Houseplants that repel bugs - feature image

We all know that houseplants are all the rage right now. Since we’re spending so much time at home, it makes sense to add some green friends to keep us company. However, there’s one kind of company we don’t want — bugs.

The great news is that you can kill two birds with one stone by adding some houseplants that keep these pests away. Whether you’re buying a plant at the store or sending one to a friend through a plant delivery service, consider these functional and beautiful plants.


If you’ve ever bought a citronella candle to keep mosquitos away, you know the power of this scent. However, you might not know that the citronella present in these candles is derived from a plant. While some people think citronella is derived from a type of geranium known as the citronella plant, the truth is that citronella comes from plants in the lemongrass family.

That’s right! While you may equate lemongrass with culinary uses, it can also be used to keep away mosquitos. Since lemongrass can grow over four feet tall, it’s a great houseplant for an open corner of your home.




These cheerful flowers, also known as mums, often make an appearance in the fall. However, you can keep them as a houseplant all year round. And you should due to their ability to keep insects away!

Certain compounds in mums called pyrethrins can repel unwanted bugs including roaches, fleas, and flies. These pyrethrins are so powerful that they’re extracted and used in organic insecticides.


Gardeners love planting marigolds next to their vegetables, since they keep away unwanted insects.

However, marigolds aren’t just for the outdoor garden! You can utilise the pest-repelling powers of these cheerful flowers by planting some in a pot inside. Just make sure to give them lots of sun and a pot that can handle their growth.


While felines love the scent of this plant, most bugs hate it. Scientists have found that a compound in catnip is actually ten times more effective at keeping away mosquitos than the insect repellent DEET.

Catnip loves the sun, so a south-facing window is the perfect location.




With cascading saucer-shaped leaves and bright blooms, nasturtiums look gorgeous in a pot or hanging basket. Not only do they add some beauty to your house, but they also keep away various types of beetles and caterpillars.

Nasturtiums aren’t particular about humidity, although they do enjoy average humidity levels. If you’re planning to put this plant in your garage, a garage dehumidifier can keep the humidity perfect for this plant to keep away any pesky bugs.


We all love the fresh scent and delicious taste of basil. Another reason to love this herb is that it’s a pro at repelling different types of flies.

Since basil continues to produce stems from new growth points, you can harvest some of the plant and it will keep growing. Therefore, you can keep it in your kitchen as both a seasoning and a fly control.


Oregano is another fragrant herb that humans love but insects despise. The various compounds in this herb keep away beetles, flies, and moths.

When you’re growing oregano indoors, make sure it has lots of sunlight. Also, remember that it’s susceptible to overwatering, so only water when the soil appears dry.

Venus Fly Traps

Venus fly trap


Unlike the previously mentioned plants, the venus fly trap doesn’t repel bugs. Rather it attracts them and then kills them! Since it helps lower the populations of flies in your house, it makes the list.

These plants perform best in indirect light which mimics their natural environment. Even with the perfect environment, don’t expect them to get rid of an insect infestation, since they only eat about one bug per month.

Pests Away and Beauty to Stay

By choosing houseplants that repel bugs, you’ll improve your home in more than one way. You’ll have to deal with less creepy-crawly issues and you’ll add a touch of beauty to your living spaces. So pick a few plants from this list and give them a new home!

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  • Barbara Stollow

    Michael can you use flower power on hydrophilic plants

    September 12, 2020

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