20 Pest-Repelling Plants for Your Survival Garden

Keeping pests out of your home and garden is crucial for maintaining a healthy, thriving space.

This guide reveals the top 20 plants that naturally repel pests through their strong scents and compounds.

By strategically incorporating these powerful pest fighters into your landscaping, you can create an effective natural pest control system that avoids harsh chemicals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Strong-smelling herbs like mint, lavender, and sage deter many insects and rodents
  • Floral plants like marigolds and chrysanthemums emit compounds that confuse and repel pests
  • Veggies like radishes, chives, and garlic produce pungent aromas that ward off common garden bugs
  • Strategic placement and companion planting maximizes the pest-repelling benefits

Why Use Plants to Repel Pests?

Avoiding harsh chemical pesticides benefits your garden’s ecosystem. Plants offer an inexpensive, sustainable way to control pests naturally. Certain species release compounds that bugs and rodents find unpleasant. You can easily grow these pest-repelling plants in gardens, containers, or even indoors.

Benefits of using plants for pest control:

Top 20 Plants for Pest Control

1. Mint

Mint’s pungent aroma deters ants, rodents, and insect pests. Plant mint around garden borders or entry points to repel unwanted visitors. Different mint varieties like peppermint and spearmint work equally well.

2. Lavender

Lavender’s floral scent masks attractive plant smells that draw pests. This herb confuses insects and disrupts their ability to locate your plants. Grow lavender in containers or borders around vegetable and flower gardens.

3. Rosemary

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A robust herb with a pine-like fragrance, rosemary naturally repels many beetle species, carrot flies, and cabbage moths. Interplant rosemary among vegetables and flowers susceptible to these pests.

HerbPests Repelled
MintAnts, rodents, insects
LavenderGeneral insect pests
RosemaryBeetles, carrot flies, cabbage moths

4. Marigolds

Marigolds are a must for organic vegetable gardens. They repel nematodes plus insect pests like cabbage worms, thrips, and even rabbits. The scent comes from their roots, so interplant marigolds throughout your vegetable beds.

5. Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemum plants produce pyrethrum, a compound used in many insect repellents. Their pungent odor drives away roaches, ants, ticks, lice, spider mites, and more. Use potted mums as natural pest control indoors or out.

6. Petunias

Petunias emit a sticky substance on their surfaces that traps and incapacitates small insects like aphids, leafhoppers, and squash bugs. This makes petunias a smart companion plant for vegetable gardens.

7. Nasturtiums

Planting nasturtiums repels whiteflies, squash bugs, aphids, and more pests that prey on vegetable plants. The peppery-scented flowers and foliage act as a great trap crop to lure bugs away.

Flowering PlantKey Pests Repelled
MarigoldsNematodes, cabbage worms, thrips, rabbits
ChrysanthemumsRoaches, ants, ticks, lice, spider mites
PetuniasAphids, leafhoppers, squash bugs
NasturtiumsWhiteflies, squash bugs, aphids

8. Radishes

Interplanting radishes repels cucumber beetles, rust flies, and other soil pests from gardens. The spicy smell deters insects before they can munch on your crops.

9. Chives

Chives naturally discourage aphids, Japanese beetles, and carrot root flies through their powerful onion scent. Plant a few chive plants throughout your vegetable garden for easy pest prevention.

10. Garlic

Like other alliums, garlic is highly effective at warding off destructive pests such as borers, spider mites, aphids, and even voles and deer. Interplant garlic throughout veggie beds or create garlic borders.

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VegetableKey Pests Repelled
RadishesCucumber beetles, rust flies, soil pests
ChivesAphids, Japanese beetles, carrot root flies
GarlicBorers, spider mites, aphids, voles, deer

11. Neem

Neem oil comes from the neem tree and works as a powerful insect antifeedant and insect growth regulator. Planting neem trees can help deter pests across your entire property.

12. Citronella

Best known as an insect repellent for humans, citronella plants also effectively repel mosquitoes, flies, and other biting bugs from yards and gardens when planted in borders.

13. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus trees produce aromatic oils that naturally repel insect pests. Their strong scent confuses insects, preventing them from locating host plants nearby. Plant eucalyptus as windbreaks or screens.

Shrub/TreeKey Pests Repelled
NeemGeneral insect deterrent
CitronellaMosquitoes, flies, biting bugs
EucalyptusGeneral insect pests

14. Sage

The woodsy, robust aroma of sage serves as a powerful insect deterrent in the garden. This hardy herb repels cabbage moths, carrot flies, mosquitoes, and more. Grow sage plants around vegetable patches or use dried sage to make sachets for deterring pantry moths.

15. Thyme

Thyme’s tiny leaves pack a pungent punch that ants, beetles, and even mice find offensive. This low-growing herb works well as a garden edging or ground cover to create a pest barrier. The strong, minty scent helps thyme repel whiteflies and cabbage worms too.

16. Basil

The strong licorice-like smell of basil effectively drives away flies, mosquitoes, and salt marsh caterpillars. Planting different basil varieties like lemon basil intensifies the repellent effect. Use basil as a garden companion for repelling pests from tomatoes, peppers and more.

17. Lemongrass

With its distinctive lemony scent, lemongrass naturally deters mosquitoes from outdoor spaces. This tall, imposing plant also repels ants, roaches, silverfish, and fleas with its citrus aroma. Grow lemongrass in containers or borders to ward off pests.

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18. Geraniums

Geraniums release a strong fragrance that deters cabbage worms, Japanese beetles, corn earworms, leafhoppers, and more. Certain varieties like citronella geraniums are especially effective mosquito deterrents. Plant geraniums around susceptible garden crops.

19. Catnip

While irresistible to cats, the nepetalactone in catnip is highly offensive to many insects like mosquitoes, termites, cockroaches, and squash bugs. Plant some catnip as a repellent around gardens, in pots, or use dry leaves as a natural insect repellent.

20. Pennyroyal

A member of the mint family, pennyroyal has been used for centuries as a potent pest repellent. Its strong scent drives away mosquitoes, gnats, ticks, fleas, and even mice and rats. Grow pennyroyal around foundations or paths to establish a pest barrier.Copy

Placement & Companion Planting Tips

  • Interplant pest-repelling plants throughout vegetable gardens
  • Use them as borders around garden beds
  • Pot plants on patios and entrances to keep bugs out
  • Group plants with similar needs together
  • Rotate annual crops yearly to disrupt pest cycles

For more on companion planting, check out this guide on beneficial garden insects.

Other Natural Pest Deterrents

While plants help immensely, integrate these other natural pest control methods (https://prepping.pro/survival-garden/natural-pest-killers):

  • Beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings
  • Bat houses to attract pest-eating bats
  • Diatomaceous earth sprinkled around plants
  • Row covers for vegetable crops
  • Reflective mulches that confuse insects

When to Use Other Methods

Plants work great for maintenance pest control in gardens. However, an extreme infestation may call for more drastic action:

  • Handpicking pests and eggs
  • Using organic pesticides as a last resort
  • Contacting professionals for advice on severe cases
  • Maintaining sanitation by removing affected plants

Following an integrated pest management (IPM) approach that prioritizes natural, preventative methods provides the most sustainable, long-term control. For more tips on common garden mistakes to avoid, see this guide.


By incorporating a variety of pest-repelling plants into your landscaping, you harness nature’s own defenses against unwanted insects and critters.

From pungent herbs to potent flowering plants and vegetables, there are many sustainable options for driving away pests naturally.

Implement the strategies outlined here, such as interplanting repellent crops, creating borders and barriers, and integrating other organic methods.

With some planning, you can create an effective, chemical-free pest control system tailored to your home and garden needs.

Leverage the power of these 20 plants to cultivate a flourishing, pest-free oasis.

Reclaim your space from invasive bugs and wildlife through eco-friendly, inexpensive solutions.

Embrace companion planting and repel pests the natural way!

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