My first garden was a success…almost. I remember watching the tomato leaves develop little buds that soon turned into tiny little green tomato babies. My zucchini was just starting to blossom. And the cucumbers! There were so many cucumbers! What I didn’t have in my garden, however, was a variety of pest repelling plants. And because I found out too late that I needed some of those plants, my garden soon turned into a very disappointing learning experience.
As I watched those lovely vegetables fall prey to the hungry mouths of barely visible pests, I looked to the heavens and cried out. Okay, I didn’t really do that. I was annoyed, though. I didn’t want to spray my plants with toxic insecticide, and at that point, I didn’t understand companion planting or natural pest deterrents.
Luckily for me, the gardening community is well-known for sharing tips and advice. One of my more experienced gardening buddies clued me into the beauty of pest repelling plants. I shouldn’t have been surprised; after all, that’s how farmers have protected crops for generations. Still, I learned a lot and thought it might help share some of what I found out.
These 10 pest repelling plants will help your garden stay healthy all season long
The great thing about pest repelling plants, aside from the fact that they keep harmful bugs away from your vegetables, is that they can add brilliant color to your garden and some of them are quite tasty additions to your meals. Let’s start with a favorite:
Basil is well-known as a companion plant for tomatoes. The herb repels many of the pests that like to feed on tomato plants. As a bonus for humans, it is thought that basil helps deter mosquitos, too.
This member of the mint family is known to keep away the Japanese flying beetle, weevils, and ants. Just beware that plants in the mint family will take over your entire garden if you aren’t careful.
Dill is a fascinating herb. You can use the seeds, the plant itself, and the flowers in your kitchen. The flowers, in fact, are quite beautiful. Spider mites, squash bugs, and aphids stay away from dill, but the herb may attract tomato hornworms, so keep that in mind if you plant dill.
I don’t know how anyone can cook without garlic. It is truly a wonder of nature. Although, there are plenty of garden pests that might disagree with my sentiments. The pungent allium might be intoxicating to us, but to harmful pests, it is a clear sign to stay away.
I find the marigold to be one of the best pest repelling plants in my garden, but I might be biased. The gorgeous orange, red, and yellow flowers add so much visual POP to my garden, and they attract pollinators. Marigolds deter nematodes, whiteflies, tomato hornworms, and cabbage worms.
Even though it may smell refreshing to us, mint is decidedly unpopular in the insect world. Mint will help keep cabbage moths away from your garden.
These edible flowers make stunning and delicious additions to a salad. But as much as I love them, aphids love them, too. So much, in fact, that they will leave your vegetables alone and munch on the nasturtium. That’s good. Even better, though, is that beneficial insects, like ladybugs, will also head to the nasturtium to feast on the aphids.
The petunia is a powerhouse among pest repelling plants. Leafhoppers, squash bugs, aphids, tomato hornworms, potato bugs, asparagus beetles, and more all avoid your vegetables when the petunia is around. It doesn’t hurt that this flower is a beauty.
I can’t get enough rosemary in my kitchen. It smells so amazing. Carrot flies, snails, and cabbage moths, however, are not fond of rosemary.
Thyme is a perennial herb that will keep whiteflies, tomato hornworms, and other harmful pests out of your garden.
There are many more pest repelling plants you can add to your garden. I happen to like these because I enjoy them either in the kitchen, as an aesthetic addition to my garden, or in the case of catnip, I love watching the neighborhood felines frolic in the yard.
Do you have a favorite plant you use to help keep harmful pests away? I’d love to get your ideas in the comments below.