Flowering plants that repel insects

Updated February 21, 2017

Enjoying your backyard and garden is not a lot of fun if you are constantly having to battle insects. While you might be tempted to douse yourself with a bucket of insect-repellent, it is much more environmental friendly and attractive to plant a few flowers that will repel the insects for you. These plants are known to repel all sorts of insects including fleas, beetles, ants, aphids, cockroaches and even mosquitoes.


Although known for attracting cats, catnip is also very effective at repelling a variety of insects including ants, aphids, cockroaches, flea beetles and Japanese beetles. Catnip oil is also more effective at repelling mosquitoes then DEET, according to a Iowa State University research group. It is a hardy perennial that will grow about 2 to 5ft. tall. It has small white or lilac flowers.


Lavender is known better for its smell than its ability to repel insects. However, this hardy plant is known to repel ticks, moths and even mice. It is extremely drought resistant and produces a bushy purple flower.


The fragrance given off by marigolds is unappealing to a variety of insects including Mexican bean beetles, asparagus beetles, nematodes and tomato worms. They are easy to grow in all but the coldest of climates and may even flower in the winter in warmer climates. Flowers are round and come in a multitude of colours including cream, orange, burgundy, yellow and bi-colours.


Commonly found in most homes and gardens, geraniums are known to repel cabbage worms, leafhoppers and red spider mites. However, a special variety of geranium known as the citronella geranium or mosquito plant has been known to repel mosquitoes. This plant contains citronella oil, the same oil that is contained in citronella candles, that can be released when the leaves are rubbed or crushed. These plants produce a small, five-petal flower.


Tansy is very easy to grow, to the point that it is considered a noxious weed in some areas. It can also be fatal if ingested by some animals and should be grown with care. However, it does repel ants, flies, fleas, moths, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles and squash bugs. It produces a small, round yellow flower.


Nasturtiums is a great plant that can grow in average to poor soil in dry conditions where other plants might not. They are also good at repelling squash bugs, striped pumpkin beetles, woolly aphids and white files.

Other Flowers

A few other flowers that have been known to repel insects include rue, borage, calendula, chrysanthemum, cosmos, rosemary, sunflowers and mint.

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About the Author

Darcy Logan has been a full-time writer since 2004. Before writing, she worked for several years as an English and special education teacher. Logan published her first book, "The Secret of Success is Not a Secret," and several education workbooks under the name Darcy Andries. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Arts in special education from Middle Tennessee State University.