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Best Indoor Plants To Repel Insects? (15 Plants With Brief Care)

Nothing is more irritating than insects and bugs inside your home or near you. Although there are many ways of using chemicals to keep them away, natural ways are better alternatives. One of them is growing indoor plants.

Indoor plants not only just make your surroundings feel alive, but they also help you to get rid of bugs and insects.

There are a lot of indoor plants which repel insects and bugs. Some of them are popular and common such as lavender, sage, rosemary, mint, basil.

They are all capable of keeping all sorts of insects away from your house due to the presence of some insecticidal compounds in them, be it bloodthirst mosquitoes or irritating ants.

It is not always safe to use chemical methods to repel insects. Most of these can be harmful. When their smell or gas gets into the air, we breathe it in and harm ourselves.

But if you own indoor plants that can repel insects, they will keep insects away and purify the air we breathe.

We will check out some indoor plants which can work as excellent insect repellents in this article. Along with that, we will also cover information about the plants’ care in brief.


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15 Indoor plants that repel insects

Growing indoor plants that repel insects is a natural way of keeping them away from you or your home. Using this natural way to keep insects away is the best option. 

However, some indoor plants can be toxic for pets. If you keep your indoor plants out of the reach of your pets, they will do their duty very well and keep the insects away. And they will also smell good.

Below, I have mentioned some indoor plants which are excellent choices for keeping bugs and insects away.

So, without any delay let’s look at 15 indoor plants to keep pests away:

Sage bush

It is believed that burning sage helps to get the negative energy out of homes. For using them as a repellent, take cuttings regularly, dry them up and then burn them. They will keep ants, flies, and mosquitoes away from your homes.

If you want to grow sage, make sure you give them direct sun. A south or west-facing window would be great. Soil should be well-drained. Maintain temperature between 60°F-70°F. Water them regularly. 

As these plants will remain under the direct sun, they will need more water. But water them only when the soil is dry. They won’t like standing in wet soil.

Basil

Basil is a popular herb. They are used in preparing food and work great as a repellent, especially for flies. They produce an intense smell that flies cannot stand. They are even safe for pets and children.

Basil grows best when exposed to the direct sun daily for 6 to 8 hours in the day. A south or west-facing window will work great. This herb enjoys moist soil conditions, so they need to be watered frequently.


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Chives

Chives are best utilized in food when sprinkled over a baked potato. Besides that, they are an excellent repellent for bugs and insects. 

Keep chives under the full or partial sun. They enjoy moist and well-drained soil. But do not overwater them.

Chives are drought-tolerant plants that do not need much fertilizer. But giving them nitrogen-based fertilizer during the spring or early summer will keep them healthy.

Citronella plant

This plant is also known as the mosquito plant. They are one of the most famous indoor plants for repelling insects, especially mosquitoes.

The oil of the Citronella plant is extracted and used in oil burners or diffusers. To use them as insect repellents, crush the leaves to release their fragrance all over the house.

These tropical plants will grow best in semi-shade. They would also require daily 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day. They can even grow under artificial lights. Frequent watering would be a good option for keeping them healthy.

Lavender

One of the most popular and effective deterrents is lavender. It is not only used as a repellent but using lavender essential oil will also calm down your mind and encourage sound sleep. 

Lavender is known to keep all sorts of insects and bugs away. The French one is easy to grow indoors.

The English type has a strong scent which will be more effective in repelling insects and bugs. It will also give your room a pleasant scent.

Lavender prefers growing in a lot of direct sunlight along with good ventilation. Keeping them near a window with a good amount of sunlight throughout the day with frequent breeze would be ideal. 

Try keeping the soil evenly moist. Water the soil only when the soil dries up. But don’t allow it to dry out totally. As lavender can grow quite big, you might have to repot them over time.

Catnip

Cats love this plant. These are also helpful to repel insects and bugs. They have a distinctive smell that is intolerable to insects.

The oil extracted from Catnip contains a chemical called nepetalactone, which helps kill insects like mosquitoes, cockroaches, mites, ticks, and many more. Their smell is much more pungent than any regular insect spray.

Give these plants a good amount of sun. Try keeping the soil moist but avoid overwatering. They like well-drained soil. They also grow flowers. Pinch off the flowers to help the Catnip concentrate more on producing leaves. 

As cats like them, it is better to keep your plant out of their reach, somewhere up, safe. This will prevent the cats from destroying them. 

Over time, they will start growing larger. You will have to repot them at that time.

Venus flytrap

As the name suggests, these plants will help you get rid of all sorts of flies. These plants are naturally an effective way to cut down all the insects. They are carnivorous plants that can trap, close, and eat insects that sit inside their mouths.

They need 4 hours of direct sunlight daily to remain healthy. You will have to water them with pure water, which is free of any hard minerals. Do not use tap water as that can kill your plant. Use distilled or rainwater. 

