Plants that repel flies – 16 of the best

There’s no doubt that summer is one of the best times of the year. The sun is out, the temperature is warmer, and people seem to be in a better mood overall. Many of you will find yourselves opening up your windows to enjoy the nice summer breeze. One of the drawbacks to summer is it brings with it those annoying flies… So what are the best plants that repel flies? Let’s find out:

deter flies

Table of Contents

Plants that repel flies

So here are 16 of my favorite plants that can repel flies. Some of them are more common than others and you might already have some of them in your garden:

  1. Bay Laurel
  2. Carnivorous plants
  3. Catnip
  4. Citronella Grass
  5. Eucalyptus
  6. Lavender
  7. Lemon balm
  8. Marigold
  9. Mint
  10. Penny Royal
  11. Rosemary
  12. Rue
  13. Sage
  14. Sweet Woodruff
  15. Tansy
  16. Wormwood
medicinal and culinary qualities rosemary

Bay Laurel

If you’re looking to grow an entire hedge of plants that are fantastic at those annoying critters out of your garden and away from your home then a bay laurel is a fantastic option. This plant is also known as Sweet Bay and has an upright growth habit and produces yellow blooms.

If you bunch your bay laurel plants together in direct sunlight, they will create a barrier that will discourage flies. Additionally, I’ve used Bay laurel leaves in other areas of my house like the kitchen; you can put them on your countertop or in cabinets and drawers to keep weevils away from dry food items.

Bay laurels are also useful when it comes to cooking! The leaves can be used to infuse dishes with a Mediterranean twist, add an aroma, and add an intense flavor to lots of different types of dishes. You can make a fantastic pasta sauce by crushing some of the leaves with garlic and olive oil, adding it to cooked tomatoes, and then simmering for about 10 minutes.

indoor and outdoor pests

Carnivorous plants

Carnivorous plants are a great way to keep flies away. These plants attract and trap their prey with specialized hairs on the leaves, then digest them with enzymes. Carnivorous plants come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from Venus flytraps to pitcher plants, so you can find one that fits your garden aesthetic perfectly.

These fascinatingly weird plants also need specific conditions to thrive, so be sure to do your research before deciding which one is right for you. Plus they look amazing when grown correctly! Carnivorous plants may not be everyone’s idea of beauty, however, they are effective at keeping flies away and that’s all that matters in the end.

venus flytrap


Nepeta cataria is an herb that easily grows and spreads quickly. It has a strong, minty smell that cats love and it also happens to be an effective fly repellent. Like mint and pennyroyal, catnip is a plant that grows rapidly, so it’s best to keep it in a pot. With that being said, you can also plant it along the edges of your garden or in containers on your windowsills.

Catnip is easy to grow and maintain; it even tolerates some shade but thrives best when grown in full sun. It’s a great addition to any herb garden and can be used for tea or as a garnish for dishes. Plus, cat owners will enjoy knowing that their cats are getting a natural treat with this plant.

Catnip plant

Citronella Grass

If you live in a warmer climate, chances are you’ve seen citronella grasses before. They’re popular ornamental plants that many people use to decorate their gardens and landscapes. But what many people don’t know is that citronella grass emits a scent that repels flies and other insects.

It is a common misconception that the plant wards off biting insects when actually it is the oil found in fronds. The fragrance given off provides relief to those who are brushed against it. Essentially it’s a little like mosquito repellent where you will get the most benefit from breaking off one of the fronds and rubbing it against your skin or clothing.

You can also make a spray out of it by crushing up the leaves, adding water, and letting it sit for a day. Spraying this around your outdoor space will help keep those pesky flies away. Citronella grass is easy to care for and it looks great in any garden. Plus, it’s an attractive plant with its tall stalks and bright green leaves.

Citronella Grass prevents flies


Eucalyptus trees are great for keeping flies away, as well as adding some height and structure to your garden. They can also act as windbreaks when planted in rows. Eucalyptus is a hardy tree that grows quickly, reaching heights of up to 20 feet or more in just a few years.

