5 Beautiful houseplants that repel pests

So you head on down to Home Depot (or wherever), for some skull and crossbones spray (or whatever), but the problem with that approach is what poisons them, also poisons us. Chemicals with names longer than my list of monthly bills destroy “good” bugs with the bad, and they can even wreck entire ecosystems.


Basil has a great reputation for shooing mosquitoes, fruit flies, gnats and houseflies. It can be potted, grown indoors, and best of all: if it doesn’t work as well as you expected you can just add it to your marinara sauce.


Lavender is a major player in the Boogey-bug league, and an expert at deterring flies, fleas, moths, mosquitoes, beetles, roaches, and many other pests. As a bonus, its aroma is wonderful and relaxing – but you knew that already. As a caveat to those with pollen allergies, you might situate your lavender plantation in a pot outside a door.


Venus flytraps
“Feed me, Seymour!” Venus flytraps will help you decimate your buggies and even give you a gruesome little show. The wild version of these cuddly little fellows live entirely in the bogs and swamps of the coastal Carolinas.


Marigolds have a beautiful bloom and a strong scent that drives bugs crazy (and not in a good way). Consider placing them near doors or in window boxes to deter the critters from ever coming in. Marigolds are said to repel mosquitoes, flies, gnats, midges and even mice (which may not be bugs, but you still don’t want them in your home).


Lemongrass is great for banishing a variety of insects. I’m talking flies, ticks, ants, gnats, and of course, mosquitoes. I say “of course” because citronella, the essential oil found in stems and leaves of lemongrass, is the active ingredient used in most mosquito-chasing candles, sprays and lotions. Consider growing lemongrass in pots near your doors or windows to help keep critters in their proper habitat.

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