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11 Types of Fly-Repellent Plant

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Throughout the year, particularly the summer, your garden will become host to a range of insects that wish to enjoy the heat and sunshine alongside you and your guests. One insect that will invade the party atmosphere is flies, which thrive in warm weather, and are very irritating when they come buzzing around your food. Fortunately, we have found the best fly-repellent plants that will help to distract and get rid of flies more naturally. In this article, you will discover which of these fly-repellent plants will be best for you and your garden to enjoy the summertime in tranquillity.

1. Basil

basil plant

Basil is the most common type of fly-repellent plant. Whilst it has very beneficial properties in the kitchen, it is also useful for repelling flies and other insects. It releases natural oils that evoke a juicy, earthy aroma that will detract flies and other outdoor pests.

You can keep basil in your kitchen or around other plants in your garden to prevent flies from getting close to them, although they are harder to maintain when kept indoors.

2. Bay Laurel

green bay laurel fly repellent plant

Another member of the fly-repellent plant range is the Bay Laurel. It is easily identifiable with its yellow flowers and the way it can grow upright.

As a shrub, bay laurel can create a space that is almost impenetrable for a fly to get access to. If you are caring for a rare breed of flower, it is worth planting it around a bay laurel so that it can protect it from being eaten by flies and other pests.

Bay laurel is also great for adding an intense flavour into food, such as pasta sauce and curry. You can see why it will detract flies because the smell and taste alone will be too much for a fly to handle, making it a key member of the fly-repellent plant family!

3. Catnip

purple catnip fly repellent plant

Whilst catnip is commonly known to attract cats (hence why it is used in their toiletries), it can help push away flies due to its strong scents and oils and is also easy to grow and maintain. A worthy fly-repellent plant.

You can decorate a catnip plant around your pathways and doorways to help prevent flies from gaining access to your home. It is a tolerable fly-repellent plant and will require minimal water or fertilizer to stay alive.

Like other plants on this list, like mint and pennyroyal, it is better to keep catnip in a pot for easier transportation around your home and garden.

4. Carnivorous plants

carnivorous plants as a fly repellent plant

Venus flytraps will be one of the more preferred examples on this list, as they are the most well-known carnivorous plants and are more efficient and effective in getting rid of flies and other insects.

Although they will not detract flies from entering your garden, should a fly land on a flytrap and brush the tiny hairs on the end of its mouth, it will kill the fly.

Alternative carnivorous plants which will get rid of flies also include:

  • Pitcher plants – can usually catch frogs.
  • Yellow pitcher plants – these plants trap unknowing bugs that fly into it and will usually drown them when they fill up with rainwater.
  • Cobra lily – the colour of this plant will trick flies and will instead enter deeper inside when they try to escape.
  • Butterwort – these will trap flies that attach themselves to the plant, and bugs will be unable to escape it.
  • Monkey cup – should flies enter the inside of the cup, the monkey cup will inject larvae inside to eat the flies.
  • Australian sundew – what looks like raindrops on the plant is a glue-like substance that will trap insects onto it.
  • Bladderwort – these can be found in the water and trap tiny insects inside their cup-shaped leaves.

Most of these fly-repellent plants are tropical, so you will unlikely find them in the UK. Unless you can treat them under the right conditions, they will not leave much mess whilst repelling unnecessary creatures in natural ways.

Find out more about precautions for growing plants indoors and potential funguses. 

5. Lavender

purple array of lavender fly repellent plants

This popular ornamental plant is perfect for decorating your garden with its Mediterranean aroma, which will put flies off visiting your garden. Like other fly-repellent plants on this list, the potent oils that lavender emits will stop flies and other pests from ruining your other flowers and is a worthy addition to this list of fly-repellent plants.

You can even decorate lavender around your home, to prevent flies from entering.

6. Lemon Balm

lemon balm fly repellent plant

Despite being a citrus-rich plant, the strong lemon flavour of the lemon balm will detract flies from wanting to go near the plant. Even the zesty-ness and sticky feel of the lemon balm are great features for this fly-repelling plant.

The key ingredient in lemon balm is the compound citronellal. Even if you cannot find or afford lemon balm, purchasing some citronellal will be perfect for repelling flies and other insects, including mosquitoes.

7. Marigold

marigold fly repellent plant

The distinct colours of the marigold would make you believe it is not part of the fly-repellent plant range due to its attractive colours. However, this is not the case. Marigolds are incredibly versatile and have been scientifically proven to keep numerous pests out of your garden, especially whiteflies, due to how they can produce an insect-repellent spray that can be released indoors too.

