7 Must-Have Indoor Plants that Repel Bugs in Your Home

Blog written by Katchy.

There’s nothing worse than having uninvited guests show up out of the blue. I’m not talking about just any uninvited guests — I’m talking about the ones that invade your home causing infestations and hundreds (even thousands) of dollars to be exterminated: bugs.

If you’ve ever had bug infestations in your home, you probably know how tiresome it can be to get rid of them, especially if they’re persistent on staying. And although you may have already tried the basic bug-eliminating methods, such as laying out traps (like our Katchy Duo 2-in-1 Automatic Indoor Insect Trap) and using insect sprays, you should know that there are other natural ways to repel bugs from your home. The answer is simple: plants. That’s right, Mother Nature is on your side!

While there are many different types of plants that repel bugs and act as a natural bug repellent, we’ll talk about seven of the most common ones that will keep you happy and your home bug-free.

Common House Pests

Before we cover the various plants that keep bugs away, let’s briefly talk about some of the most common pesky pests that homeowners come across.

  1. Mosquitoes: Mosquito season usually starts in the spring, peaks in the summer, and ends in the fall. However, they don’t completely disappear until the first freeze, followed by consistent temperatures that are under 50 degrees. One of the most common ways these pesky bugs enter uninvited into houses is through opened windows and doors.
  2. Flies: Like mosquitoes, flies prefer warm temperatures. However, their season typically spans from late spring to early fall. These annoying insects can enter your home through open windows and doors and food products (e.g. fruit flies and gnats).
  3. Bed Bugs: Bed bugs thrive in the winter and can come from used furniture or other infested areas of your house. They can also travel between rooms via luggage, backpacks, purses, and even people. If you’re looking for a way to deal with these pesky bugs and other insects in the colder seasons, check out our other blog post on The Best Trap for Indoor Bug Control.
  4. Cockroaches: Cockroaches can hitch a ride on luggage like bed bugs, but they’ll also crawl through openings in doors, windows, pipes, and holes in walls. Although they’re more common during the spring and summer seasons, you can still find them indoors if temperatures are above 50 degrees.

Benefits of Having Plants in Your Home

While using bug traps (like our Katchy Duo 2-in-1 Automatic Indoor Insect Trap) and sprays are indeed useful and effective, you may also want to try other remedies that act as a natural bug repellent (like plants). In fact, houseplants come with a range of benefits that you can enjoy — just another reason for you to spruce up your home decor and add a touch of green!

  1. Reduced Levels of Stress and Anxiety: There’s something calming and comforting about indoor gardening. Whether it’s simply watering or repotting a houseplant, working with nature soothes the soul. Studies have also found that owning and taking care of houseplants helps to reduce blood pressure, stress, and anxiety. In addition, at-home gardening can be therapeutic for those who experience mental illnesses like depression and dementia.
  2. Better Focus and Attention: Have you ever heard of Attention Restoration Theory (ART)? If not, it basically suggests that exposure to nature (or even images of nature) helps to improve focus and concentration. In other words, nature has the ability to restore our attention after using up mental energy.
  3. Better Indoor Air Quality: Plants are natural air filters; they help clean the air by absorbing harmful pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene which are commonly found in man-made materials. They’re also great for clearing some of the annoying dust particles you see floating around from time to time.
  4. Increased Air Moisture: Houseplants also make great air humidifiers. Through a process called evapotranspiration, plants and their soil release water vapor into the air which increases humidity. So if you have dry skin, respiratory issues, headaches, or allergies, consider investing in some houseplants!

What Plants Repel Bugs in Your Home?

Now that you know about the benefits of having plants in your home, it’s time to talk about the different types of plants that repel bugs and ease infestations! Here are seven common ones that you might considering owning:

basil is a plant that repels bugs

1. Basil

An herb commonly found in foods like salad, pasta, and soup, basil smells terrible to bugs and can be used to repel flies and mosquitoes. This fragrant plant is also easy to grow and has been used as a natural bug repellent since ancient times!

sage is a plant that repels bugs

2. Sage

Like basil, sage is another ingredient found in many home-cooked dishes. However, it also doubles as the perfect remedy for warding off insects like mosquitoes and flies. To use sage as a natural bug repellent, simply burn some dried sage leaves; the smoke created from this process will help rid your home of bugs. You can also try placing bundles of dried sage leaves in your clothes drawers to deter moths and silverfish.

Chrysanthemum is a plant that repels bugs

3. Chrysanthemum

These pretty flowers are great for repelling ants, cockroaches, fleas, bed bugs, silverfish, ticks, and lice. On top of that, they also act as an indoor air purifier and remove toxins from the air.

lavender is a plant that repels bugs

4. Lavender

Among the list of plants that repel bugs, lavender has one of the most popular scents. Whether it’s candles, soaps, or essential oils, you’ve probably encountered plenty of lavender-scented products already. The reason why this plant’s scent is so favored among people is because it helps us relax and relieves stress. And, it’s great for getting rid of flies, black beetles, fleas, moths, and mosquitoes. Just keep in mind that it’s best to grow this plant outside your door or on the balcony if you have a pollen allergy!

catnip is a plant that repels bugs

5. Catnip

Another one of the best plants that repel bugs is catnip. Not only will this plant keep your feline friend content, but it will also help to deter bugs, such as mosquitoes and cockroaches. In fact, the essential oil in catnip (known as nepetalactone) which gives the plant its familiar scent, is more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET (the chemical compound commonly found in many insect repellents).

citronella is a plant that repels bugs

6. Citronella Plant

Citronella plants are also known as the mosquito plant because they’re great at repelling those pesky insects with their strong citrus scent. However, the plant itself doesn’t keep bugs away — it’s the oil inside the leaves that give the plant its repelling properties (which is also commonly found in bug repellent and insecticide products). In order to effectively use a citronella plant, you need to crush the leaves to extract the oil and fragrance. 

venus fly trap is a plant that repels bugs

7. Venus Fly Trap

This natural bug repellent is great for getting rid of flies and other insects that invade your home — and it’s one of the coolest ones. The venus fly trap is a carnivorous plant that has tiny hairs inside its “mouth” to help trap bugs that land in it. So once a bug lands on the open leaves, the plant clamps shut, ensnaring and slowly digesting the insect.

What’s the Katch?

While there are many different types of plants that repel bugs and come with a range of benefits, there are some health considerations to keep in mind. For example, you should always ensure that your houseplants are pet-friendly and safe for children (as some parts of the plants may be toxic or poisonous). 

It’s also important that you take good care of your plants. Pay attention to soil moisture in your plant pots as excess moisture (which can happen from overwatering your plants) can cause mold or fungi and trigger allergies and asthma. Additionally, you should regularly check plant leaves for pest signs (such as eggs, webbing, and holes) so you can prevent further infestations.

At the end of the day, no matter what method(s) you use to eliminate house insects — sprays, indoor traps, plants — the important thing to remember is to try what works best for you and your home!


Contributing Writer: Rebecca Lee