Some species of this tree can reach 130 feet in height, so it is best to choose a variety of smaller species that prefer to be grown in smaller pots. On its own, it produces a scent that flies find unpleasant, but it’s even more effective when combined with other fly repellents such as lemongrass or pennyroyal.

When diluted with water and used as a spray, it is just as effective against mosquitoes as DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide). This makes it an ideal choice for gardeners who want to keep their gardens fly-free without using harsh chemicals.

Eucalyptus plant


Lavender is a favorite ornamental plant among gardeners all over the world. Its beautiful purple flowers add a touch of Mediterranean uniqueness to any garden, and its intoxicating scent is loved by everyone who smells it.

But what many people don’t realize is that lavender not only looks good, it’s also a great way to keep flies away. The scent of its oils repels flies and other insects and can be used both topically and as a spray for outdoor use in gardens and around patios and decks.

Plus, lavender is easy to grow and maintain; it’s drought-tolerant and needs only minimal water. It’s also fairly low maintenance and doesn’t require pruning or fertilizing. So with a little bit of effort, you can enjoy beautiful purple blooms in your garden all season.

Lavender plant

Lemon balm

Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and has been used since ancient times to treat various ailments. It’s also great for keeping away flies, as its leaves have a scent that repels them.

It’s easy to grow lemon balm and it can tolerate partial shade. Like most herbs, it needs well-drained soil and plenty of sun. It’s a fast-growing herb that spreads quickly, so it’s best to give it its own area in the garden or keep it in a pot. Lemon balm is great for teas, salads, and sauces, and its pleasant aroma and flavor make it great for adding to dishes. And, of course, its fragrance keeps flies from becoming a nuisance in your outdoor space.

Lemon balm plant


The best thing about marigolds is that they are versatile and make great companion plants in vegetable gardens. The orange flowers brighten anybody’s day and can even be used to garnish salads and desserts. However, this isn’t the marigold’s greatest strength… they are fantastic at preventing pests such as flies.

Marigolds are a beautiful addition to any garden, and they serve a greater purpose than just being pretty. These flowers have been scientifically tested and proven to keep pests like aphids, whiteflies, cabbage loopers, and flies out of the garden. So not only will planting marigolds make your outdoor space more enjoyable, but it will also require less maintenance from you down the road.

marigolds plants


Personally, I feel that mint is one of those universally loved smells. It’s fresh and delicious – something that everyone can appreciate. Well, except for flies. They seem to hate the smell of mint just as much as we love it. Rodents also despise the scent of mint, which makes it an ideal way to keep them away from your home.

The benefits of this plant are most potent when the leaves are fresh, but they remain effective even when they are dried. Mint can be added to potpourri, used as part of a homemade fly-repellent spray, or even chewed on to drive away bugs. It’s also an easy plant to grow and maintain – it loves the sun and doesn’t require too much water.

Mint is the perfect plant for anyone who struggles to keep herbs alive. This plant requires very little maintenance and spreads quickly, so much so that it can become invasive if not kept in check.

mint plant


While Mentha pulegium is a member of the mint family and a great addition to any garden, it also serves as an effective bug repellent. This plant has a strong, pungent scent and it’s been used as an insect repellent since ancient times. It’s also known to repel fleas, ticks, flies, beetles, ants, and other unwanted pests.

Pennyroyal is an easy-to-grow herb and can be grown in partial shade or full sun. The leaves are quite fragrant when crushed, so the scent will instantly ward off pesky bugs.

If eaten, this plant will lead to liver damage and a host of other issues. Consequently, it is best to keep this plant in the garden to chase away flies instead of bringing it inside. It’s also invasive, which means it can quickly spread if not contained.



Rosemary is an herb that has been used for centuries as a condiment and medicinal plant. Not only does it taste great, but its strong scent serves as a natural fly repellent. This makes rosemary the perfect companion plant in any garden or outdoor space.

