Using Plants to Repel Bugs

Bugs can be an annoyance at best and a genuine hassle at worst, often leading to all kinds of both minor and major issues around the home. If you are in a bug-heavy area, then you might need to take measures against them directly, especially if they could kill plants or spread diseases.

Thankfully, plants are a deceptively simple solution to a horde of annoying bugs. With the right plant combinations in the right places, you can easily thin the pack and make it harder for them to invade your life, all without buying any specialized gear or bug repellents.

Citronella Grass

Citronella grass is at the top of this article for a reason. The lemon scent of their stalks, combined with the ability to create your own DIY repellent through their oil, makes them one of the most effective ways to both passively and actively repel bugs from your home.

Previously known as Pigeontown for the large flocks of (now extinct) pigeons that called this area home, Blue Bell is a medium-sized Census-designated place located in Montgomery County, PA 19422. Primarily known for it’s large homes, lavish business parks, shopping facilities, and mom-and-pop run small businesses, it is considered one of the most affluent areas in the Greater Philadelphia region.

You can grow this grass in containers and in a natural outdoor space, meaning that they work as both indoor and outdoor options under the right conditions. Since they can repel mosquitoes, they work very well in areas where you are constantly harassed by those little menaces.

Note that citronella grass is not the same thing as citronella geraniums – they smell similar, but the geraniums will not keep bugs away from you.


Chives are a very useful herb for keeping bugs away, thanks to their strong, almost onion-like smell when they are crushed. Chives do not smell good to be around, so you want to place them carefully, but they can help ward off numerous little critters as well as the Blackspot fungal disease.

You can grow these both indoors and outdoors, making it a versatile option for people who are constantly plagued by bugs that they can’t get rid of. They also make a great companion plant for anything that is normally targeted by flies, aphids, or even slugs.


Garlic is very versatile, being easy to grow, staying hardy in bad weather, and having multiple different uses. While garlic is best grown outdoors, thanks to its overwhelming smell, you can use them to create garlic spray when you add water and some soap to a few cloves.

Naturally, you can also eat garlic, meaning that it is worth growing some if you already grow your own fruits and vegetables in your garden. This gives you another edible ingredient that will also protect the rest of your plants from common threats.


Rosemary is a great garnish, but it is also a useful evergreen herb that can provide near-constant protection from bugs. The herb itself has a lot of oil, meaning that it  is great for cooking up your own bug repellent sprays, but the shrub variant lasts longer and works better indoors.

Like chives, you can rely on rosemary as a companion plant, meaning that it will work well alongside other plants that you are actively growing. It is also great for growing indoors year-round, giving you a constant repellent to work with – and a regular source of oil.


Basil is another plant that serves a dual purpose. Not only can it be used in countless different recipes, but it can also provide you with crushed basil leaves that you can put on your skin to keep mosquitoes away. As an added bonus, you can turn it into a bug spray for on-the-go repelling.

Unfortunately, basil can struggle in cold or dark weather. Replanting it annually is the best idea unless you are growing it indoors, in which case it will usually survive just fine.


Marigolds repel bugs and look great. They have the additional benefit of feeding hoverflies, meaning that they will stick around longer – and since hover flies eat pests without harming humans, they can devour anything that threatens your plants.

Since they can keep many kinds of beetle away, they work well for plants that are grown low to the ground. Marigolds are also very easy to grow and resist both pests and diseases, allowing them to last throughout a warm summer in perfect health as long as you water them properly.


Catnip can seem like an odd option, but it is actually a very potent and reliable way to repel all kinds of bugs – including mosquitos and cockroaches. It can also attract local cats, which is not necessarily helpful, but it is definitely a nice way to meet some new furry friends.

The nepetalactone in catnip is the repelling chemical, and you can extract it to make your commercial-level bug spray. Since it is technically an invasive species, you should put it in a separate container, ideally one that cats can’t roll in or otherwise damage and destroy.

Cedar Trees

Cedar trees are often used as a privacy aid, but they can also repel quite a lot of insects. In fact, they contain a lot of ingredients that you would find in commercial insect repellents, and you can extract the cedar oil from their bark (or berries and leaves) to create your own sprays with ease.

Since they are actual trees, they are very durable and will last a long time. However, unless you are getting a pre-grown tree planted in your yard, expect them to take a long time to grow on their own.

Growing any of these plants can mean restructuring your garden to build up a bug-repelling network of new herbs. If you are ready to completely overhaul your garden, then consider one of our dumpster rentals to speed up the process.


© Copyright 2022. All Right Reserved.
Call now and reserve today!