If there’s one thing that can quickly turn a pleasant afternoon spent in the backyard into one that has you running for the indoors, it’s an influx of insects buzzing around and biting at you. Take back your outdoor space and try adding these plants that repel insects. As an added bonus you won’t need to cover yourself in bug-spray or douse your lawn in harsh chemicals.
Who doesn’t love a bit of fresh basil in their food? While not only delicious, basil has the ability to actually kill mosquito eggs and house flies. Plant basil in containers and place them by your house doors and near areas where you’ll be entertaining. This way you and your guest will be bug-free and you can easily reach over and add some basil to your meal or a cocktail.
While us humans tend to love the smell of lavender, insects hate it! Adding lavender to your backyard will help ward off insects such as flies, moths, fleas and mosquitoes. You can add cut lavender to the inside of your home to keep houseflies out. Be sure you have a sunny spot to plant your lavender if you want to add it to your garden.
Another delicious herb that does double duty as an insect repellent. Did you know citronella comes from lemongrass? Citronella is the natural oil that is produced from the plant and is often found in mosquito repellent products. Plant some lemongrass in your garden and watch it grow as much as 4 feet tall in one season!
It’s recommended that you grow mint in a pot rather than in the ground because it spreads quickly and aggressively. You don’t want to trade in a bug problem for a mint infestation. This pleasant smelling plant will help to repel biting insects such as mosquitoes. Keep it in a small planter on a patio table so you can easily reach out and add some to your summer beverage of choice.
We’ve listed a few double-duty herbs, but what about one that does triple duty? Rosemary is fragrant and delicious, repels mosquitoes and actually helps protect your vegetable plants from infestation. If you’re not already growing rosemary in your garden, what are you waiting for? Rosemary can be planted in the ground or put into planters for easy access when cooking.
Petunias have been called nature’s pesticide and there’s a good reason for it. These brightly coloured flowers can help to repel aphids, squash bugs, beetles, leafhoppers and tomato hornworms. Petunias are easy to grow and care for but do require a fair amount of sun. Because of this, try planting them near your vegetable garden or in a window box facing a window that gets plenty of sun.
Another super flower when it comes to repelling bugs. In fact, a compound found in chrysanthemums called pyrethrins is used in many commercial insect repellents. Due to this compound, chrysanthemums can ward off mosquitoes, beetles, roaches, silverfish, ticks, lice, fleas, mites, spiders and even bedbugs! That’s a lot of bugs for one beautiful flower! Try growing some for yourself in your garden this summer.
The scent of these pretty flowers is enough to keep aphids and mosquitoes out of your yard. Marigolds are often used by farmers to keep pests away (including rabbits!). Marigolds do best in sunny spots, so consider their location before you plant.
If you’re looking for a beautiful flower that will help protect your vegetable garden, then we’ve got just the plant for you. Nasturtiums can be planted next to tomatoes in your garden to help keep whiteflies, aphids, beetles and squash bugs away from your plants. If you’re growing cabbage, add some nasturtiums as insects known as cabbage loopers will lay their eggs on the flowers instead of your cabbage.
Now that you know some beautiful and delicious options when it comes to plants that repel insects, all that’s left to do is pick which ones to add to your garden! Tell us in the comments which ones are your favourites and if you’ve had any success with plants that aren’t on this list. Stay bug-free and enjoy your backyard all summer long!
Cover image courtesy of Bunnings.