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Plants for the House and Patio That Bugs Don’t Like

Worrying about insects is almost incidental to having plants at home. Houseplant bugs like scales, whiteflies, mites, and even mosquitoes are some of the worst things to have around at home. Good thing for you, first-time plant-moms, there are several types of indoor plants that repel bugs and mosquitoes. 

Indoor plants or houseplants are plants that can grow indoors or in resident areas. They have been around all these times, but lately, they have been highly trendy among millennials and gen-Zs. In fact, the 2019 National Gardening Survey showed a sum of $52.3B spent on lawn and garden purchases by American plant-lovers between ages 18-34. 

Houseplants are pretty and can improve the overall atmosphere of a space, but most importantly, they bring mental clarity for most people. Aside from that, there are proven health benefits to nurturing plants indoors. For instance, studies show that engaging with plants decreases blood pressure and does wonders for one’s nervous system and well-being. 

Overall, indoor and even outdoor plants are good companions. That is until they bring the bugs right in!

Plants that Repel Bugs and Mosquitoes

Plant bugs—all the social media posts about indoor plants don’t show you this part of the experience. Bugs inevitably cling to plants, and some long-time plant parents have learned how to deal with this. However, for beginners, it might be a difficult job to do.

Luckily, you can get indoor plants that will naturally do the job of some commercial insecticides. This article will introduce you to some house and patio plants that repel bugs and mosquitoes. Now, let’s take a look at some indoor plants that repel bugs.


indoor plants that repel bugs
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One of the most fragrant yet also one of the most potent insect repellents is the lavender plant. Lavender belongs to the plant family of mints, most commonly known as Lamiaceae. It is lavender in color (as the name suggests) and has many uses, including aromatherapy.

Funny enough, the scent that we so love is the reason why it’s able to drive insects away! The smell that lavender oil produces deters mosquitoes’ olfactory sense, making it difficult to trace human scent. Aside from mosquitoes, the lavender plant itself can repel moths, fleas, flies, ants, spiders, and many other plant insects. 

Lavender is typically placed outdoors, but it can be an indoor plant so long as it is placed somewhere sunny. These plants thrive in pots with sound drainage systems, so sand in the potting mix is advisable. The best place to put them is in the entryways or doorways to prevent house bugs from entering.


This might be the best and essential plant to put on your patio. This plant is another species of the Lamiaceae plant family. Basil is green in color, and its leaves are popularly used for culinary purposes. And we happily find basil among the indoor plants that repel bugs!

Basil is not simply tasty, but it also can repel bothersome insects like flies and mosquitoes. There are studies showing that basil possesses four substances that repel mosquitoes. Its leaves can also double as natural repellents when mixed in boiling water. 

This herb-slash-plant-slash-insect repellent is highly sensitive to cold and drought. It thrives in a sunny environment with an adequate drainage system, and it needs diligent watering to keep it damp. Ideally, you can place your basil plant by the door, window, or even on your patio!


Catnip is a plant that belongs to the family of mint and emits a strong scent that can throw off insects any day! It is not a sensitive plant so that it can grow pretty much anywhere. It is known as a type of weed, so you can expect it to be quite invasive and stubborn.

Despite this, catnip is a great plant to have in your indoor jungle as it is an excellent mosquito repellent. Research by the Iowa State University revealed that catnip is ten times more effective than a chemical used in insecticides. Catnip releases nepetalactone, an active ingredient that protects it from herbivorous insects.

However, if you have a pet cat at home, keeping your catnips in a high place might be wise. Cats are incredibly attracted to the smell of this plant and will play with it carelessly. Absence of a cat at home; you can leave this anywhere inside your home or on your patio.


plants that repel bugs and mosquitoes
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We find another herb here as an insect repellent. Rosemary is a powerful natural insecticide and also a great addition to your kitchen spices! Like basil, rosemary is widely used in a lot of cuisines as a form of seasoning.

