10 Plants That Will Save Your Home & Garden From Bugs
I hate to break it to you, but Ohio has bugs too.
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Summertime may bring carefree memories, sleeveless shirts and outdoor parties, but it also brings all the bugs to the yard (and sometimes inside the house). Maybe you’re tired of your hard-raised plants getting chomped on. Maybe you’re tired of swatting like crazy as you innocently try to sprinkle your garden with water. It’d be nice if you could use your patio without so much fuss!
Manufacturers cram hard-to-pronounce and toxic chemicals into pesticides, so you might want another alternative. Here it is: a solid 10 plants that you could count on to protect your home and garden.
Just when you thought petunias were only here to be pretty, it turns out they’re actually pretty good bug repellant. Try them in a window box or someplace else where they could directly face the sunlight--not anywhere too shady! Not only could you keep bugs away from your windows, but also be the envy of your neighbors with these eye-catching pink and purple flowers.
A versatile culinary herb, basil could be used to flavor certain Italian cuisine as well as numerous other dishes. However, basil does more than help us cook our favorite meals. Basil may be delicious to us, but an oil inside the plant actually kills mosquito eggs. Here’s a tip: place potted basil plants in rooms where you want to ward off flies and mosquitoes to keep your guests happy and your room insect-free. Maybe your sunroom? Basils love sunlight!
We place marigolds near problem areas to keep pests away--mainly, mosquitoes and aphids. But even though marigolds are nasty for these bugs, they’re well-liked and researched for their medicinal properties. If you’re into herbalism, we suggest keeping a few. Marigolds are used in skin remedies for eczema, rashes, acne, and any kind of inflammation, really. Like their fluffy gold and orange flowers might suggest, they prefer sun.
Lavender literally gives off an air of luxury. Maybe that’s why lavender is a popular scent for laundry detergents and beauty products. While we may think it’s a pleasant smell, it’s actually quite pungent to flies, moths and mosquitoes. Grow the plants in sunny areas and keep bouquets around the house to repel insects. It’s an insomnia remedy, too.
As a seasoning, rosemary could overpower the rest of the spices with its distinctive, intense flavor if you use too much. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that the same potency also overpowers insects. Rosemary primarily repels mosquitoes, but will also discourage other pests from munching on its vegetable plant neighbors. Aside from bug repellent, rosemary could be used to brew herbal drinks and season food. Remember that you only need a little!
You could use mint in variety of recipes like fancy summer refreshers or teas, and also use it to accent savory dishes. Mint and its cousin lemon balm repel biting insects such as mosquitoes and those other buggers out for your blood. But be sure to keep it away from your other plants or grow it by itself in a pot… Though mint can be fun to have around, its known for its greedy, voracious appetite for garden space. It’ll spread close to your other plants and hog their nutrients! Fun fact: you can pick off the leaves and chew them in place of popping a breath mint in your mouth.
Did you know that Catnip is a type of mint? That means it has the same infectious properties, except cats love the flavor. Catnip has a compound called nepetalactone, which wards away bugs. This same chemical is the one that attracts cats! Might not be your thing if you’re not a cat person.
Chrysanthemums are a member of the daisy family and come in a variety of happy, bright colors like yellow, orange and pink. They usually bloom between late summer and early winter depending on the type, so they’re a common bouquet choice in the fall. With flower shops and orchards putting them up for sale, you may be tempted to grow your own bunch! Even better, chrysanthemums contain pyrethrins, a compound used in many commercial insect repellents to keep most of the peskiest bugs like mosquitoes, roaches, beetles, ticks and silverfish away.
Alliums aren’t one type of specific plant, but actually a group of plants with similar characteristics. Chives, leeks, onions, garlic, scallions and shallots are the most popular kinds of alliums grown in gardens. Even though they sprout into bunches of cute little purple, white or pink flowers, they also grow into flavorful vegetables that we eat in a multitude of meals. Alliums are known for repelling slugs, flies, and worms, but not moths--so careful about those. Also be sure to grow them away from your cats and dogs! Like onions and garlic, they’re poisonous to your feline and canine companions.
If you’re into the essential oil fad, you’ve probably heard of citronella. Citronella oil is a popular fragrance as well as a natural pest repellent. However, it’s actually an oil found in lemongrass, which explains its citrusy scent. Lemongrass demands sun and warm weather, so if you live somewhere that gets very cold in the winter (sadly, that’s most of the US), you’ll need to replant it every year. But while it’s around, you could use lemongrass for your stews, a bit of natural air freshener and even in a DIY bug spray!
These plants will help you rid your garden of bugs, but you’ve got to do your part too. Keep your garden clean and free of any still water and trash, especially food scraps. You may want to consider the help of other bug-repelling tools like citronella diffusers (with their trusty sidekick essential oils and beeswax!) and candles. Either way, your beautiful home deserves a beautiful garden to match--preferably one without a bunch of six and eight-legged uninvited guests.