The Best Plants for Pest Control


Insects and other pests can wreak havoc in a garden if they’re not properly controlled. Sure, pesticides will help to keep invasive insects at bay. But who wants to eat fruits and veggies that have been sprayed with chemicals? Instead, forgo the pesticides and use your garden plants for pest control.

There is a wide variety of plants that have natural insect-repelling properties, and here are some of the most common:


Whether you are an experienced gardener or a novice, you’ll want basil in your garden. Basil is extremely easy to grow, and it’s well-known as a cooking spice. Less known about basil is its effectiveness in repelling flies and mosquitoes. Place pots of basil inside your home or remove them from the pot and plant it in your garden to keep these pests away. 


Marigolds are known for their beautiful orange and yellow blooms, but do not be deceived; marigolds are killers. That’s right; marigolds are a veritable death sentence for roundworms that wriggle too close to them. They also help to repel whiteflies, aphids, and mosquitoes. Better yet, marigolds attract insect eaters and garden helpers like spiders and snails.


An active ingredient in chrysanthemums called pyrethrum is used in many natural insecticides. The pyrethrum effectively wards off lice, roaches, fleas, ticks, and bedbugs. The chrysanthemum plant, especially the white variety, helps keep Japanese beetles at bay. These flowering plants can be placed in pots or directly in your garden.


Widely known as a pickling spice, the dill plant is also useful in repelling pests. When planted in a garden, dill will keep spider mites and aphids away. Contrarily, dill attracts tomato hornworms – an insect that destroys tomato plants when given a chance. Plant dill near your tomato plants and the hornworms will be drawn to the dill plant rather than the tomatoes. 


Cats love catnip, but insects hate it. It has been said that catnip repels nearly every species of insect that you might encounter in a garden. Here is a shortlist of the insects that detest the scent of catnip:

  • Beetles 
  • Weevils 
  • Cabbage loopers 
  • Cockroaches
  • Aphids
  • Squash bugs

You can even use dried catnip in your home to keep pests away. Sprinkle the catnip in the areas that insects frequent, such as the kitchen or bathroom, or pour it into a small dish.

Alliums (Chives & Onions)

Chives and onions are some of the best plants to put in your garden, they are very easy to grow and maintain, and they are delicious when cooked properly. More importantly, Japanese beetles and carrot rust flies abhor alliums, and therefore, they will stay clear of your garden. There are also claims that alliums prevent apple scabs when planted near apple trees.


The lavender plant is cherished for its sweet aromatic fragrance, beautiful purple flowers, and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. On the other hand, bothersome insects, like flies, moths, and fleas, loathe the scent of lavender. And while it is perfect for keeping these unwanted pests away, it also attracts beneficial insects. If you want to beautify your garden and keep pests away, lavender is perfect.


The mint plant is not much to look at, but it’s an exceptional pest-fighter, and it is effective in deterring cabbage moths, flea beetles, and ants. It’s important to note that mint grows quickly, and it tends to overtake other plant species. Therefore, when planting mint in your garden, allow ample space to grow and thrive. 


Petunias are very popular among gardeners because of their beautiful color patterns. They are also a few plant species that deter asparagus beetles, tomato worms, and leafhoppers. Petunias mix particularly well with other plant species, and thus, they can safely be planted close to other garden plants. The odor emitted from petunias is incredibly strong, making it one of the top choices for pest control purposes.

Four O’ Clocks

The Four O ‘Clocks plant is unique to this list in that it’s highly poisonous to both insects and humans. Oddly enough, Four O’ Clocks are the favorite food of Japanese beetles. However, if the beetles give in to temptation and feed on the plant, it could be a fatal mistake. Four O’ Clocks are a surefire way to eliminate Japanese beetles; just don’t let children or pets come into contact with the plant.


Sunflowers can add diversity to any garden due to their lengthy stalks and stunning golden blooms. The beauty of the sunflower plant is only exceeded by its ability to withstand insect infestation. Because of this, ants often choose to build their colonies in sunflowers. In addition, sunflowers help draw away aphids from the other plants in the vicinity.


It’s not always about driving insects from the garden; sometimes, it’s about drawing them in. This is the case with hyssops. Honeybees love the hyssop plant, and they’ll come from all over to get to its sweet nectar. As a bonus, the honeybees are sure to help to pollinate the other flowers in the area.


As the name suggests, lemongrass is very similar to the grass in your yard, but with one major exception; it wards off mosquitoes. To take full advantage of its mosquito-repelling properties, plant lemongrass near heavily trafficked areas. It is also very easy to grow, and thus, it can be planted in flower beds, hanging baskets, and your garden.


Tiki torches, candles, and spray-on repellents use citronella oil to keep mosquitoes away. What is less known is that the oil comes from a plant species called citronella grass. Like citronella oil, citronella grass is also an effective mosquito control. Citronella grass can grow upwards of 4 feet tall, and it’s perfect for potting or planting in soil.

Let Nature Fight Back

If insects have invaded your home or garden, it’s time to fight back. But before you spring for a bottle of pesticide, try letting nature do the work. Numerous plant species effectively ward off pests, so you’re sure to find a solution to your insect problem. If you are unsure which plants will be the most beneficial for your situation, then contact a pest control company for assistance.

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