4 Natural Repellents For Your Home Garden

Commercial garden pesticides contain lethal and toxic chemicals that impose many health risks; as an alternative, you can use many different plants as natural insect and pest repellents in the garden. The Lamiaceae plant family probably contains the highest number of plants that are widely available for many gardens. Plants such as lavender, thyme, rosemary, sage and mint naturally repel some of the more unwanted guests in the garden.

How Plants Repel Insects and Garden Pests

Plants are made up of complex chemicals such as alkaloids, terpenes, phenols and aldehydes; essential oils are extracted from plants and used for many different therapeutic purposes, including as an insect and pest repellent. Therefore, it is only logical that the source of essential oils, the plant, contains similar properties.

However, scientists and botanists are still not certain exactly how the complex make-up of plants works in repelling insects and other critters. Research studies are continually carried out, such as the work done by researchers at the University of British Columbia on botanical insecticides (source). According to Valerie Worwood in The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, it is believed that the aroma of plants are the key to controlling unwanted insects, pests and critters in the garden. Whatever the scientific reason is behind plants and natural pest control, many gardeners believe in the concept and have success in controlling pests naturally.

Lavender and Insect Control

There are many varieties of lavender to choose from for the garden including true lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia), spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) and many lavender hybrids. Lavender is recommended for the control of:

  • black fly
  • fleas
  • mosquitoes
  • moths.

Mints and Pest Control

Again, there are various types of mint to choose from for the garden but the two most useful species of mint for pest control in the garden are peppermint (Mentha piperita) and spearmint (Mentha spicata); uses include:

  • ants (spearmint and peppermint)
  • aphids (spearmint)
  • cabbage white butterfly (peppermint)
  • fleas (peppermint)
  • lice (spearmint and peppermint).

Thyme for Garden Pest Control

Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a flowering, medicinal herb; one of the major chemical components of thyme, thymol, is registered for the control of parasitic mites of the honey bee in Europe (source). Thyme has the following uses for the control of garden pests:

  • bean beetle
  • cabbage root fly
  • cabbage white butterfly
  • carrot fly.

Rosemary and Garden Pests

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a highly fragrant, flowering plant with blue flowers; it is a pretty addition to any garden when in bloom but is also useful in controlling garden pests such as:

  • bean beetle
  • cabbage white butterfly
  • carrot fly
  • mosquitoes
  • moths.

Sage for Insect Control in the Garden

Common sage(Salvia officinalis) is a fragrant herb with blue/violet flowers and is different to clary sage (Salvia sclarea) and Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulifolia), although the three plants are closely related. Use sage to control:

  • cabbage root fly
  • cabbage white butterfly
  • mosquitoes
  • moths.

Plants and Oils in the Lamiaceae Plant Family for Garden Pests

You can also use essential oils in the garden to control pests and insects, if you don’t have space for these particular plants; the chemical make-up of an essential oil is much the same as the plant from which it is extracted from, depending on the extraction process. The Lamiaceae plant family may contain the greatest number of natural pest repellents but there are also many other plants from other plant families that you can also use to control garden pests; the one thing that these plants have in common is the fact that they are fragrant.


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