18 Insect-Repelling Plants for Your Garden

Companion planting is a common way to control pests naturally. It involves growing plants that repel insects together in order to achieve certain results, based on anecdotal data. As with humans, insects also have their favorite foods and find them by scent. Planting onions between cabbages will confuse the insects’ sense of smell. You won’t be planting in neat rows or large blocks of one vegetable. But it’s not necessary to do so.

Many of these plants are herbs and can serve two purposes. Deterrent plants can also attract beneficial insects that you want to have in your garden. Another type of companion plant that has proven to be very useful for gardeners is this one.


Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil Herb Seasoning Plant Part Herb Garden

Basil is effective in repelling asparagus beetle and carrot fly. It also repels flies, whiteflies, mosquitoes and flies.2 The scent of the basil leaves will deter insects. So, gently touch the leaves as you walk past to release the oils. Annual.

USDA Growing Zones: hardy zones 10-11
Sun exposure: full sun
Moisture, richness, and well-drained are the soil needs

Borage (Borago Officinalis)
Borage with blue buds and flowers in the garden

Borage is effective in repelling imported tomato hornworms and cabbageworms2. Borage attracts pollinators and beneficial insects, including native bumblebees. You will always have a few in your garden if you let it self-seed. Prefers cooler temperatures.

USDA Growing Zones for Annual Plants
Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade
Soil needs: rich, well-drained land

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Marigolds in orange and yellow on a large organic planter

This edible flower attracts beneficial insects and repels pests like asparagus beetle.

USDA Growing Zones – Typically, an annual is grown. Hardy zones 9-11
Full sun to partial shade
Rich, well-drained and rich soil is needed.

Catmint (Nepeta)
Nepeta siberica (Siberian Catmint)

Catmint is effective against aphids as well as cabbage looper and other pests such a flea beetle. Catnip can spread aggressively and take over large areas of your garden. Perennial.

USDA Growing Zones 3 to 9
Full sun to partial shade
Soil needs: rich, well-drained land

Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
Chive flower macro

The chives will repel aphids, Japanese beetles and other pests.2 Harvest your chives regularly because they will spread rapidly if left to seeds. Even the flowers are edible.

USDA Growing Zones 3 to 9
Full sun exposure
Soil Needs: Rich, moist soil

Dill (Anethum gravolens).
Dill Stems

Dill repels spider mites and cabbage moths. Dill attracts beneficial insects such as parasitic hornworm-laying wasps and black swallowtail butterfly larvae. The larvae will eat some of the dill, but the butterflies are beautiful and won’t be around long. Biennial. Hardy up to 25 degrees F.

USDA Growing Zones for Biennial Plant
Sun exposure: full sun
Soil needs: loose, well-drained dirt

Garlic (Allium Sativum)
Garlic Bulbs

Garlic is effective against aphids as well as cabbage moths and codling moths. It also repels Mexican bean beetles as well as peach borers, Japanese beetles and rabbits. Garlic under roses is a classic technique for repelling Japanese beetles. Annual.

USDA Growing Zones 2-10 (varies depending on type)
Full sun exposure
Fertile soil that drains well is needed.

Hyssop (Agastache rupestris)
Giant Hyssop

Hyssop is a beautiful, fragrant plant that repels cabbage moths. Hyssop makes a great companion plant for any type of cole crop, since cabbage moths attack them all. Perennial.

USDA Growing Zones 3 to 9
Sun exposure: full to partial shade
Well-drained soil is the best type of soil.


Mint (Mentha),

Mint repels many insects, including aphids and whiteflies. It also works to keep away aphids. You can use sprigs to prevent this aggressive plant from destroying your garden. However, the sprigs need to be changed frequently. Plant pots of mint among your vegetables to contain the plant.

USDA Growing Zones 3 to 11
Sun Exposure: Part shade
Rich, slightly acidic soil is best for growing plants.

Onions (Allium cepa).
Red Onions

Onions repel aphids and other pests such as carrot flies, Colorado Potato Beetle, rabbits, and cabbage looper. In tests, carrots and onions worked well together. Annual.

USDA Growing Zones 3 to 9
Sun exposure: full sun
Needs soil: Loamy and well-drained soil

Oregano (Origanum)
Oregano Plant
Oregano repels cabbage moths. It can be hard to interplant, as it is a perennial that spreads. It is possible to plant freshly cut springs next to your cole crops. However, they will need replacing frequently. Instead, plant in pots or scatter them throughout the garden beds. Perennial.

USDA Growing Zones 5 to 10
Sun exposure: full sun
Soil Needs: Light, sandy, loamy soil

Parsley (Petroselinum)
Flat Leaf Parsley

Parsley repels asparagus bugs. You’ll also need to crush the leaves gently to release the aroma, just like with basil. Allow the flowers to bloom to attract parasitic bees.

USDA Growing Zones Biennials are hardy from zones 3 to 9.
Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade
Soil needs: rich, well-drained land


Radish (Raphanus sativus)
French Breakfast Radishes

Radish plants repel cucumber beetles, cabbage maggots, and squash bugs. You can get the best results by planting three to four radishes per cucumber hill. They should be left to mature as the cucumbers grow.

USDA Growing Zones for Annual Plants
Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade
Soil Needs: Rich, sandy, loamy soil

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary Herb Plant Vegetable Garden with Fresh Green Leaf Sprigs, Close-up

Rosemary is effective against cabbage moths, Mexican bean beetles and Mexican bean flies. It also repels slugs and sluglets. You can buy rosemary plants at the beginning of the season for a low price. They can be brought indoors as houseplants in the winter. Perennial

USDA Growing Zones 7 to 11
Sun exposure: full sun
Soil Needs: Sandy soil

Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Golden Sage

Sage repels carrot flies and cabbage moths. Sage is a perennial and is difficult to intercrop, but it is still very useful for the border. The best sage to use as a deterrent is the common sage.

USDA Growing Zones 5 to 8
Sun exposure: full sun
Soil needs: well-drained soil

Savory (Satureja Hortensis)
Summer Savoury (Satureja hortensis), a young annual herb plant.

Savory repels Mexican Bean Beetles. It is easier to plant summer savory than winter savory because it is usually grown as an annual.

USDA Growing Zones: Winter Savory Perennial; Summer Savory Annual
Sun exposure: full sun
Soil Needs: Rich, loose, sandy soil


Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Close up of a potted thyme with green leaves

Thyme plants repel tomato hornworms, corn earworms, and cabbage moths. Thyme is a low-growing plant that can be used as a ground cover in the garden. They spread more slowly than other perennial herbs, despite their rapid growth.

USDA Growing Zones 5 to 9
Full sun exposure
Soil needs: well-drained soil

Wormwood (Artemisia ludoviciana)
Absinthe wormwood is a plant.

It repels ants as well as cabbage loopers, carrot flies and flea beetles. It seems to also deter mice. To keep pests away, place pots in your garden or near the entrance. Perennial.

USDA Growing Zones 4 to 9
Sun exposure: full sun
Soil needs: well-drained soil