Always keep the soil moist. But do not overwater it. These plants can even grow in artificial lights. 

Rosemary

Rosemary will keep bugs away from you. When using them, pick some, dry them up, and then burn them near places where you suspect bugs enter, wander, or stay.

For keeping the rosemary healthy:

  1. Ensure that the soil is well-drained.
  2. Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.
  3. Keep them under the sun for 6 to 8 hours daily.

They cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Keep them in a room where they can get warm weather conditions.

Marigolds

This flowering plant is common both indoors and outdoors. They have a different smell which the insects do not enjoy. They contain pyrethrum, which is an insecticidal property used to make bug repellents.

Keeping marigold pots near places where that might be the entrance or residence of the insects will be helpful. Ants and mosquitoes especially dislike their smell.

Keep marigolds under the full sun. Placing them on an open balcony or near south or west-facing windows will help them get full sun.

Try maintaining an average temperature around marigolds. Water the plants when the top of the soil dries out. Remove the spent flowers to encourage abundant flowerings.

Lemongrass

These tall tropical grasses help eliminate mosquitoes by nearly around 95%, especially the oil formula.

Not only mosquitoes, but the oil can also repel flies. They have a strong lemon smell the insects cannot withstand. The plant also contains concentrations of citronella plant.

Lemongrass enjoys a lot of heat, sunlight, and moisture. Lemongrass will require full sun for at least 6 hours every day.

They need rich loamy soil that remains moist. Water whenever the top half-inch soil dries out. But once they are settled, they can tolerate drought to some extent. 



Mint

Try keeping their soil moist, not wet. Water only when the top part of soil dries out. They prefer indirect sunlight for good growth.

You can keep them near north or east-facing window during the summers and in winters near south or west-facing windows. 

Most repellents consist of mint oil essentials. Mint has a very pungent and invigorating smell which is not bearable by the insects.

They will prevent mosquitoes, flies, ants, moths, and even spiders. There are various types of mints available – peppermint, spearmint, water mint.

Chrysanthemums

These plants have prolific blooms. They are responsible for purifying the air we breathe by removing all the toxins from the air.

They also work as repellents for insects like ants, flies, lice, bedbugs, etc. They contain a neurotoxin named Pyrethrin, which is toxic to insects and can kill them.

Chrysanthemums need well-drained fertile soil to survive. They should be kept under bright sun for 5 to 6 hours. Make sure they can get good ventilation as they are prone to mildew. 

Water these plants consistently during the spring, summer, and fall. They enjoy moist soil but do not overwater or underwater them.

Snake plant

Snake plants are super effective in repelling bugs and insects. They have a chemical known as saponin, which is very irritating for mosquitoes and other insects.

However, they can be toxic to animals and children. If you have pets or babies at home, keep the plant out of their reach. 

Not only do snake plants repel insects, but they are also known to purify the air around us by eliminating toxins like xylene, formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides, and toluene.

Snake plants need water only when the soil dries out. Once in every 10 days would work. During the winter, watering them once a month would be fine. 

Snake plants are not at all fussy about light requirements. They can grow in any level of light: low, medium, or high. But make sure that the light intensity is not high. They prefer a well-drained potting mix.

Coleus Blumei

Coleus Blumei is available in a vast range of colorful leaves, nearly all colors seen in a rainbow. All sorts of insects stay away from this plant due to its scent. But one other thing is they also repel cats. So, if you have cats, do not grow them. 

The oil extracted from them not only just avoid bugs and insects, but it also prevents them from laying eggs, kills the eggs and larvae released by them.

They love the bright direct sun. Placing them in an open balcony or near a south or west-facing window would be ideal for them. They need moist soil to survive, but the soil must be well-drained. 

As they enjoy the direct sun, there are chances the soil can dry up quickly. As they like moist soil, you will have to water them regularly, but avoid soggy soil.

Jade plant

Jade plant or Crassula Arborescens is available in many varieties and colors. They have smooth and fleshy succulent leaves, which are pretty toxic for insects and the saps have a terrible taste, so the insects avoid infesting these plants.

They multiply fast. They need a medium amount of sunlight. Try to give them at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight daily, but save them from intense rays.

A well-drained soil that can prevent wet conditions would be ideal for them. Try adding sandy soil to their potting mix. As they are succulents, they can tolerate drought to some extent. They can grow at any temperature.

Final words

All the above-mentioned indoor plants will help you to deter bugs and insects. They will also help in purifying the air we breathe by removing all sorts of toxins from it.

However, some plants are quite toxic for pets and children. It is best to keep these indoor plants away from their reach, like placing them in some higher place.

Other than the mentioned plants, some other indoor plants can also help you repel insects and bugs. Whatever plant you wish you grow, research well and take care of them so that they can thrive and help detox your surrounding and keep bugs and insects away from your homes.


Ref: Plant-based insect repellents, Repellent Plants, Mississippi State University, Old Farmer’s Almanac.