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Insect Repellent Plants

Natural insect deterants

Nobody likes to see flies or get bitten by mosquitoes in their home or garden. If this has been a problem for you this summer then here are some tips to help. While some people are convinced that flies and mosquitoes can be repelled by certain plants others are more sceptical. Give these suggestions a try and see how you get on – at the very least these plants are pretty and smell nice!

Remove the attraction

Flies in particular are attracted to rubbish and foul smells. Good hygiene will discourage flies so ensure that bins are covered and pet litter cleared away.

Stagnant water is attractive to mosquitoes so keep pond pumps working. However, wasps also like stagnant water and they can actually help rid your garden of unwanted pests.

Clear away weak or decaying plants that insects like to live in. 

Insect Repellent Plants

Citronella Grass  - A tropical plant that can grow up to 6 feet tall. The oil from Citronella Grass is used to make mosquito repellents and is often used in candles.

 - Catnip is a herb favoured by cats but can be very effective at repelling mosquitoes.

Rosemary   -
 This garden herb also has an oil that repels mosquitoes and can be used in cooking. They are a tropical plant and will need warm shelter during the winter.

Marigolds   -
 An annual with bright flowers ranging from yellow to dark red. Marigolds have a particular smell that many insects (and slugs) dislike. They are often planted near vegetables to keep slugs away.  

   - Particularly effective at repelling flies. Easy to buy and grow – keep some in a pot near your back door. Penny royal is a similar plant but probably a bit harder to find.

Other plants include eucalyptus and lavender that can repel plants with their smell and natural oils.

Carnivorous Plants

Venus Fly Trap   - The most well known but, far from being a novelty, a Venus Fly Trap will catch any flies buzzing around your window sill and is easy to care for.

Beneficial Insects

Not all insects are bad. Beneficial insects are those that help keep your garden healthy. Bees are a good example as they help pollinate our plants. Ladybirds, hoverflies and wasps like to eat plant-destroying pests. Remember, that any chemicals you use could also damage these beneficial friends so use them carefully or not at all.

Attracting birds with a bird feeder and/or bird bath may also be a good idea as they like to eat insects.


Apparently, conkers can keep spiders away! Try it for yourself by placing conkers near likely spider entrances. However, spiders help to catch flies and other pests. Spiders even help reduce numbers of other spiders. Try to avoid chemical controls and opt for a natural balance and understanding of the 'pests'.