Green Guards: 10 Amazing Pest-Repelling Plants to Have in Your Garden

a hose watering plants in a garden
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Establishments hire security guards to protect their properties from threats. Imagine if your garden is protected by eco-friendly, round-the-clock security, deterring various pests that threaten your vegetables, fruits, and flowers. We call them green guards!

Below is a list of pest-repelling plants to consider. While chemical pesticides are a common solution, they can be harmful to the environment and beneficial organisms.

As a result, gardeners are increasingly seeking natural and sustainable methods to protect their plants, making the exploration of pest-repelling plants a timely and relevant topic.

Pest-Repelling Plants to Add to Your Garden

You will see below that some plants have more predators than the pests they repel. And some plants are more potent when extracted and made as a solution or spray.

But that shouldn’t stop you from placing them in your garden. Simply put, not all insect or wildlife predators will show up. And besides, nature always finds a way to balance everything out!

1. Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)

basil in a pot in a kitchen
  • Effective against: insect repelling – flea beetles, cabbage webworms, flies, mosquitoes, ants, tomato hornworms
  • Fall prey to: slugs & snails, caterpillars, thrips, Japanese beetles
  • Conditions for healthy growth: a sunny location with at least 6 to 8 hours of bright light per day, moist soil

Basil emits a strong aroma from its essential oils that deter particular insects. The results of this study prove the insecticidal capacity of Basil essential oils (composed of Citral, Citronellol, Citronellal, Geraniol, and Limonene) in eliminating bean weevil. It also protects tomatoes against hookworm infestations.

2. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon Citratus)

lemongrass in a garden
  • Effective against: mosquitoes, house flies, melon flies, rats, mice
  • Fall prey to: stem-boring caterpillars, nematodes, slugs, snails, aphids, spider mites
  • Conditions for healthy growth: full sunlight, plenty of moisture, and warm, humid conditions

Lemongrass is a herb that contains citronella, which repels pests. The research published in the National Library of Medicine shows that lemongrass oil could be effectively used against stable flies. The lemongrass essential oil can also deter black cutworm.

3. Mint (Mentha)

mint in a terracotta pot
  • Effective against: mosquitoes, flies, ants, raccoons
  • Fall prey to: aphids, cutworms, thrips, spider mites, flea beetles, caterpillars, whiteflies, slugs, snails
  • Conditions for healthy growth: Spot with either full sun or partly shady, compost-rich fertile soil, moist area with well-draining soil

Because mint is an invasive plant, grow them in containers, pots, or vases. Place them in the garden, deck, or patio to guard other plants from insects. Spearmint and peppermint are also known to repel pests such as fleas and spiders.

4. Catnip (Nepeta Cataria)

a cat looking at catnip in a garden
  • Effective against: mosquitoes, flies, deer ticks, cockroaches, bed bugs, fleas, ants, termites
  • Fall prey to: flea beetles, aphids, spider mites, thrips, and whiteflies
  • Conditions for healthy growth: area with lots of sunlight, well-drained soil; a bit of shade is good

Catnip contains nepetalactone, a chemical that is good at insect repelling. Watch over this plant as it is also invasive and can take over other parts of your garden. Catnip compounds are at least as effective as DEET.

5. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum)

  • Effective against: whiteflies, squash bugs, aphids, beetles, cabbage loopers
  • Fall prey to: aphids, flea beetles, leafhoppers, leaf miners, mealybugs, moth caterpillars, slugs, snails, spider mites, whiteflies
  • Conditions for healthy growth: full sunlight for at least 6 to 8 hours daily, well-drained soil, relatively infertile soil

Nasturtiums effectively guard tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, kale, and others, so plant them along the edges of vegetable gardens. Some gardeners say that nasturtium leaves have high sulfur content that repels pests.

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Plants that Repel Bigger Pests

Some pests are way bigger than insects and can damage a wide garden area. Plus, they may put you and your family’s safety at risk. You might encounter a buck, a bear, a gator, a fox, or a wolf.

