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Plants That Repel Pests

This photo of an English cottage garden in Oxfordshire, England was taken by Roderick Barnett and posted online by the Natioanl Education Network with the unique ID number 56421

In the Middle Ages housekeepers planted herbs and flowers amongst their crops to ward off pests. This type of garden was planted near the kitchen entrance of a home for efficiency. Here one would find flowers growing alongside edible plants. They were placed there solely for their ability to ward off pests that might otherwise harm the crops. They were never intended to be pretty. This planting strategy resulted in messy looking gardens that became known as cottage gardens. Today, some gardeners deliberately plant similar gardens using perennials and annuals without the crops. These carefree compositions require only minimal attention and usually reflect a preference for casualness.

From the cottage garden, here is a list of some flowering plants and herbs that do double duty by keeping pests away.

Allium. The garlic and onion varieties repel mice, moles and deter Japanese beetles and aphids. The leek and chive varieties deter the carrot fly and appear to improve the general health of plants.

Basil is an annual plant that repels mosquitoes and flies.

Borage is an annual plant that repels tomato worms.

Marigold is an old fashioned annual flower that repels nematodes and other garden pests including bean-beetles and Japanese beetles. Some gardeners have used marigolds with some success to ward off squirrels but have reported that this flower attracts spider mites.

Mint is a very invasive perennial that deters ants from dwellings and patios and deters cabbage moths from laying eggs.

Pelargonium. This geranium is an annual in cold climates. The white variety attracts Japanese beetles away from other plants and stuns them.

Pyrethrum, a perennial, is a source of insecticides. It repels aphids.

Rosemary is a tender perennial that deters the Mexican beetle and the cabbage moth from chewing foliage.

Tansy is a perennial that repels Japanese beetles, ants, and mosquitoes.

Thyme is a perennial spreader that deters cabbage worms.


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Reader Comments (1)

But Nemotodes eat the larvae of Vine Weevils and Vine Weevils are one of the three most evil things in the garden! Great article! I enjoyed reading it! Val

June 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValeri

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