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15 plants that will help to repel bugs in your garden

Bugged by bugs in your garden? Here's 15 plants that can keep biting insects at bay.

The summer, for all its joy and wonder, can pack a bit of a bite when it comes to insects. Even if you don't live in the wilds of Bonnie Scotland, there are plenty of flying perils  especially around the time of evening barbecues. Most of us are a bit wary of applying chemicals to body or garden in order to keep bugs at bay. But there are other ways of fending off the mosquitoes, midges and other creatures that like to snack on human flesh! 

Many different plants possess insect-propelling properties and they can easily be incorporated into a planting scheme  or placed in pots around your garden. The areas on which to concentrate include around the patio where people might tend to sit and beside paths where legs will brush against the foliage, encouraging it to release scent and vapour.

Here's seven groups of highly useful plants that will help keep away the irritating bugs but shouldn't affect the helpful insects such as bees and butterflies:

Birds are a great way to control insects. Encourage birds into your garden and they will work hard on your behalf.


This aromatic herb is wonderful on so many levels. It does need to be treated as an annual rather than a perennial but the leaves are a great deterrent for flies and other bugs. Agitate the foliage to achieve the best results. It's drought-tolerant and what's more you can use it in salads, soups and curries too. The essential oil in Basil is not appreciated by most bugs.  

Basil is a great herb to include around seating areas and they can also be placed on pots on tables to keep away the flies.


Many insects can't stand it! Fortunately for us, nectar-feeding bees and butterflies love the flowers. Once again, brush the foliage as often as possible in order to release that gorgeous scent that will also keep biting insects at bay. The scent is calming to humans, so it has great health benefits too.  

Lavender is a great garden plant for keeping bugs at bay.

Nepeta, or cat-mint.

This plant is loved by cats who enjoy rolling in it. In fact they get a harmless high from the heady scent. If you don't want cats sprawling around in your garden try planting Nepeta in a hanging or wall basket where they can't reach. It is highly effective at repelling mosquitoes and is said to be more powerful than DEET which is an active ingredient in many bug sprays.   Nepeta, or cat mint, is loved by felines but is also a great insect-repelling garden plant.



All types of mint make great insect-repellents. The more, the merrier. Plant them in pots or containers or restrict the roots, as many varieties can become rampant. Brush the foliage with your hand regularly and the plant will release its minty aroma. You can also use mint in the kitchen it makes a healthy tea which is great for digestion and it can be used in all sorts of dishes.   Fresh mint tea will be a healthy by-product of your mint plants. These are great bug-repellents!


The essential oil in this herb was traditionally used in animal flea collars as it is a natural bug deterrent. It is, however, now known that the active ingredient is so potent that it should be considered poisonous. The recommendation is never to eat this plant. But in its growing form, it acts as a great bug repellent.  

Pennyroyal is a herb that is also known as the mosquito plant and flea mint because it is so good at repelling these biting bugs.

Plants with foliage that has a lemon scent.

Lemongrass, lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora), citrus trees and even lemon cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa 'Goldcrest'), plus other lemony-scented herbs are all despised by bugs! That's a great reason to love them even more.  

Citrus is a great bug-repellent. There's a special offer on small citrus trees until the end of June. They can go outdoors on sunny days - place them by the patio and they will keep bugs at bay.


You can choose rosemary plants that have a prostrate habit to trail over walls and fences, or upright plants in your herb beds. Whatever you include in your garden, these plants will help to keep bitey bugs at bay. Even slugs and snails aren't too keen on snacking around Rosemarinus officinalis.   Rosemary is such a wonderful herb. It can be used in many culinary dishes and it's great in the garden as a bug-repellent too. What's more, it looks great.


What else will help your beastly plight?

Citronella is made from distilled oils of different varieties of grass and plants and said to be completely harmless to humans. In fact citronella has been approved for use as a food flavouring too. There are citronella candles that help to repel mosquitos and other biting insects. Light a few after dark and you will enjoy double benefits: a gentle aroma and no buzz!  

Citronella candles provide a simple way to keep bugs at bay in the garden.

There are blooms that also repel bugs and plant pests including the following:

Marigolds; Chrysanthemum; Nasturtiums;   Alliums and other members of the onion family;   Lantana ; Amaranthus Make the most of your garden this summer. Visit for more inspiration.
By Perfect Plants


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