The best way to use rosemary as a bug repellent is to use the fresh leaves. Rosemary can be grown in containers, making it easy to move around if necessary – just make sure to give it plenty of sunshine and water when needed

Rosemary’s woody stalks and fragrant leaves are also useful for making insect-repelling wreaths or bouquets. These can be placed near windows or doors to keep flies away.

Rosemary plant


Often referred to as the “herb of grace,” rue is a hardy evergreen shrub with yellow-green foliage and small blue flowers. It’s an easy plant to grow, and its strong aroma serves as an effective fly repellent.

Rue leaves should be harvested while they are still young and fresh – this will give them the most potent scent possible. They can then be dried and used in sachets or bundles that can be hung near windows or doors.

These aromatic bunches of rue will keep flies away for long periods of time, so you won’t have to worry about pesky bugs in your home or garden.

Rue plant


This savory herb is a popular culinary ingredient, but it also serves as an effective fly repellent. The strong smell of sage drives away flies while also providing a pleasant scent to your outdoor space.

The best way to use sage as a bug repellent is to grow the plant and harvest the leaves when they are fresh. Sage loves the sun and should be planted in well-draining soil. Once harvested, you can dry the leaves and hang them around your home or garden – this will help keep flies away for extended periods of time.

Sage is also both easy to care for and long-lasting, so you won’t have to worry about having enough foliage throughout the season. This makes it perfect for anyone who wants an easy, natural way to keep flies away.

Sage plant

Sweet Woodruff

This plant is known for its ability to grow in harsh conditions, and only reaches 10-12” in height. Although small, its leaves and white flowers are a garden favorite because of their pleasant smell.

Sweet woodruff has a strong, sweet aroma which makes it effective as a fly repellent. This plant loves shade and can be planted near windows or doors where flies are likely to enter. The scent will repel them instantly, so you won’t have to worry about pesky bugs getting in your home.

Not only does sweet woodruff add a beautiful touch to any garden, but it also keeps flies away naturally. You can propagate plants from existing ones in your garden to put fresh pots on your patio – just make sure you keep the soil moist at all times.

Sweet Woodruff


The best way to use tansy is by extracting its oils and creating a spray. You can either use the spray on your body or in areas where insects are present, like along door frames or window ledges. Although Tansy is a beautiful and easy plant to grow, it can be dangerous if ingested in large amounts.

Tansy’s strong scent and bitter taste make it an effective fly repellent. It’s also a great plant for keeping other pests away, including mosquitoes, moths, ants, and fleas. If you have children or pets in the home, tansy can be used to keep these pests at bay without risking their health.

Overall, tansy is a great natural way to repel flies while still adding a beautiful touch to your garden or outdoor space. Its strong aroma will help scare away any bugs that might otherwise come too close.

Tansy plant


Wormwood is a robust and hardy shrub that can grow up to two feet in height. It has yellow-green leaves and small, white flowers with a bitter smell.

Wormwood is a plant that has been used for medicinal purposes for over 3000 years. It is best known for its use in absinthe. But its strong smell also makes it a great fly repellent. Wormwood is also a popular flavoring used in some beverages such as Chartreuse.

To use wormwood as a fly repellent, you can either grow the shrub itself or extract its essential oils and create a spray. You can hang bundles of the leaves near windows or doors, or spray the oil around your home to ensure maximum protection from flies.

Wormwood plant


No matter your budget or level of gardening experience, there are plenty of natural ways to keep flies away from your home. From growing aromatic herbs like rue and sage to extracting essential oils from plants like tansy and wormwood. Let’s summarise the plants one final time – Bay Laurel, Carnivorous plants, Catnip, Citronella Grass, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon balm, Marigold, Mint, Penny Royal, Rosemary, Rue, Sage, Sweet Woodruff, Tansy and Wormwood

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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

I hope you enjoy reading some of the content and ideas from this site, I tend to share articles and product reviews on a daily basis, so be rest assured… you won’t run out of things to read!

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