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Insect Repellent Houseplants – Naturally Keep Bugs at Bay

Insect repellent houseplants serve as natural deterrents against pesky bugs. These plants emit fragrances that naturally repel insects, making them ideal additions to any indoor/outdoor living spaces. Many bug-deterring plants are herbs that can be used for cooking, while others are simply attractive or have an appealing smell. Ironically, that same smell that makes people want to keep these plants in and around their houses is the one that repels annoying insects. Incorporate these insect-repelling plants that will not only helps keep the bugs away but also add a beauty and fragrance to the environment.

Insect Repellent Houseplants – Naturally Keep Bugs at Bay

10 Plants that Repel Insects

1. Lavender


Lavender’s aroma is calming to people but repellent to mosquitos, silverfish, roaches, and flies. The aroma works equally well as a houseplant or dried and placed in closets or other areas that are attractive to insects. Consider adding lavender to the sills of open windows or frames of open doors to keep bugs out of the house. 

The plant’s oils are also offputting to flies, mosquitoes, and moths. It is commonly used in aromatherapy and makes it an excellent choice for the bedroom since the plants have relaxing side effects. 

2. Citronella


Citronella has long been used as an insect-repellent and the citronella plant is a natural way to keep bugs at bay inside the home. Often as a fragrance for outdoor candles, the scent of citronella repels insects and works particularly well against mosquitoes. While the plant is a natural bug-deterrent, crushing the leaves and placing them in areas of the house that are particularly popular with mosquitoes can be even more effective.

3. Mint


Mint works well against mosquitos, but the scent of the oils produced by these plants also deters house flies and fruit flies, and peppermint repels cockroaches. Peppermint also helps fend off moths, making it an excellent choice for kitchens and bedrooms. Additionally, spearmint works well against mosquitos, and a homemade repellent spray can be created using mint oil, cider vinegar, and vodka.

4. Chrysanthemum


Chrysanthemums are one of the few non-herb plants on the list that come in various colors and produce a neurotoxin that repels lice, ticks, bed bugs, ants, silverfish, and even roaches. And unlike other neurotoxins, the one produced by mums is not harmful to cats, dogs, or children. So, not only are chrysanthemums insect repellers, but they are also safe to keep in a home with pets or tiny humans.

5. Lemongrass


Lemongrass is a component of the fragrance often found in citronella plants, but it repels insects all on its own. The oils responsible for warding off flies, in particular, may be even more prevalent in this plant than in its cousin, citronella. These oils exude a fragrance from all areas of the plant, repelling insects and even masking the scent of other plants that insects would otherwise be attracted to.

6. Catnip


Cats love the smell of catnip, but it is offputting to flies, mosquitoes, and even cockroaches. The essential oil that gives this plant its smell, Nepetalactone, deters mosquitos nearly as well as Deet. 

Growing the plant in pots and keeping it near doors and windows can help keep flies, mosquitos, and cockroaches out of the house. Trimmings from the plant can also be scattered around the house or simmered with water to create a bug spray.

7. Basil


The intense fragrance of basil is intoxicating to chefs and foodies but a significant turnoff to houseflies, making for an excellent plant option to add to your kitchen. Basil likes lots of sun and water, so keep the plant near the windowsill and close to a faucet would be handy.

Mosquitoes and moths also dislike the fragrance of basil, and the plant is easy to grow, even for beginners. Fruit flies, which are also likely to end up in the kitchen, also dislike basil, and you can never have too many pots of basil in and around the kitchen.

8. Lemon Eucalyptus

Lemon Eucalyptus

Lemons eucalyptus is another fragrance that appeals to humans, but is repellent to insects. The oils in eucalyptus deter flies and mosquitos, and the lemon eucalyptus is particularly effective in warding them off, as it contains both the natural eucalyptus fragrance and the fragrance of lemons. 

Outdoors, the lemon eucalyptus will grow into a full-size tree, but it can be potted and kept indoors to help keep bugs at bay. Pick a pot that is appropriate for its full size as this plant does not take well to being repotted as it grows.

9. Venus Flytrap (or other carnivorous plants)

Venus Flytrap

The venus flytrap is one of the most common carnivorous plants which deters bugs in the house by attracting and consuming them. These plants are beautiful and unique additions to a home, and they contain nectar that attracts flies, ants, beetles, and other insects. Once triggered by an insect landing on hairs on its leaves, they snap shut, trapping the insect it then digests it. 

These plants thrive in acidic, wet soil, so they need the nutrients in insects to survive. Other options for indoor use include pitcher plants, butterworts, and sundews. All prefer full sun and a soil blend of peat moss and sand.

10. Rosemary and Sage


Rosemary and Sage are insect repellent as potted plants but work best when the leaves and stems are burnt or collected in sachets. The fragrance of these plants is a deterrent to flies, mosquitos, and other insects. But when sage is burned or rosemary is collected in sachets, and they are used by doors and windows, they can keep bugs out of the home altogether. Near doors and windows, rosemary is a powerful repellent to mosquitos, and when sprigs are placed in drawers or collected in sachets, they keep moths and silverfish out of drawers and closets.