8 Natural Plant-Based Repellents

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lavender

on July 1, 2015 by TruGreen

“Bzzzzzzzzzzz...smack!” That ever-present sound of summer; a mosquito invading your personal space, interrupting your evening and leaving you with aggravating, itchy welts. 
 
Fear not, outdoor enthusiasts. There are ways to prevent these little buggers from trampling your backyard enjoyment. Meet the six plants that are guaranteed to bring new life and color to your yard and keep the mosquitoes at bay. Form and function...hooray!
PRO TIP: Be sure to place these plants near seating areas (or wherever you spend the most time) for maximum effect.
 

CITRONELLA GRASS

You’ve heard of citronella candles, but did you know it’s derived from a strain of grass? Excellent at repelling mosquitoes, this  low-maintenance plant does best in large planters (it’s not so good with frost), and can be planted directly in the sunlight. Win-win for the summer. 

CATNIP

Catnip isn’t just for your cat anymore. This plant derives from the mint family, and produces a similar smell. It’s very easy to take care of and spreads easily, so keep a watchful eye on it if you don’t want it to travel. In a study at Iowa State University, catnip turned out to be even more effective than DEET.

ROSEMARY

Rosemary — so fragrant, so effective.. This herb produces a woody scent that keeps mosquitoes and other pests away. Rosemary plants do best in hot and dry climates and thrive in containers. They can also be pruned into all sorts of shapes and sizes and make for beautiful borders and decoration. Bonus! You can use rosemary in cooking.

BASIL

Basil is another herb that doubles as a pest repellent. This herb likes to be kept damp, needs good drainage, and enjoys lots of sun. It also enjoys balsamic vinaigrette, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and a pinch of salt.

LAVENDER

Have you ever noticed that insects and pests rarely bother your lavender plant? It’s because of its fragrance, which comes from essential oils that are found on the leaves of the plant. Humans love it, mosquitoes loathe it. Lavender is hardy and drought-resistant once established, and needs full sun and good drainage. And while lavender does well in almost any climate, it thrives in warmer areas. 
Want more tips for making your summer outdoor living space the best it can be? Check out these 10 ways to spruce up your backyard and live life outside. 

“Bzzzzzzzzzzz...smack!” That ever-present sound of summer; a mosquito invading your personal space, interrupting your evening and leaving you with aggravating, itchy welts.

 

Fear not, outdoor enthusiasts. There are ways to prevent these little buggers from trampling your backyard enjoyment. Meet the six plants that are guaranteed to bring new life and color to your yard and keep the mosquitoes at bay. Form and function...hooray! PRO TIP: Be sure to place these plants near seating areas (or wherever you spend the most time) for maximum effect.

 

LEMONGRASS

You’ve heard of citronella candles, but did you know they’re derived from a strain of grass? Excellent at repelling mosquitoes, this low-maintenance plant does best in large planters (it’s not so good with frost), and can be planted directly in the sunlight. Win-win for the summer. Also, if you’re a fan of Asian cooking at all, you know the power of lemongrass in flavoring chicken and salads.

 

CHRYSANTHEMUM

It’s hard to spell, but that’s not what drives bugs away. No, it’s the chemical structure found in these ornamentals that repels roaches, ants, beetles, fleas, lice, bedbugs and other really nasty crawlers that would totally ruin a backyard picnic. In fact, this chemical, called pyrethrum, is an active ingredient in most natural pesticide sprays. You won’t have to buy spray, though, if you plant these majestic and colorful flowers in the early spring for a summer bloom.

 

ROSEMARY

Rosemary — so fragrant, so effective. This herb produces a woody scent that keeps mosquitoes and other pests away. Rosemary plants do best in hot and dry climates and thrive in containers. They can also be pruned into all sorts of shapes and sizes and make for beautiful borders and decoration. Bonus! You can use rosemary in cooking.

 

CATNIP

Catnip isn’t just for your cat anymore. This plant derives from the mint family, and produces a similar smell. It’s very easy to take care of and spreads easily, so keep a watchful eye on it if you don’t want it to travel. In a study at Iowa State University, catnip turned out to be even more effective than DEET.

 

PITCHER PLANTS

Plants and flowers that have a repugnant odor (to bugs and pests!) are all well and good, but sometimes you want a plant that’s a little more aggressive in its protection of your yard from unwanted guests. Enter the pitcher plant, which lures ants, flies, bees, beetles, even slugs and snails into its long leaves, then traps them in a pool of water. The beautiful violence of nature, right? Growing these bad boys, which thrive in the wild, can be a little tricky in your garden - keep them in a pot that sits on a water saucer so the soil stays moist but not drenched.

 

PETUNIAS

An innocent-sounding, pretty-looking flower with a murderous secret. Sounds like the synopsis of a Lifetime original movie - and it’s also the truth about petunias, which have earned the nickname “nature’s pesticide.” Why do so many gardeners love ‘em? They’re extremely low-maintenance, for one. Grow them in the ground or in a hanger, plant them near your vegetables - it doesn’t matter, petunias will play nice. Unless, that is, you’re a bug.

 

LAVENDER

Have you ever noticed that insects and pests rarely bother your lavender plant? That’s because of its fragrance, which comes from essential oils that are found on the leaves of the plant. Humans love it, mosquitoes loathe it. Lavender is hardy and drought-resistant once established, and needs full sun and good drainage. And while lavender does well in almost any climate, it thrives in warmer areas.

 

BASIL

Basil is another herb that doubles as a pest repellent. This herb likes to be kept damp, needs good drainage, and enjoys lots of sun. It also enjoys balsamic vinaigrette, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and a pinch of salt.

 

Of course, no one plant is guaranteed to rid your yard of nasty buggers. That’s why a visit from a TruGreen pest control specialist can help set you up with a plan of attack for getting pests to buzz off.

 

Our experts look for the signs of a potential infestation and make a custom control regimen tailored to you lawn.

 

We’ll also help you get the most out of the insect-repelling plants you’ve already grown. Visit TruGreen's pest control page to learn more.

 
Want more tips for making your summer outdoor living space the best it can be? Check out these 10 ways to spruce up your backyard and live life outside. 
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