12 Tips on Plants that Repel Bugs and Insects

Many of the herbal remedies of two or three generations ago have come back into favor, and the use of herbs in tonics and medicinal compounds, and as teas, has revived interest in a these plants, which can be fascinating in one way or another.

  1. The pungent aroma of some of the culinary and medicinal herbs deters many insects. Others are used as “trap” plants, luring insect predators away from growing vegetables.
  2. As well as the herbs, some flowers, such as marigolds, nasturtiums, calendulas, zinnias, and the white geranium, when planted among vegetables, will help to repel pests and at the same time attract bees and other natural pollinators needed to ensure bountiful vegetable crops.
  3. Nasturtiums and marigolds protect cucumbers, the marigold being particularly effective in repelling nematodes, or eelworms, from cabbages, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
  4. Zinnias help to deter the cucumber beetle and the tomato worm.
  5. White geranium repels beetles from sweet corn, asparagus and kohlrabi.
  6. These flowers can be combined with herbs to form a protective boundary around the vegetable garden, or a “pest-free zone” within it.
  7. Some vegetables are also known for their insect repelling qualities: garlic, onions, parsley, chives, turnips and radishes the best known. All are useful in repelling many flying insects, ants, beetles and aphids.
  8. The aromas of mint, pennyroyal, tansy, nasturtiums and zinnias will help to ward off aphids.
  9. Mint, sage and thyme are useful companions for cabbage.
  10. Rosemary, garlic, shallots and chives are useful in keeping insects away from carrots.
  11. Basil keeps pests away from tomatoes, as does dill, which acts as a trap for the tomato worm. Dill is also a good companion for celery.
  12. These herbs and other plants are repellents, and you will find that you use much less chemical insecticide if your vegetable garden contains pest-repellent plants.
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