Pest Control

How To Repel 28 Garden Pests With Herbs And Essential Oils


This is a compiled list of bugs we may not want around, along with essential oils that will repel them, and herbs that you can companion plant into your garden to repel these insects. I personally tend to keep onions, garlic, calendula and basil in my garden beds to repel the most common buggies, with mints, yarrow and lavender close at hand.





Repelling Essential Oils

Repelling Herbs


Cinnamon, Citronella, Citrus (any), Clove, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Spearmint, Tansy

Bay, Calendula, Mint (any), Hyssop, Lavender, Marigold, Rue, Sage, Tansy, Woormwood, Yarrow


Cedarwood, Lemon, Peppermint, Spearmint

Garlic, Onions, Chives, Coriander, Hyssop

Asparagus Beetle


Marigold, Petunia, Parsley, Garlic

Bean Beetle

Peppermint, Thyme

Marigold, Nasturtium, Rosemary

Cabbage Root Fly

Hyssop, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

Cabbage Worms

Eucalyptus, Thyme

Coffee grounds, Borage, Clover, Geranium, Thyme

Carrot Fly

Rosemary, Sage

Rosemary, Sage, Leeks, Garlic


Peppermint, Spearmint

Garlic, Onions, Chives, Leeks


Sage, Thyme

Coffee Grounds, Egg Shells,

Flea Beetle

Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Spearmint

Catmint, Mint(s)


Citronella, Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint

Lavender, Mint, Pennyroyal (toxic to cats)


Citronella, Lavender, Peppermint

Basil, Rue, Rhubarb


Citronella, Patchoulli, Spearmint

Geranium, Lemon Thyme, Lavender, Mexican Marigold (Tagetes minuta)

Grass Hoppers


Horehound, Calendula, Cilantro, Garlic Oil, Clover


Cedarwood,Lavender,  Melaleuca, Peppermint, Rosemary, Spearmint,Thyme

Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme

Leaf Miners

Melaleuca, Cinnamon Leaf



Citronella, lavender, lemongrass, Terrashield

Basil, Rosemary


Sage, Citronella

Marigold, Chrysanthemum, Dahlia

Potato Bugs

Catnip, Coriander

Horehound, Horseraddish, Calendula, Cilantro, Garlic Oil, Clover, Marigold


Anise, Cedarwood, Pine, Rue

Woormwood, Rue, Fennel, Anise, Rosemary, Chevril


Cedarwood, Garlic, Patchouli, Pine, Rue

Coffee Grounds, Egg Shells, Crushed Nut Shells

Squash Bugs

Basil, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Orange, Lemongrass

Cloves, Onions, Garlic, Nasturtium, Raddish, Cilantro, Lemongrass, Sage


Citronella, Lemongrass, Thyme, Sage


Tomato Hornworm


Borage, Garlic Oil, Pot Marigold, Petunia


Cedarwood, Patchouli


White Fly

Lavender, Sage, Tansy


White Moth

Sage, Rosemary, Mint, Oregano, Thyme

Hyssop, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Tansy, Thyme

Wooly Aphids

Patchouli, Pine, Sandalwood


How to use the essential oils

Using essential oils in the garden takes some discretion. Don’t just dump undiluted essential oils in your soil and expect good things to happen. Sure it will repel those moths, but it will also damage your soil composition where the undiluted oil is. Instead, get some scrap cloth and tie it to a lattice, or a strong stocked plant in your garden like broccoli, fava beans, corn, or sunflowers. On the piece of cloth dab a drop or two of your oil blend of choice. Re-apply every 3 days or after a rain storm.

You can also put 10-15 drops of your essential oil blend into a spray bottle with 2 cups of water. Shake the bottle very well right before use (the oil floats to the top) and spray your plants on the top and bottom of the leaves to repel those pesky insects.


You can place cotton balls with a few drops of your EO solution on it throughout your garden.


How to use herbs to repel insects

This is my first line of defense for pest prevention. Instead of planting rows of food I disburse plants that need different resources and different parts of the ground so the bugs can’t just swarm my garden. For example, in one plot I will plant corn at the back, while the corn is growing I will then plant beans. The beans can climb up the corn and protect the stocks. I also plant squash at the base of the corn and peas. This will create ground cover and keep the roots cool. Between these rows of “three sisters” I plant garlic, onions, and radish, which repel the common bugs that eat squash, beans, and corn. This creates a bio-diverse garden that uses both vertical garden methods, traditional knowledge (the three sisters is how native Americans grew their corn fields), and uses different soil depths. The radish digs deep into the soil loosening it and allowing water to reach deep into the ground, the onions and garlic have a medium depth root that will expand and utilize ground that the squash, beans, and corn will not.


By creating a more bio-diverse garden we will attract beneficial insects and animals that will help keep our pests at bay. I got this inspiration from the book Gaia’s Garden, Second Edition: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture (affiliate link) , which is a wonderful permaculture resource, but has some fantastic ideas on annual food gardens as well.


You can create any combination of companion plants that will complement each other following some general guidelines. Mother Earth News wrote a great piece on companion planting here.


What are your favorite tricks to get rid of unwanted pests in your garden?


Source: Natural Living Mama

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