your flowers and vegetables would thank you if they could.

How Do You Use Flowers/Herbs for Pest Control

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    • Written Up profile image

      Written Up 5 years ago from Oklahoma City, OK

      Thanks Marlene. I'm not yet growing mint, but I'm going to plant that next. I'm loving ny herb garden! Glad you are enjoying yours too.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I have a few of the items you mention, like lavender, peppermint, basil, and rosemary. But, I'm only growing them as tasty herbs. I never thought about using them as pest repellents. Thank you for your very helpful tips.

    • Written Up profile image

      Written Up 5 years ago from Oklahoma City, OK

      Catsimmons, thank you for the feedback. Yes, making ones veggies patch beautiful may also help encourage more people to plant veggies. Great point!

    • catsimmons profile image

      Catherine Simmons 5 years ago from Mission BC Canada

      Really useful information! A great idea and you can make you're veggie patch beautiful this way too! Voted up :-)