The thought of a wild animal wandering into your property might be scary, but just relax and leave them to it. Normally, they will leave in no time.

But if wild animals regularly feed on and trample your garden or bring in more of its kind, it’s time to call wildlife control experts to humanely remove the wildlife from your home and garden. Understandably, these professional pest control experts won’t always be there. So, try some of these wildlife-repelling plants.

6. Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)

lavender in a garden
  • Effective against: mosquitoes, flies, fleas, moths, spiders, ants, ticks, deer, snakes, raccoons
  • Fall prey to: spittlebugs, whiteflies, aphids, four-lined plant bug
  • Conditions for healthy growth: full sunlight, just a bit of shade, well-drained and low to moderately-fertile soils

Lavender is soothing for humans but scary for pests. It contains compounds like linalool, eucalyptol, camphor, and linalyl acetate, which repel pests. Lavender is also a good companion plant for garden vegetables.

7. Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)

  • Effective against: mosquitoes, other flying insects, deer
  • Fall prey to: leaf bugs, flea beetles, spittlebugs; also beneficial insects like ladybugs, damsel bugs, parasitic wasps, hoverflies, lacewings, tachinid flies
  • Conditions for healthy growth: full sunlight, hot and dry conditions; well-drained soil; can grow  even in the poorest soils

Yarrow is a great natural pest-repellant plant. Its taste and aroma make it a strong deer deterrent. This plant comes in white, yellow, and pink flowers.

While the yarrow keeps deer at bay, it attracts one of the most adored insects – butterflies.

8. Garlic (Allium Sativum)

garlic growing in a garden
Vampire and insect repelling plants
  • Effective against: aphids, beetles, armyworms, caterpillars, mites, mosquitoes, cutworms, flies, moles, rabbits
  • Fall prey to: bulb mites, leafminers, nematodes, onion maggots, thrips
  • Conditions for healthy growth: full, direct sunlight; loose, well-drained soil with well-rotted compost

Garlic contains allicin, a strong odor that makes it a great pest-repellant plant. It’s also composed of the compounds thiosulphates and disulfides, which can cause hemolytic anemia when ingested. The animal’s red blood cells get damaged, resulting in fragility and even to the point of bursting.

9. Daffodils (Narcissus)

daffodils growing in a front lawn
Daffodils can be pest-repellant plants
  • Effective against: rats, mice, voles, rabbits, squirrels, deer
  • Fall prey to: aphids, bulb mites, bulb flies, thrips
  • Conditions for healthy growth: full sunlight; fertile and well-drained soil

Daffodils contain lycorine, a poisonous and toxic crystalline alkaloid. This is the chemical that makes daffodils an excellent natural insect-repelling plant.

10. Black Peppers (Piper Nigrum)

  • Effective against: insect larvae, beetles, raccoons, groundhogs, squirrels, dogs, cats
  • Fall prey to: Pollu beetle, top shoot borer, leaf gall thrips, scale insect, mealybugs, root-knot nematode, burrowing nematode
  • Conditions for healthy growth: partial shade with 6 hours of direct sun or full sunlight

Black pepper has piperine, an alkaloid fatal to insects. Raccoons find this spicy, and this also masks their sharp sense of smell. Surround your property with this plant to make it raccoon-proof.

Not all pests can be deterred by plants. For example, only electrical fences can effectively ward off bears in a bear country. If you encounter other big pests, contact the experienced wildlife control services to humanely remove them from your property.

Other than that, go ahead and add some of the mentioned pest-repelling plants to your garden. Not only do they serve as green guards, but they also add to the aesthetics of your property.

About the Author

Francis Intia has been writing for Pestend for almost one year now. He has spent five years as an editor-in-chief, writer, and photojournalist of a campus publication. He has also worked as an IELTS administrative officer for four years.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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