6 plants that repel mosquitoes and flies

Using plants is a natural and effective way to repel mosquitoes, flies and other insects from entering your home. Certain plants can also prevent pests like slugs and snails from destroying your flower or vegetable garden. Here’s a list of the six best insect-repelling plants.

Citronella geranium

Citronella geranium (pelargonium citrosum)

Once the leaves are crushed this plant releases a pungent odour which has been known to repel mosquitoes and other bugs. It can also be used to make sprays or rubbed into the skin as repellent.

  • Grows approximately 1m x 70cm
  • Requires full sun and light shade
  • Prefers well-drained soil
  • Hardy plant

 

Rosemary

Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis)

An easy-to-grow and low-maintenance plant. It’s often used as a culinary herb due to its fragrant foliage but it also repels mosquitoes and other insects.

  • Grows approximately 1.8m x 1m
  • Requires full sun
  • Prefers well-drained soil
  • Hardy plant, prune well to maintain shape
  • For smaller gardens, they can be put in pots, or a ground-cover version is available
Basil

Basil

A tasty addition to meals and salads, it also repels house flies, mosquitoes and whiteflies. To make the most of its repelling effect, it’s best planted in pots and left near front entrance ways and alfresco areas.

  • Grows approximately 90cm x 60cm
  • Requires part to full sun
  • Use a good quality compost or potting mix and water regularly
  • Purple version available
Lavender

Lavender (lavandula species)

Unwanted bugsespecially fleas, flies, mosquitoes and mothshate the scent of lavender oil once its extracted. Another tip is to make small posies of lavender and then leave them in clothes drawers or cupboards to keep moths away.

  • Grows approximately 1.2m x 1.2m
  • Requires full sun
  • Use a good quality compost or potting mix, though it’ll grow well in most soil types
  • There’s many different varieties available to choose from including varying flower types, flower colours and heights
Marigolds

Marigolds

Most commonly used as a companion plant in vegetable gardens to attract bees and beneficial insects. At the same time, they repel nematodes and whiteflies. Nematodes are microscopic worms that cause havoc on the root system of plants; particularly the Solanaceae familycapsicums, potatoes, tomatoes etc. Once a marigold’s life is spent, they can be turned into soil.

  • Grows approximately 30cm x 30cm
  • Requires part to full sun
  • Use a good quality compost for planting and fertilise/water regularly
  • Removing spent flowers will encourage new growth
  • Look out for different colours
Thyme

Oregano, parsley or thyme

The scent given off from these plants confuses and repels pests and should be used as a companion plant. They’re also used for cooking.

  • Grows approximately 30cm x 50cm
  • Requires part to full sun
  • Use a good quality compost or potting mix for planting
  • Excellent also as a groundcover to supress weeds

Other plants to consider

  • Garlic
  • Lemon grass
  • Lemon thyme
  • Nasturtiums
  • Petunias
  • Tansy
  • Venus flytraps (or pitcher plants)
  • Wormwood

More ideas

View the full range of plants available at your local Bunnings or find more gardening tips in our Planting & Growing D.I.Y. Advice section.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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