So long as you keep marigolds in warm weather with plenty of sun, you can get a long-lasting life out of them and make your home and garden a fly-free environment.

8. Mint

green mint fly repellent plant

The fresh, distinct smell of mint is sweet for anyone who smells it, apart from flies and other pests. In addition, the minty oils that this fly-repellent plant produces between the stem and its flower will put bugs and other rodents away from it and will be an excellent feature for your garden.

Despite its ordinary, green appearance, it will immediately repel any flies that come near it with its sweet smell and taste, and you even grow mint indoors as well, so long as it gets enough watering.

9. Pennyroyal

pennygold fly repellent plant

Also known as mentha pulegium, pennyroyal is worth investing in for how powerful it is as a fly-repellent plant. Whereas others on this list put flies and other bugs off due to their smell and taste, the spearmint-like scent of pennyroyal is also toxic to the level, which will be a particular problem when ingested.

It is best to keep pennyroyal in your garden, away from pets if you have any, and grown in a pot due to its invasive qualities for other garden plants.

10. Rosemary

rosemary fly repellent plant

Rosemary is great for being a fly-repellent plant due to the prospects of its intense smell, which also makes them a great addition to the kitchen.

Even a few sprinkled sprigs of rosemary are enough to prevent any insect from going near it. Rosemary can be well-maintained with enough direct sunlight and low humidity, therefore suitable enough to be grown indoors and outdoors.

Rosemary is very similar to lavender, for being a hardy plant, and you can even shape them into a hedge to make the most out of this fly-repellent plant.

11. Sage

sage green fly repellent plant

Sage joins many other kitchen herbs on this list of fly-repellent plants, and its qualities for having a strong aroma and taste will also put flies and other insects approaching it.

Whilst it has its symbolic, fluffy grey leaves to contrast the colour of your garden, drying and burning these leaves will create the best results for getting rid of flies – also known as ‘smudging.’

Even in the summer, when you are about to host an evening meal outside, burning sage will set the scene perfectly by making your garden a fly-free zone, and combined with rosemary, it will double down on their fly-repellent features.

You may find that our garden chair furniture along side a teak banana bench surrounding a large fire pit will be perfect for these evening meals too.

Turn your garden into a fly-repelled zone

With so many options to choose from on this list, you may struggle with choosing which fly-repellent plant will be best for your garden. You may be already familiar with many of the plants on this list; all these plants are precious for their qualities both in the garden and in the kitchen and will certainly save the amount of effort it takes to get out the fly spray and swats.

FAQs

What are fly repellent plants?

Fly repellent plants are specific types of plants that naturally emit scents or compounds that repel flies and other flying insects. These plants act as natural deterrents to keep flies away from your home, garden, or outdoor spaces.

How do fly repellent plants work?


Fly repellent plants contain natural compounds or fragrances that flies find unappealing. These scents can confuse or repel flies, keeping them away from the area where the plants are located. The specific mechanisms may vary depending on the plant and the compounds it emits.

How should I use fly repellent plants in my home or garden?

Place potted fly repellent plants near windows, doorways, or outdoor seating areas to help deter flies.
Consider planting these plants in your garden, especially around areas where flies are commonly found, such as garbage bins or compost piles.
Crush the leaves of certain plants, such as basil or mint, to release their natural scents and intensify their fly-repelling effects.

Do fly repellent plants work indoors as well?

Some fly repellent plants can be effective indoors, especially in areas with good air circulation. Place potted plants near windows, in the kitchen, or in other areas where flies tend to enter. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness may vary depending on factors such as the size of the space and the presence of other attractants.

Can fly repellent plants completely eliminate flies?

While fly repellent plants can help reduce the presence of flies, they may not completely eliminate them. The effectiveness of these plants can vary depending on factors such as the species of flies in the area, environmental conditions, and the number of plants used. It’s often beneficial to combine the use of fly repellent plants with other fly control methods for best results.

Are fly repellent plants safe for pets and children?

Most fly repellent plants are considered safe when used as intended. However, some plants may cause mild irritation if ingested. It’s a good practice to research specific plants and their potential effects before introducing them to areas accessible to pets or children. If in doubt, consult with a veterinarian or a plant expert for guidance.

Sources

Royal Horticultural Society. (n.d.). Fungus gnats. [Accessed 26/05/23] Retrieved from https://www.rhs.org.uk/biodiversity/fungus-gnats

Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

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