Plants that repel bugs: Natural pest control for your garden

by Jan Kennemer 05/15/2022

There are few greater pest control solutions than a garden full of plants that repel bugs - naturally. Many plants like mosquito-warding citronella grass have scents or other features that bugs can’t stand, encouraging them to give your garden a wide berth. Not only can these plants keep you more comfortable, they can help protect your other plants from hungry pests.

If you’re interested in natural insect repellents, try these insect-repelling plants:


The scent of lavender has been shown to have a calming effect on humans, but it can also deter mosquitos. The potent essential oils found in lavender can repel most mosquito species for six to eight hours. Filling your garden with lavender or planting it around your home will encourage the biting, buzzing bugs to stay away while helping attract butterflies and honeybees.


Though they don’t have a strong scent, marigolds are another flower that keeps mosquitoes away. Marigolds contain insecticidal properties called phytotoxins that repel other insects like whiteflies, grain beetles and aphids.

From a gardening perspective, marigolds are low maintenance plants with vibrant blooms you can enjoy all summer.


Rosemary is a versatile herb beloved by home gardeners because of its ability to thrive in a variety of climates and situations. When grown in the garden, window boxes, containers or as part of your landscaping, you can count on the essential oils in rosemary leaves to repel mosquitoes.

When in bloom, rosemary also attracts bees and other pollinators to help your garden at the same time.


Nasturtiums are a popular flowering vine you can use to protect your vegetable garden or outdoor living space through diversion. Nasturtiums actually attract mosquitoes and other pests like aphids, carrot flies and squash bugs to keep them off your veggies.

For this reason, it’s recommended to use nasturtiums for companion planting in organic vegetable gardens for natural pest control.

These are only a few insect-repelling plants to consider for your organic garden. Whether you’re growing vegetables, flowering plants or just want to keep annoying insects out of your space, these plants are the perfect place to start.

About the Author

Jan Kennemer

Jan will show you how you can live close to Washington, DC – by public transit and/or highway – and still enjoy all the many amenities and friendliness of a quiet community. Jan is a life-long resident of Arlington, Va. So, she is very familiar with northern Virginia …Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria and close-in Fairfax. She knows where to find those little out-of the-way places where you will still get excellent value and a home that meets your needs. As a Realtor® for over 20 years, Jan has developed a customized system for marketing and selling properties which includes the latest technologies combined with tried and true practices. She has received special training in working with first time buyers, repeat buyers and seniors. She is a certified VHDA trainer and is certified as a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES©). Jan is also a certified e-Pro. She gets results you want – the best price in the shortest time. Jan is dedicated to helping clients satisfy their needs and wants while providing them with a strong investment for the future. She is readily available to provide explanations and information. She won’t push you into making an uncomfortable choice. Jan helps you to fully understand the transaction, so that you can always make an informed decision based on facts and figures.