Insect Repelling Plants

Living in Calgary, we’re always looking for ways to spend time outside without having to deal with those annoying bugs. We already have such a small window for enjoyable outdoor time, so don’t let the fear of bugs keep you inside. We’ve compiled a chart of plants you can keep around to effectively ward off those pesky little bloodsuckers.


Will It Repel?

pest, bug, bugs, repel, repellent

Graph showing which plants will repel certain bugs.




Fun facts:


  • Marigolds, basil, lavender, and lemongrass can all be planted near the doors of your house to help keep mosquitoes from hanging around and waiting for that opportune moment to sneak inside.


  • Mint and catnip (which is in the mint family) spread very quickly and have been known to take over gardens, so it’s best to plant them in pots to keep them under control.


  • The compound in catnip that repels bugs (nepetalactone) is the same compound that attracts cats.


  • Mint can be used in your mulch to keep any pests from wreaking havoc on your other plants.


  • Natural bug spray can be made from basil, mint, rosemary,  or sage if you’re looking for a more challenging project (HERE)


Basil bug spray: A simple recipe calls for pouring 4 ounces of boiling water into a container with 4 to 6 ounces of clean, fresh basil leaves (stems can be attached), letting the leaves steep for several hours, removing the leaves and squeezing all of the leaves’ moisture into the mixture. Then thoroughly mix 4 ounces of (cheap!) vodka with the basil-water mixture. Store in the refrigerator and apply as a spray when going outdoors. (Recipe HERE)


Mint bug spray: The plant’s aromatic oils can be extracted and combined with apple cider vinegar and cheap vodka (or witch hazel) to make a mosquito repellent. (Recipe HERE)


Rosemary bug spray: Make a simple repellent spray by boiling 1 quart of dried rosemary in a quart of water for 20 to 30 minutes and then straining the liquid into a container at least a half-gallon in size that contains a quart of cool water. Put a cap on the combined liquid and store it in the refrigerator. Add the repellent to small squirt bottles as needed when going outdoors. Discard the remaining repellent in the refrigerator when it no longer has a strong telltale smell of rosemary. (Recipe HERE)



  • Chives, leeks, onions, garlic, scallions and shallots fall into “alliums” group. They grow tall with pretty purple, white or pink flowers, and help protect other veggies (and your yard) against slugs, flies and worms, although they can attract moths. Be warned that allium plants can be extremely toxic to dogs and cats.


  • Major ant problem? Try using cucumber slices or chalk as a safe repellent on the ground.


  • Another way to keep bugs from collecting in your yard is to remove any standing water, as this provides a breeding ground for most bug species. Standing water includes buckets, puddles, stagnant ponds, and still bird baths.


Now that you’ve got some tools to tackle the bug problem, get out there and enjoy your yard while you can!





Inspiration Taken From:

Hello Glow. (2019, Aug). 10 Bug-Repelling Plants Your Backyard Needs. Retrieved from Hello Glow:

Mother Nature Network. (2019, Apr). 16 Plants That Repel Unwanted Insects. Retrieved from Mother Nature Network:

Tru Green. (2018, Oct). 11 Graden Plants to Help Keep Bugs Away. Retrieved from Tru Green: