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10 Plants and Herbs that Keep Bugs Away

Want to keep the bugs away naturally? Plant these 10 plants and herbs on or around your deck to naturally repel bugs!

When we bought our house over 14 years, one of the things that we loved was the deck. We pictured family dinners on the deck and barbecues with friends. 

What I didn’t picture was the bugs and their love for me! We have tried a plethora of bug repellent ideas: candles, torches, zappers. You name it we tried it. 

In my search for the best bug repellents, I came across some natural ways to keep the bugs away, like my bug repellent mason jars

Along with the bug repellent mason jars, we have planted a bunch of flowers and herbs around the deck that naturally repel bugs! Not only do have I fresh herbs all spring and summer long, but I am keeping the bugs away from me and my family. We actually enjoy a nice meal on the deck without getting bit!

10 Plants and Herbs that Keep Bugs Away

Here are our favorite 10 plants and herbs that you can plant on or around your deck that will naturally keep the bugs away!

Herbs that Keep the Bugs Away


Basil is an aromatic herb that mosquitoes and flies do not like! Basil is one of the first herbs that I added to our outdoor herb garden years ago. I cook with it a lot (hello homemade tomato sauce and pesto!). It was until a few years ago that I learned that basil also was helping to keep bugs away!  

Basil is a popular herb that is not only delicious but also has insect-repelling properties. Its strong scent can repel mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. You can plant basil in your garden or in pots on your patio or porch to enjoy its natural bug-repelling benefits.

Alternatively, you can crush basil leaves and rub them on your skin as a natural insect repellent.


Peppermint is another aromatic herb that naturally repels mosquitoes. If you are going to plant peppermint, make sure you keep it contained because it likes to spread a lot! You can plant mint in smaller pots and place them all around your deck or patio to keep those pesky mosquitoes away. Its strong scent can  also deter ants and spiders. 

Alternatively, you can boil peppermint leaves them in water to create a natural insect repellent spray.

Bonus? You’ll have plenty of mint to garnish your iced tea, green tea soda, or summer cocktail that you can enjoy outdoors bug free!


Next to basil, rosemary is one of my favorite herbs to have around! Rosemary’s strong smell naturally drives flies and mosquitoes away. Its strong scent can mask the scent of humans and deter insects.

You can plant rosemary in your garden or in pots on your patio or porch to enjoy its natural bug-repelling benefits. Best of all, it thrives in hot, dry weather so it’s perfectly content to hang out on your deck or patio in the hot summer months.

As the plant grows, just clip some branches off to cook some of your favorite recipes, like this Sheet Pan Mustard Balsamic Pork Tenderloin.


Lavender has so many uses! From perfume to sleeping aides to cooking, there are so many things you can do with lavender. Not to mention is smells great.

As much as we love scent of lavender, mosquitoes, moths, and fleas do not! Which is why you should plant it in your outdoor herb garden!  All those pesky bugs that like to bother you when you are trying to enjoy a nice evening on your deck or patio!

If you have an abundance of lavender, you can dry the flowers and use them as a natural insect repellent sachet.


Who knew chives were so pretty? Chives are pretty, easy to grow and make good insect repellents.  Aphids, as well as certain types of beetles and flies, will turn the other way when they encounter chives in your herb garden. 

Plants that Keep the Bugs Away


If you plant any plant to keep bugs away, it should be lemongrass! While it’s a decorative grass, it does a lot more than just look pretty. Lemongrass contains citronella oil and is a natural mosquito repellent.

It also likes to grow in heat so it’s a perfect summer addition to your deck or patio. You can also cook with lemongrass, adding it to dishes for a zesty flavor!


Marigolds are another plant that have a strong scent that mosquitoes will naturally avoid! Marigolds are a hearty plant that grow easily (so if you have a black thumb these are perfect for you!) and can be grown in a flower bed or planter. 

Marigolds are a bright and colorful flower that can repel mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. They contain pyrethrum, a natural insecticide that can deter insects. 


Petunias are great at keeping bugs away! Not only do they keep pesky bugs away from people, but they will also help protect your vegetable garden! Petunias repel aphids, tomato worms, squash bugs and some types of beetles. They let off a light licorice smell which will keep some some insects away. Hang these brightly colored flowers in hanging baskets strategically around your home.  


Chrysanthemums, or mums, are a common garden plant that can help keep roaches, ants, beetles, ticks, lice, fleas, and mites away. Mums are so good at keeping bugs away that Pyrethrins, a compound that’s found in chrysanthemums, is used in many commercial insect repellents. 


When in bloom, Geraniums have pretty flowers with a lemon-like fragrance that can help keep bugs at away.  Geraniums can repel leafhoppers and other types of insects. One type of geranium, Pelargonium citrosum, is known as the Mosquito Repellent Plant.


Now that you have your herb garden, planters, and flower beds filled with plants and herbs that keep bugs away, here are some more bug repelling tips!

More Bug Repelling Tips!

  • Make your own bug repellent mason jars from the herbs you planted in the garden!
  • Get rid of standing water! Standing water is a breeding ground for bugs. Check bird baths, buckets, even toys that your kids leave laying around outside. 
  • When eating outside, keep your food covered! We love these food tents to place over food. 
  • Keep trash and recycling covered, and far away from where you eat and relax outside. 

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