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Repel Insects in Your Garden


Your garden is an oasis of tranquillity and relaxation, and nothing can ruin it quicker than a buzzing (or stinging) cloud of insects. Mosquitoes, spiders, slugs, wasps, and moths can all transform your garden from a place of calm to a source of worry and irritation. It’s time to kick them out!

While there are plenty of commercial pesticides on the market that can kill insects, they can also destroy the environment and blanket your grass and plants with toxic chemicals. Instead of using harsh chemicals and poisons, rely instead on natural solutions.

People have been using plants to repel insects for millennia. Certain herbs and flowers release pungent odours that send spiders, mosquitoes, slugs, moths, and wasps running for the hills. Relax amongst your plants and trees and really take everything in without any pests ruining your enjoyment. Whether you are sitting on your beautiful Lutyens bench or picnicking in the grass, try these solutions to repel insects and take back your garden!

Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

When it comes to mosquitoes, the biggest concern is the harm that they have on humans (rather than the harm they can do to your plants). Not only are mosquitoes an annoying and pesky pest when you’re trying to enjoy an evening cocktail or family barbecue in your garden, but they can also carry dangerous illnesses.[1]

If you want to protect your garden from the scourge of mosquitoes, the first thing you need to do is drain all of the standing water near your home. This can include rain barrels, standing bird baths, dog bowls, and ponds. If you do want to have a pond or bird bath, make sure that they are connected to a motor and the water is constantly flowing.

You should also get rid of all of the unnecessary junk and debris in your garden, as mosquitoes can lay eggs in damp fabrics and puddles. Not only will this make your garden look and feel its best, it will send the mozzies packing.

Of course, you also can plant many different herbs and flowers that will repel mosquitoes. This natural method of insect repellent is not only better for the environment, these herbs and flowers can be used for cooking and decoration. Who wants a basil garlic pesto with a side of ‘sayonara mosquitoes?’

  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Marigolds
  • Eucalyptus
  • Mint
  • Rosemary


Plants That Repel Moths

In some ways, moths are the neglected cousins of the prettier butterfly. But while people tend to love seeing a visiting butterfly darting amongst their flowers, they can be ‘creeped out’ by fluttering moths. Not to mention, their caterpillars do enjoy munching on young leaves and can destroy your plants.[2]

That said, moths can actually be quite beneficial for the health of your plants, and can provide vital pollination services. However, many of the 2,500 moth species in the UK are in decline and threaten our eco-system, so it’s a good idea to repel them naturally instead of with harsh chemicals.

Instead of spraying moth repellent and setting harmful traps, consider planting some of the following plants. They will gently and naturally send moths on their way.

  • Artemisia vulgaris
  • Galium odoratum
  • Tanacetum vulare
  • Cat mint


Plants That Repel Flies

Flies are common pests that can wreak havoc on your garden. While buzzing, annoying filth flies are attracted to your decaying vegetation and piles of manure, they are the ones you need to worry about.

No, it is the fruit flies, whiteflies, bulb flies, and fungus gnats that want to dine on your hard work.[3] These voracious little insects just love to munch on all kinds of plants. They’ll suck the cell content, line your roots with their larvae, and lay their eggs in your flowers. Over time, they will stunt the growth of your plants and leave them discoloured and wan.

Sure, some people choose to use harmful insecticides to attack flies, but you can repel them in gentler ways. There are plenty of plants that keep flies away. Some of the best herbs to plant to prevent flies from calling your garden home include:

  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Mint, Catnip, and Pennyroyal
  • Tansy
  • Bay Leaf

These potent herbs will have hungry flies packing their bags and heading on their way and will protect your garden from their greedy appetites.


Plants That Repel Spiders

In some cases, spiders can be helpful in your garden, as they can eat the pests that destroy certain plants. Recent studies show that crab spiders are able to detect the distress signals given off by flowers, and come to the rescue to fight off insect predators.[4]

However, they can also drive away the very pollinators that are key for guaranteeing the success of the plant – bees. By frightening bees away, spiders can destroy your garden and prevent it from thriving. Of course, some people with a fear of spiders have a much more guttural reason for wanting to say goodbye to arachnids!

