Summer is over, but that does not mean that you and your pets are free from fleas and other insects. If you are living in one of the countries with an all-year round flea or insect problem, then read on – I have some important information for you. In this guide, we will discuss some of the most effective flea repelling plants. The good news regarding this is that many of the plants not only repel fleas, they are also effective on mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches and other household and garden pests.
Before we delve into my list of the top 20 flea repelling plants, let us discuss the history of botanical pesticides.
History of botanical flea and bug repellents
Way before synthetic bug repellents were formulated for controlling indoor and outdoor pests, the earliest pesticides used in farms were developed at home by farmers and home plant growers. As early as the mid-1900s, botanical insecticides like these effectively helped control bugs and insects. Today, these same plants are also grown commercially to produce botanical insecticides.
Which flea repelling plants can you grow at home?
A small herb or plant garden growing outside your kitchen can give you so much delight; additionally, it can also help you treat a variety of health ailments, season your food, and deter and repel bugs and pests from your pets and plants. This way, you can stay away from harmful flea treatment products that may negatively effect you, your pets or the environment.
Insect and flea repelling plants mainly contain compounds and chemicals that fall under different categories like Repellents, Deterrents, Toxins and Growth regulators. These can be further grouped into Nitrogen compounds/Alkaloids, Terpenoids, Phenolics and Proteinase inhibitors.
Here are the top 20 insect and flea repelling plants
- Thyme– Number one on my list of flea repelling plants is thyme. Grow thyme in an area that is shaded and well away from the strong midday sun. Thyme leaves can help repel fleas and many other pests that are bothering you indoors as well as outdoors.
- Neem– The neem tree has been used for centuries in India to treat microbial infections as well as for repelling fleas, bugs and mosquitoes. The scientific name for Neem is Azardirachta Indica. The leaves of neem are usually boiled and made into an extract that can be used for bathing the pets as an after-shampoo-rinse. This helps deter fleas and also takes care of fungal or bacterial skin infections. The Azadirachtin compound in Neem leaves repel larvae, eggs and adult fleas. Dried Neem leaves can also be burnt to create a smoke for repelling bugs in the garden.
- Sage/Salvia– Many sub-species of Salvia plant are used for botanical insecticidal control. These include Red Sage, S. Hydrangea, S. Santolinifolia and S. Mirzayanii, all of which are known for their anti-microbial and pesticidal activity. The active ingredient in Salvia Splendens or Red Sage is toxic to fleas, rats and other pests at high doses. Salvia officinalis has shown flea and mosquito larval toxicity as well.
- Pyrethrum– Pyrethrum plant extracts are used in shampoos, sprays and lotions for flea repellence. Use only as per the guidance of a vet.
- Lemon Eucalyptus– The lemon eucalyptus or Corymbia citriodora (Myrtaceae) gives essential oil known as Citronellal. Traditional Chinese medicine has always used this essential oil for medicinal purpose, as well as for repelling mosquitoes and other bugs. Its plant extracts and oils are used in lotions, sprays and shampoos for repelling fleas in pets.
- Clove– Also known as Eugenia caryophyllus, Syzygium aromaticum or Eugenia aromatiu, clove essential oil is used in cosmetics, in toothpaste manufacturing and also for flea and mosquito repellence in form of sprays and shampoos.
- Basil– 100% essential oil of basil leaves can be applied topically to deter mosquitoes, fleas and other bugs. The leaves also thermally expel compounds in the air that can keep your home and garden free of insects. Basil is very easy to plant in a pot which can be placed indoors for instance in your kitchen window.
- Lavender– This very pretty plant is tall and spiky with purple flowers. The scent of lavender flowers make a great addition to any home garden and also deters beetles, aphids and spider mites.
- Bushmint/wildhops– A field study conducted on the leaves of bushmint plant consisted of smoldering the leaves on charcoal. This provided protection against mosquitoes and fleas for at least 2 hours. Fresh leaves of the herb placed in a room can also repel fleas and other bugs.
- Garlic– Garlic is a natural antimicrobial and is used for planting beneath many kinds of flowering plants to protect them from being devoured by garden insects.
- Patchouli– Used mainly in Chinese medicine, 100% essential oil obtained from the Pachouli plant can give protection against all kinds of bugs, especially through topical application.
- Rose Germanium– A laboratory study has proven the efficacy of topically applied extracts of alcohol obtained from the Rose germanium plant. This gives protection against fleas and other bugs for over 3 hours. Roses should always be planted with garlic growing underneath.
- MugWort/St. John’s Wort or Wormwood– A. vulgaris or Mugwort plant gives out camphor-like extracts that can repel fleas and other household insects for more than 5 hours.
- Mint and Peppermint– Essentials oils give 100% protection against flea and mosquito bites. These can be planted indoors and outdoors for deterring insects and bugs.
- Turmeric– Leaves and extracts obtained from different parts of turmeric plant can be combined with 5% vanillin for topical application against fleas and mosquitoes.
- Marigolds– Marigold extracts, also called Calendula, deter cutworms and fruit flies.
- Rosemary– A natural aphid and flea repellent, rosemary essential oil has found its way in many cosmetic and medicinal products for repelling fleas, ticks etc from pets.
- Green beans– If you have a vegetable garden, make sure you plant green beans to repel cutworms.
- Oak– Oak leaves are often mulched by landscapers to be placed near herbs and vegetable gardens to repel worms, bugs and other plant-eating insects.
- Catnip– As far as flea repelling plants are concerned, Catnips have been proven even more effective than DEET. Crush and rub some catnip on your cat’s skin (or allow the animal to roll in some catnip bushes) to deter fleas naturally. Catnip can be also used for repelling cockroaches.
This concludes my list of the top 20 flea repelling plants. Many of these small plants can be placed around the rooms of your home for natural room freshening purposes apart from deterring fleas and other household bugs. If you want some of the flea repelling plants I mentioned above in your own home, you can get the plants, seeds and bulbs on Amazon.
Got fleas? Find out which products work in 2019, with my updated flea control product comparison chart.