14 Plants That Repel Flies - Backyard Boss
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14 Plants That Repel Flies

Are you tired of dealing with uninvited house guests buzzing around your home? Not only do they ruin a pleasant summer day, but they also spread germs and diseases. However, there is a solution without having to use toxic sprays: Certain plants naturally repel flies because of their smell, and gardens are always more welcoming when adorned with beautiful blooms.

Discover great home-grown options for repelling pests.


Rosemary bush
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Rosemary is a great way to keep insects away from your home. The pungent aroma of the herb act as an excellent repellant for flies (and mosquitoes!), but it also makes a delightful addition to a garden.

If you want to amplify rosemary’s insect-repelling properties, create your own fly repellent spray. Add 1 quart of rosemary to 1 quart of water. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then strain the mixture. Pour the mixture to 1 more quart of cold water, seal the jar, and store it in your fridge. Add it to a spray bottle and spray on skin and pets as needed.

Rosemary needs plenty of sun and is drought tolerant. Place it in a well-lit spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight each day.

Note: If you don’t provide enough air circulation, rosemary may develop mildew. In turn, mildew can attract more bugs to your yard.


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Wormwood is a traditional medicinal herb, that can also be used in natural insect repellents. Rub wormwood oil or resin on your skin or clothing to repel flies and mosquitoes. Never rub the plant itself on the skin, as it causes burns. Alternatively, put bundles of it in an area where flies and mosquitoes are likely to congregate — The plant’s powerful smell is unpleasant for flying insects.

Remember that wormwood is a natural remedy, and as such, use with caution. It may cause toxic reactions in some people, so it’s best to consult your doctor before using it for medicinal purposes. In addition, wormwood contains thujone, which is toxic and potentially dangerous if ingested.


Gardener with a basket of lavender
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Lavender is a useful fly, moth, mosquito, and flea repellant that helps make your home or garden more pleasant and inviting.

To use lavender as a fly repellent, cut off its flowers and leaves, place them in small bags or sachets, and hang them around the area you want to protect from flies. Alternatively, you can mix lavender essential oil with water and spray it around your home or garden. This natural alternative to chemical fly sprays is both safe and effective at keeping away flies, making it a superb choice for those looking for an all-natural solution. Test a small area first to ensure you have no allergies to lavender.

In addition to being a great fly repellent, lavender also has many other benefits — use its calming scent in aromatherapy to help relax the mind.


Purple Allium with Bee
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Alliums, or ornamental onions, make a stunning visual impact and have functional uses, too. One of the most noteworthy of these benefits is its ability to act as a natural fly repellant.

The hardy plant grows tall — up to 6 feet — and makes a perfect companion for vegetable gardens, where bugs easily damage the plants and eat away at the produce. In addition to carrot flies, alliums repel cabbage worms, aphids, and slugs, making it an all-round beneficial plant to have.


Lemongrass in container
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You can use lemongrass in your kitchen but adding flavor to your food isn’t the only thing this tall grass can do! One of the most noteworthy benefits of lemongrass is its ability to ward off insects like houseflies and mosquitoes. Use the natural oils as an effective bug repellent and apply it topically on the skin. It’s best to test a small area of your skin first, as some people may have an allergy.

Lemongrass is simple to grow yourself either outdoors or indoors, since it thrives well in the ground or in pots.


Basil in a container
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Basil is a popular herb that you use for cooking and flavoring, but it can act as a natural fly and mosquito repellent. Using fresh basil in your garden helps keep pesky flies and mosquitos away.

For those looking for an easy solution, first, rub basil leaves over a small area of skin to check if you have an allergy before applying over a larger area. Then roll the leaves onto the palms of your hands and over the body, providing moments of relief when outside enjoying time with family and friends.

Alternatively, make a homemade insect repellent spray with basil. To start, boil 4 ounces of water and add 4 to 6 ounces of fresh basil leaves (with stems attached). Let it steep for a few hours before removing the leaves. Take the basil leaves and squeeze out the moisture before combining the water with 4 ounces of vodka. Pour in a spray bottle and use when needed.


