Pest Repellant Plants
Plants that repel insects or confuse them with their strong scent can be planted near other plants to
help keep insects at bay. Here are some suggestions, taken from the book Pest-Repellent Plants, by
Penny Woodward (published by Hyland House). You can find loads more wonderful information at
Penny’s website at www.pennywoodward.com.au. Click here to buy a copy of the book. An all new
updated and expanded edition is being released at the end of March 2012.
Marjoram and oregano
These two will deter pumpkin beetles when planted near cucurbits. They also confuse white cabbage
butterflies when planted near brassicas. A hedge growing around an onion patch will protect the
onions from onion maggot.
Planted randomly through a garden, marigold smell tends to confuse flying insects! Grow them
amongst crops such as tomato to repel whitefly and soil nematodes, with carrots to deter carrot fly
and with brassicas to mask their smell. Between rows of beans, marigolds will deter spider mites
and a range of beetles.
Strongly scented lavenders will protect nearby plants from insects such as whitefly, and lavender
planted under and near fruit trees can deter codling moth. A hedge around onions will protect them
from onion maggot, and lavenders planted near native plants can repel the moths that produce borer
Remember though, that there is a weed species of lavender and this must be avoided. Lavandula
stoechas (Topped Lavender or French Lavender) and its 40 odd cultivars is still allowed into
Australia but it is subject to legislation in Victoria as a regionally prohibited and regionally
controlled weed, proclaimed in the Victorian Government Gazette of 18 December 1997
(www.dpi.vic.gov.au). It is also a problem in many other areas, especially South Australia.
Garlic has the ability to repel airborne and soilborne pests. It deters beetles, spider mites and fruit
flies. The smell of garlic and other alliums confuses carrot fly and white cabbage butterfly. When
planted amongst raspberry canes garlic will protect them from a variety of grubs.
The general insect repellent properties of basil make it an excellent plant to grow throughout the
vegetable garden. Basil especially protects cabbages, beans, and tomatoes. It even protects
cucurbits from downy mildew. Grow basil in pots near doorways to deter flies.
Sage attracts bees but repels many pest insects and protects onions from onion maggot. Sage also