The smell of rosemary makes it an aggressive insect repellent as it impedes insects’ ability to aim directly at humans. It also makes for a potent mosquito repellent if you throw some of its leaves and stems on fire. Overall, the ability of the rosemary plant to keep bugs like mosquitoes, moths, and flies out of the door is indubitable. Yes, we definitely include Rosemary among the outdoor or indoor plants that repel bugs.

The downside of keeping this plant is that it is susceptible and may not be ideal for plant beginners. While you may place it indoors or outdoors, it is best to put it in a sunny area as it likes the climate hot and dry. Rosemary plants require at least six to eight hours of sunlight every day.


Many names for a pennyroyal plant include pudding grass, squaw mint, and mosquito plant. It is widely known to protect spaces from mosquitoes and other bugs naturally. This plant is also commonly used for medicinal purposes, though scientific research is needed to support its therapeutic claims.

Pennyroyal gives off a powerful smell akin to that of spearmint. This scent prevents mosquitoes from flying around the area in which pennyroyal is planted. To make things better, it eventually kills off any insects that may have managed to pass.

It is relatively easy to take care of as it can thrive in direct or even indirect sunlight. It is low-growing and usually just grows in trails, making it a pretty hanging plant. Remember to plant pennyroyal in a pot as it is invasive and will take up garden spaces if not contained. 


This flowering plant might just be one of the loveliest natural insecticides ever to exist! Chrysanthemums are known as colorful, vibrant flowers popular during the autumn season and are eye-catching decorations. However, aside from their ability to beautify a space, chrysanthemums are also insect repellents. 

The flowers of chrysanthemums carry pyrethrum, which is a substance used in natural insecticides. This substance allows chrysanthemums to be a potent repellent of ants, fleas, lice, ticks, flies, mites, bed bugs, beetles, and even roaches. Because of this, you will often see vegetable gardens equipped with strategically placed chrysanthemum pots. 

Chrysanthemums require an average amount of care. It thrives in bright and sunny areas and needs water when it dries. It is also advisable to pick off any withered flowers or discolored leaves to make way for new blooms.


Another excellent repellent and home decoration is the marigold flowering plant. This plant belongs to the sunflower family, Asteraceae, and bears annual flowers with rich blooms. Marigolds are suitable for aesthetic purposes as well as for keeping pestering insects away.

Like the chrysanthemums, marigolds also contain pyrethrum, an ingredient for most insect repellents in the market. The scent of this plant prevents insects from invading and attracts bugs that promote healthy plant growth and keep pests away. Marigolds are especially good for repelling mosquitoes and protecting spaces from aphids, thrips, whiteflies, vegetable bugs, and even rabbits.

These plants are pretty easy to manage and can even withstand dry, humid conditions. They grow under full sun to partial shade and like to be watered after their soil has dried out. They are also great plants to have around vegetable gardens because of their pest-repellent properties. 


Mint is a perennial herb that possesses a strong, fragrant scent, which you are probably very familiar with. Humans consume mint in the most number of ways possible—as food garnish, in drinks, desserts, and so many other ways. Mint is popular among vegetable gardeners as it protects the area from harmful pests. In fact, one of mint’s benefits is that it is among the indoor plants that repel bugs.

This plant has a pungent odor that is excellent at repelling mosquitoes. Moreover, the scent of mint can drive aphids, ants, and even cabbage moths away from your little home jungle. You can dry its leaves and leave them in various parts of your house to keep pests away for added benefits.

Another great thing about this plant is that it is low maintenance and can be placed indoors or outdoors. All you have to do is leave them in full sun or partial shade and keep them damp. Beware of its invasive tendencies, though, and remind yourself to pot them unless you want them to take over your entire garden.

Consider Adding Plants that Repel Bugs and Mosquitoes To Your Home

Are you ready to enjoy indoor planting minus the bugs? Now that you have an idea of what indoor plants double as insect repellents get your pots and trowels and start planting!  Remember to include some indoor plants that repel bugs, too.

It’s time we stop using chemical insect repellents, which are environmentally and physically harmful. Instead, start investing your time, money, and energy on plants that bugs don’t like for your house and patio. Plant smart!


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