Mint Plants
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Mint plants release a scent into the air, creating an unpleasant environment for flying insects. This makes mint a safe and effective way to deter bugs without having to resort to pesticides or harmful chemicals.

If you want to make use of this powerful herb as an insect-repellent, try planting it on your windowsills or in pots around your patio. Mint spreads quickly and takes over other plants if not contained, so keep it in a pot or an area that’s easy to manage.


A bunch of fresh wild sage in a woman's hands. Hands holding salvia in a forest
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Sage is an aromatic herb with a long history of medicinal and culinary purposes, as well as for spiritual rituals. Also, the potent smell of sage helps keep unwanted flies away. Burning sage is the quickest way to get immediate relief from pesky flies as they dislike the smokey scent.

It also attracts beneficial pollinators, like bees, while repelling many pest insects. Thus, planting sage in your garden is not only aesthetically pleasing, but a great way to help the environment!


African Marigold
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Plant marigolds to repel whiteflies, soil nematodes, carrot flies, spider mites, and various beetles. The scent of marigold confuses most flying insects, which makes it even more effective at repelling them.

Growing marigolds alongside other crops such as tomato, carrots, and brassicas helps mask their smell while deterring pests from other plants in the area. Planting them between rows of beans also helps keep away pesky bugs that feast on bean plants and other crops.


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Citronella is a highly effective fly repellant and is growing in popularity as a natural way to deter them. The grassy plant not only produces a citrusy aroma repelling flies but it’s extremely efficient when it comes to keeping mosquitos away.

Citronella candles are also great! Create an atmosphere free of flying insects by distributing the natural oil into the air.


Yellow Tansy Flower Stems
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Tansy is a great option for an effective fly repellant. The small yellow clusters of this flower help keep pests away from your home and garden. Tansies are native to most parts of Europe and grow in pots or containers.

The active compound responsible for tansy’s insect-repelling properties is thujone, pyrethrin, and tanacetin. While tansy is an effective fly repellant, it also has toxic properties if ingested or touched. Keep this flower away from children and pets.

Unfortunately, due to its highly aggressive spreading habit and ability to out-compete native species, it has become a serious invasive weed in The U.S. If you plant tansy, grow it in pots.


Green eucalyptus branch, closeup
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The eucalyptus plant produces an oil called cineole which has a strong smell that flies and other insects avoid. Apply eucalyptus directly on your skin to repel flies or create a spray by combining the oil with water. Test a small area of skin first to make sure you’re not allergic before applying it all over.

The pleasant smell of eucalyptus makes it perfect for indoor use as well. Simply place a few drops around a room where flies may enter, such as windows and doorways.

Eucalyptus is not just useful for repelling flies. It has many other beneficial properties as well reducing symptoms of colds and flu. The smell has calming effects, which could be helpful if you’re feeling anxious or stressed out.


bunches of orange, white, and purple chrysanthemums
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Chrysanthemums are a popular and attractive flower that you find in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.

As a bonus, these flowers contain a powerful chemical called pyrethrum, which helps repel flies naturally. Planting chrysanthemums around your outdoor entertaining areas may help to keep pests away so you can enjoy your yard without having to worry about infestations.

Not only do they repel flying bugs like flies, but they also repel roaches, ticks, ants, spider mites, fleas, and bedbugs.


View of an urban garden in plastic pots with chives and garlic in the foreground. Selective focus. Eco food concept
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Garlic is a great fly repellant for both outdoor and indoor use. The strong smell of garlic helps deter carrot flies, beetles, spider mites, and white cabbage butterflies. For outdoor gardens, plant garlic amongst raspberry canes to protect them from soilborne grubs.

Goodbye Flies, Hello Freedom

Planting the right combination of natural fly-repelling plants in your garden and landscape leads to an enjoyable experience outdoors where you don’t have to worry about pesky bugs getting in the way. Plus, you don’t need to resort to harsh chemical products.

With this knowledge, you can keep your home and garden free from fly infestations. To make sure that your homes and gardens are as beautiful and bug-free as possible, share this information with your families and friends! What plants do you use for fly repelling, leave a comment below!