9 Plants That Repel Flies


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Picture the scene; you’re sitting in your backyard taking in the beautiful scenery, perhaps indulging in a little al fresco dining but you’re being plagued by pesky flies.

This is a common problem and if we’re going to head outdoors, we’ve got to expect some interference from nature. However, you don’t want to have to be continually swatting flies away, and we think it’s time that they buzzed off!

The good news is that there are some plants that flies really don’t like.

From Experience: By planting these in and around your garden, you’ll reduce the fly population and be able to relax in peace. 

1 – Mint

There are many different types of mint but one thing that remains consistent between all varieties is a compound known as mentha.

This is what acts as such an excellent repellent for flies as well as a whole host of other insects.

Mint herbs
Mint plant

What’s great is that mint will still have the same effect when it is dry as when it’s fresh.

Of course, you can also extract the oil if you want something really potent. 

This oil can then be on your skin as well as on items around the garden as a way of repelling flies.

However, when growing mint you must keep in mind that, when left unattended, the plant will quickly take over.

For this reason, we would advise growing it in a container and paying close attention to the plant. 

2 – Lavender

One of the most fragrant plants in the world, and it doesn’t look too bad either, lavender acts as a good repellent to flies.

It’ll do very well in hot, dry climates best but it’ll also thrive during summer in cooler climates, dying out over winter and regrowing the following summer.

Lavander plant need sunlight

To avoid the roots becoming frozen, it’s best to keep them in a greenhouse during the colder months. 

There are various different types of lavender and each one is better suited to different climates so it is wise to choose one that will thrive where you are.

Works Best: While it can be grown in the ground, many prefer to pot lavender as this gives you the ability to move it around depending on your fly control needs.

3 – Wormwood

Wormwood is a great option if you don’t have a lot of gardening experience as it is a very easy plant to grow.

The reason that it is so effective in keeping flies away is thanks to the particles in the leaves which naturally repel flies and other insects.

Wormwood repels flies

You’ll also be able to use wormwood as a personal product as the leaves can be rubbed directly onto the skin to keep those pesky flies away.

That said, you must be very careful when using wormwood and take great care not to ingest it as it can have some very serious side effects; so much so that many countries have banned it!

4 – Petunias

If you are looking for a plant that has proven its insecticide abilities time and time again then petunias are a good choice.

Petunias repels flies

They are perfect for keeping away flies like aphids as well as small beetles and other pests.

What’s more, they’re a very visually pleasing flower that comes in a range of purplish hues brightening your garden as well as protecting it. 

Petunias are also incredibly versatile in terms of where you can plant them.

It is just as easy to pot them or put them into a hanging basket as it is to plant them in a bed. Just keep in mind that they like a lot of sun. 

5 – Marigolds

Marigolds are an excellent choice for keeping out whiteflies when growing an indoor garden.

That said, they will thrive outdoors but it is better to pot them and provide them with good light levels.

Planting Marigolds in a pot
Planting Marigolds

These plants will do much better in warm climates and give off a beautiful scent which is perfect for a sunny patio. What’s more, this scent is known to repel a lot of other insects. 

The great thing about these plants is that they’ll also work well for repelling larger animals like rabbits.

Plus: They’re super easy to take care of so make a good beginner plant. 

6 – Tansy

Tansy will repel flies to a certain extent when simply grown in your garden but the best way to use this plant is by extracting the oils which can then be used to make a repellent spray.

This can be put onto your body or sprayed around parts of the house and garden where flies are a problem.

Tansy repels flies

It is best to use dried tansy leaves as these will make a more potent repellent but fresh leaves will still have a decent effect.

You’ll need to steep the leaves in hot water to make the spray and other ingredients like lavender can be added.

Just keep in mind that, when ingested, tansy can be incredibly toxia, especially to livestock.

For this reason, we would always recommend growing it in a container so that the roots can’t spread. Otherwise, it is a simple plant to take care of.

7 – Basil

Not only is basil an important kitchen ingredient but it also makes a brilliant fly repellent.

Cut the Plants at the Right Places
Basil in a pot

The fresh scent of the plant is what makes it so effective and whether you grow it on its own or add a few sprigs into a flower arrangement indoors, it’ll work just as well.

However, this is more of an advanced plant as you will need to make sure that it doesn’t flower. This will prevent the fragrant leaves from growing and remove its effectiveness as a repellent.

When flowers begin to develop, you’ll need to snip these off as soon as possible. 

8 – Rosemary

Rosemary is a beautifully fragrant plant that can also be used in cooking but do keep in mind that it can grow to be very big.

Rosemary herbs

In some cases, these plants can grow as wide as five feet and up to four feet in height. This means that you’ll need to ensure enough room for the plant and give it plenty of sun.

The earthy scent of this plant is what will repel flies and other insects and what’s great is that it is a year round plant that remains evergreen in a lot of growing zones.

Nice Tip: Unless there will be a significant temperature drop during winter, you’ll be safe leaving it outdoors. 

9 – Pennyroyal

One of the most potent plants on this list, pennyroyal is an incredibly effective fly repellent.

However, you should take great care when growing this plant as if it is ingested, it can be dangerous.

Pennyroyal repels flies

That said, you can rub the plant onto yourself, your clothing, and fabrics to keep flies at bay.

Pennyroyal doesn’t grow high and so is a good choice for planting in and around veggie patches to keep insects and flies away.

Since pennyroyal is part of the mint family, it’ll grow very quickly, so this is something you will need to keep on top of.

Final Words

As you can see there are a number of plants that can repel flies and other nasty insects. This has to be a better way to do it than sprays and chemicals, Right?

I think so.

What’s your favorite plant from the list. For me… It has to be Mint.

Not only will it repel flies but I can keep growing and cutting it for cooking and it will last a very long time if you harvest it correctly.

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