Do you attract insects every time you step outdoors? If you don’t, likely you know a friend or family member that does. 

Don’t spend any more summers in a constant battle with a pesky backyard insect army. There is a way to combat the army of flies, mosquitos, gnats, and other pests without chemical warfare or spraying yourself with sticky, chemical-filled sprays. 

A natural way to deter these summer ruining fiends is to strategically place a variety of plants outside and inside the home. Yes, you read that correctly. 

The essential oils that are released from some of the plants are a natural repellent. The plants use the secretions as a natural defense mechanism against various insects. 

Environmental Pest Management has compiled a list of plants that keep bugs away from your home and garden. Start enjoying your summer pest free. 

plants that keep bugs away

Standing Water

It’s first important to mention that any standing water is a big no-no. Standing water is where mosquitos go to breed.  

Once you remove any water sources from around the house, you will have an easier time battling those annoying blood-suckers. 

Herb Garden

If you love to cook and have longed to start an herb garden, now’s the time. Many wonderful herbs will add flair and flavor to meals as well as repel bugs with their lovely aroma. 

We recommend you keep your herb garden near the doors of your house. Keeping them close will help cut back on flies and other bugs from entering your home. You will also have quick access to your garden while you are preparing your meals- a win-win. 


Basil repels mosquitoes and house flies. You can keep it up near the house in a pot or in an outdoor area where you enjoy entertaining or relaxing. 

You can use basil in many different types of soups, sauces, or even salads. Sweet basil will provide a subtle peppery flavor with a hint of mint. 

Another way to use fresh basil is to create your own DIY insect repellent. First, you will take the clean basil and steep it in boiling water for several hours (stems and all). Once the basil has steeped in the water for a while, you will take the infused water and put it in a spray bottle. Lastly, add four ounces of vodka, the vodka will serve as a carrier and diluter. 

Now you have made yourself a natural bug repellent without any added harmful chemicals and saved money in the process!

Plants that Keep Bugs Away 


Lavender will repel moths, flies, fleas, and mosquitos. We all know lavender as the popular scent that fills many of our household products. While many of us enjoy, the sweet light floral scent lavender provides unwanted insects hate it. 

Lavender is a sun-loving plant and enjoys being in a place where it will get plenty of light. Keep that in mind when you are strategically placing it to ward off bugs. 

You can also infuse lavender into a body oil and apply it before enjoying the outdoors. Just make sure not to use a body oil without applying a protective layer of sunscreen. 

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Lemongrass will repel mosquitos. Certainly, you have entered a store during the summertime and have found citronella candles. They are effective for warding off mosquitos. Citronella is the natural oil found in lemongrass. 

Lemongrass is not the name for just one plant but is an umbrella name for the plants that belong in the Cymbopogon family, including citronella grass. You can plant it in a sunny location with ample draining. The plant will grow up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. 


Mint is another herb that will repel mosquitos. Planting mint in pots is the best choice because mint spreads aggressively and will overtake a garden. Once mint has established itself in the garden, it can be a pain to remove. 

Mint leaves can flavor tea, curry, and many lamb and chicken dishes. Mint is another herb that you can use to create your repellent. Combine it with a small amount of cheap vodka, witch hazel or apple cider vinegar.

Plants that Keep Bugs Away 

Ornamental Flowers

If cooking and having an herb garden is not your thing you can try your thumb at planing some ornamental flowers to combat the summer insects. They will provide a pleasing scent and view to your backyard or patio. 


The scent produced by various kids of marigolds will repel mosquitoes, aphids, whiteflies, and even rabbits.  Whiteflies are a pest that commonly feasts on the sap released from tomatoes and tomato plants. 

Marigolds release limonene, an essential oil, that slows down whiteflies as they fly around tomato plants. Marigolds are best grown throughout vegetable gardens, or in tandem with certain plants such as roses. They are capable of spurring the growth of rose bushes. 


Petunias are known for repelling aphids, asparagus beetles, tomato hornworms, leafhoppers, and squash bugs. Petunia’s are pretty foolproof, which makes them a popular choice. They are available in a variety of vibrant colors and require minimal maintenance. 

They will happily hang out in garden beds near vegetable and herb gardens, or a hanging planter on a patio. Just make sure they are receiving plenty of sunlight. 

Floss Flowers

Floss Flowers will repel mosquitoes by releasing a chemical called Coumarin, often found in bug sprays. This chemical is also in sweetgrass, and mosquitoes hate the smell of it. 

Floss flowers will bloom pink, white, and blue blooms during the summer and fall. They are happiest planted in fertile soil and do well in rock gardens or flower beds as an edging plant. 

Plants that Keep Bugs Away 


Geraniums repel leafhoppers as well as other insects. However, one type of geranium is known for its mosquito repelling abilities, the Pelargonium Citrosum.

When they bloom, they have delicate pink flowers that release a lemony fragrance that keep bugs away. They are happy in a sunny, dry climate and will grow well in a flowerbed or vegetable garden. 

If gardening or planting flowers is just not your forte, or don’t want to do the upkeep, Give Environmental Pest Management a call. We will come out and treat your backyard for those unwanted visitors. Let us keep the bugs away from your home while you enjoy your summer.