Gardens seem vulnerable because they’re frequent victims of countless bites and pest infestations. But what’s often forgotten is your garden can protect not only itself from pests but also your home in general. This is all achievable by planting a diversity of insect-repelling plants. Here, we compiled a guide of plants that will be effective pest control for your home.
This guide is sourced from the Farmer’s Almanac, the National Institute of Health’s database on herbs, and several gardening blogs.
These small flowers carry a scent that deters common garden pests, which include aphids, squash bugs and tomato hornworms. Petunias exist in 20 different species, so planting these will bring a cascade of color to your garden. However, don’t plant these too close to all your produce because they attract caterpillars and slugs.
Planting Tips: Many stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, sell petunia seeds and transplants. It’s recommended you buy transplants since they’re much easier to grow in your yard. They aren’t high maintenance and only need to be watered once a week.
Chrysanthemums are a natural insecticide and keep away ants, ticks, cockroaches, and silverfish. Though avoid planting these in abundance because their scent may steer away some pollinators. Also, their flowers can be used to make the popularly made tea.
Planting Tips: Chrysanthemums need dry climates because they’re susceptible to mildew. They need good exposure to sunlight. Remember to be patient though—these take over two months to bloom.
Borage flowers are helpful pest control if your garden has tomatoes or cabbages. They repel tomato hornworms and cabbage worms—but attract pollinators. So if you plant borage, expect blue, pink flowers to quickly pattern your garden.
Planting Tips: Borage flowers need full sunlight to bloom well, but they take only 5 to 15 days to sprout from seeds.
The bright purple petals of this herb not only will beautify your garden, but its potent and unique aroma will also repel ants from building nests and steer away mosquitoes. Lavender also attracts pollinators, so this herb is a useful ally to keep around your plants. It also can keep out moths if you dry and store some in your closet.
Planting Tips: Lavender grows best in dry and warm climates. It doesn’t need much water to thrive, so if your area receives at least 15 inches of annual average precipitation, you’re in a good spot.
Mint is great pest control for a broad array of bugs, including aphids, ants, mosquitoes, cabbage moths, and certain types of beetles. The scent is the main deterrent, and the herb itself grows easily because it needs little water. However, you should probably plant mint in a pot since it can overtake your garden if left unmonitored.
Planting Tips: Mint is easily bought in many stores, usually in a pot and ready to be transplanted. Most grow well under shade. Add a thin layer of compost or organic fertilizer every few months. Aboveground pots will need winter protection in cold climates.
Rosemary deters beetles, mosquitoes, flies, and cabbage moths. As one of the strongest aromas to plant, rosemary can mask the scents of surrounding plants and protect them from exploring pests.
Planting Tips: Rosemary is easily found in stores. Both seeding and transplanting are easy methods. The herb requires little water and tolerates hot and cold temperatures well. It’s one of the most robust plants you can add to your garden.
Basil, interesting enough, is a great protector if you’re growing asparagus. The plant scares away asparagus beetles, and it’s also a broadly effective repellent for mosquitoes and flies. Although it requires quite a bit of water in hot climates, this household leafy herb is a useful agent against beetle populations, particularly asparagus beetles, mosquitoes, and houseflies.
Planting Tips: Basil is also easy to find in stores, though the best method is through transplanting. Despite its ability to grow in hot climates, the herb will need a lot of water to sustain itself, so make sure the soil is always moist.
Thyme drives away houseflies well. You should plant these not only in your garden but around your house, so these hard-to-swat pests don’t appear in the first place.
Planting Tips: Thyme is easy to grow, either through seeding or transplanting. Make sure there is plenty of sun exposure. It takes two to three weeks to fully grow out, so it’s a longer wait than most other herbs.
Cilantro is reliable pest control, particularly if you’re growing potatoes. The herb’s aroma repels potato beetles, usually the biggest threat to the crop. Cilantro also deters more common pests, such as aphids and spider mites. It’s an all-around good plant to surround your other plants with.
Planting Tips: Cilantro thrives well under cold weather, however, you can find them in virtually any grocery store to seed or transplant yourself. Make sure this herb is under frequent sunlight.
Garlic, famous for its pungency, scares away pests by its smell—discouraging them to lay eggs nearby. They’re particularly effective in preventing root maggots from appearing, so if you have other root vegetables nearby, it’s worth adding these to your garden.
Planting Tips: Garlic is best grown during the fall, and it can take up to 9 months to mature. Try to plant it in a place that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight and occasionally check if the soil is moist. Once it grow out, it’ll be one of most durable plants in your garden.
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