Gardening Living Healthy

10 Herbs That Repel Garden Pests

Planting a garden is rewarding work, as long as you can keep the pests from getting to the plants before you do!

Photo Credit: Distant Hill Gardens via Compfight cc

There’s nothing more frustrating to gardeners than animals or insects that destroy the plants they’ve labored to grow.  I’m sure we’ve all been there: soil testing, careful planting, weeding and watering, but instead of enjoying fruit from our labors, garden pests can destroy the plants one by one.  Toxic insect sprays are not the only answer to maintaining a bug-free garden.  I prefer to take a more natural approach to the problem by mixing herbs that will repel the insects in with the vegetables.

Planting herbs and vegetables that compliment each other together  is what we call companion planting.

When paired correctly, herbs can repel insects that would otherwise destroy the nearby plant. Click To Tweet Here’s a list of 10 herbs that repel garden pests.

    • Basil repels mosquitoes, carrot fly, white fly, asparagus beetles
    • Catnip repels ants, weevils, squash bugs, aphids, beetles, cockroaches
    • Chamomile repels flying insects
    • Chives repels aphids, beetles, carrot fly
    • Dill repels squash bugs, spider mites, aphids, tomato hornworm, cabbage looper, the Small White
    • Garlic repels aphids, beetles, carrot fly, rabbits

  • Nasturtiums repels white fly, squash bugs, aphids, beetles, cabbage looper
  • Oregano repels several pests
  • Parsley repels asparagus beetle
  • Thyme repels corn earworm, white fly, tomato hornworm, cabbage looper, and maggot


If you have your garden well under way this summer but find that pests are a problem for you, it’s not too late to do something about it!  Many of these plants can be found at a local store or farmer’s market and planted next to the vegetables.

Be sure grab our free kid’s garden planner it contains:

  1. The Soil Worksheet– Soil preparation is a key ingredient for any garden, however small. You may want to have your children take notes as you research with them what to add or test in your soil.

 I recommend starting with a small garden box or raised bed and adding a soil mix of 2 parts compost & manure and 1 part peat moss. You may also want to add small amounts of  vermiculite, blood meal, and bone meal which can be found at local garden stores. How much you add would depend on the size box you are filling with your soil mixture. This way, you can control weeds and the content of your soil so much better. Proper soil makes for a successful garden experience.

2. The Spring Garden Plan– Use this page to draw a small design or plan for your spring garden. Below are fact boxes for spring crops and flowers commonly used. Have your children write the facts on these plants- such as what kind of conditions, spacing, and care they will need to grow their plant choices. You should actually go through the facts before your children plan their garden boxes so that they will know how much space they will need before they design the garden space.

And our Garden Notebooking Pages. They are marked down from $4.99 to $1.99 right now! Use the spaces provided for recording taxonomy as well as your observations as you grow your homeschool garden. The black and white and light color format makes printing affordable and allows for personalization as your child fills in each page. Choose from over 20 plants by common name. This packet also includes a blank page which can be printed multiple times.  This PDF includes 19 total notebooking pages and is a PDF digital download product.

Other articles that you may be interested in:

7 Medicinal Herbs to Grow in Your Garden  Plants that Can Help Improve Your Health
Choose Heirloom Seeds when planting your garden  

What kind of herbs do you use for companion planting?  Have you found other herbs that repel garden pests?  Please share with us in the comments below!

FDA disclaimer for posts with info about supplements Oct 2014

About the author


Jill York is a Christian herbalist and a homeschool mom of 4. As a young adult, she found her health spinning out of control, and was for the first time introduced to natural medicine, where she found healing. Her desire is to encourage and empower other moms to take control of their family's health naturally. You can find her blogging at Jill’s Home Remedies and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


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  • This info will be great with garden planning, my last attempted was shattered by a worm of sorts. The dand things ate all my leafies at the root. The grasshoppers always do a number on my tomatoes and cucumbers,…..but what about skinks that eat my berries!! I must get a grow house for them. LOL Thank you for sharing

  • Well I can honestly say that Basil did not repel japanese beetles but rather provided them with a feast. I had a beautiful basil plant that was demolished by those pesky little buggers.

  • Living in the Midwest (which feels like bug central) I love herbs and companion planting! I have many of the herbs listed paired with the desired vegetables. Although the herbs haven’t completed “solved” the problem of the bugs, we’ve had a bountiful harvest so far. Also, I’m learning to accept a few chewed leaves or the occasional destroyed plant as part of the challenge and joy of organic gardening.

    An experienced gardener friend also gave this excellent tip: weak plants seem like magnets to bad bugs. Keep the plants strong and your fight against bugs will be much, much easier.