If you want to keep spiders away from your garden (and therefore further away from your home), consider planting some of the following herbaceous plants. Their lovely and pungent smells will not only keep your garden spider free, but will scent your garden with lovely fragrances throughout the year.

  • Eucalyptus
  • Citronella
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus
  • Cedar

Thankfully you can say goodbye to these eight-legged pests by planting these perfumed beauties.


Plants That Repel Wasps

While it’s lovely to have friendly buzzy bees come by the garden, wasps are a different story. These winged meanies seem intent on stinging and pestering, building their paper nests and making themselves at home in your garden.

Wasps are a hazard around pets and young kids, and they can ruin a barbecue or picnic with their violent stings. On top of ruining your nice time, they can also ruin your garden. Yes, they can eat grubs and prevent caterpillars from moving in, but they can also feast on ripe fruits.[5] And did we mention the stings? Ouch!

Say goodbye to wasps in your garden by planting the following pungent herbs:

  • Wormwood
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme

Plants That Repel Slugs

Slugs are not just slimy and repulsive to most, they are particularly ravenous feeders that love to annihilate certain plants in your garden. They love to feast on young seedlings and leaves, which means that all of your new growth will be vulnerable to their hunger. The first thing you should do when trying to repel slugs is to look under rocks, debris, and containers, as well as under piles of mulch.


However, while most sources will tell you to attack slugs with poisons and pesticides, you can drive them away with a wide variety of different plants. The plants listed below are not only delightful flowers, they exude natural scents that drive slugs away. Say goodbye to slugs and hello to some of these lovely flowers and herbs:


  • Acanthus
  • Achillea
  • Agapanthus
  • Alchemilla (lady’s mantle)
  • Anemone
  • Antirrhinum (snapdragon)
  • Aquilegia
  • Aster
  • Astilbe
  • Astrantia
  • Bergenia (elephant’s ears)
  • Campanula
  • Centaurea
  • Dicentra (bleeding heart)
  • Digitalis (foxglove)
  • Eryngium
  • Euphorbia
  • Ferns
  • Gaillardia
  • Hardy Geranium
  • Geum
  • Hemerocallis (day lilies)
  • Lavender
  • Papaver (poppy)
  • Phlox
  • Penstemon
  • Polemonium
  • Potentilla
  • Pulmonaria
  • Rudbeckia
  • Salvia
  • Saxifraga (London pride)
  • Scabious
  • Sedum
  • Sempervivum (houseleeks)
  • Sisyrinchium
  • Stachys
  • Tradescantia
  • Verbascum

Using natural methods to get rid of pests helps the environment – and your garden

Sowing the natural plants listed above into your garden will help you say farewell to your resident pests. They will also give your landscape a luscious boost and provide you with yummy ingredients to cook with. With just a small amount of effort, you can safeguard your garden and make it an even lovelier place to spend time. Which will you plant first?



Reference list

Martin, B. and Lindsey, J. (2019). How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Yard. [online] Popular Mechanics. Available at: https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/lawn-garden/how-to/g101/how-to-rid-your-yard-of-mosquitoes/ [Accessed 18 May 2020].

Rhoades, H. (2018). Facts About Slugs And How To Kill Garden Slugs. [online] Gardening Know How. Available at: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/kill-garden-slugs.htm [Accessed 28 Nov. 2019].

Royal Horticultural Society (2019a). Moths in your garden / RHS Gardening. [online] www.rhs.org.uk. Available at: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=499 [Accessed 18 May 2020].

Royal Horticultural Society (2019b). Wasps (social) including hornets / RHS Gardening. [online] www.rhs.org.uk. Available at: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=790 [Accessed 18 May 2020].

SF Gate (2018). How to Keep Flies from Eating My Garden. [online] homeguides.sfgate.com. Available at: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/keep-flies-eating-garden-90501.html [Accessed 18 May 2020].

University of Zurich (2018). How spiders can harm and help flowering plants. [online] ScienceDaily. Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180410100922.htm [Accessed 18 May 2020].

[1] https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/lawn-garden/how-to/g101/how-to-rid-your-yard-of-mosquitoes/


[2] https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=499


[3] https://homeguides.sfgate.com/keep-flies-eating-garden-90501.html


[4] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180410100922.htm


[5] https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=790


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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