Pest Control Plants: 5 Natural Repellents

The mouse is drinking coffee

While pesticides are continually being improved to have less of an environmental impact, we entirely understand the desire to rely on the pest-repelling qualities that nature itself provides. If you explore the properties of particular plants, you’ll find that they’re an effective and relatively cheap way to keep various pests at bay. Here are five plants that do just that, and how to use them. 


This pleasantly-fragranced plant doesn’t just help you nod off to sleep, it also repels fleas, moths, and mosquitoes. To keep these from entering your home, you can tie up bouquets of lavender around your doorways and windows. You can also put lavender in your cupboards and wardrobes, keeping your clothes fresh and moth hole-free. Diluted lavender oil can even be used in the summer months as a mosquito repellent when rubbed on the skin. 


The humble onion does more than pack a punch in a curry – it can ward off a whole host of garden pests. Rabbits despise onion and with good reason – it can cause them to go into anaphylactic shock. If you’re having trouble with rabbits causing havoc in your vegetable patch, try bordering your cabbages and carrots with rows of onions. If you have any left over in your kitchen cupboard, you can blitz them with blender, mix with water, and use in a spray bottle over any other plants – the sulfuric compounds act as a repellent to various insects, including ants and flies. 


This herb has been used for millennia in both cooking and medicine – its leaves were even found in an Egyptian tomb dating back to 1,000 BC. Whilst peppermint is prized primarily on account of its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, it can also be used to keep pests out of your home. Similarly to lavender, you can tie bouquets of peppermint leaves around your house to deter flies, moths, and mosquitoes. Dabbing balls of cotton wool in peppermint oil and placing them around the house can also help to fend off mice. 


Another member of the mint family, you might recognise catnip for its effects on your feline friend. Cats find catnip irresistible – supposedly because it gives off an odour that is very similar to feline pheromones. This plant doesn’t ward off pests just by attracting cats though, it’s chemical properties also play an important role. Catnip contains the compound nepetalactone, which acts as a strong repellent to cockroaches. You can grow it indoors – just make sure the pots are near windows as the plant requires good light exposure. 


The various uses of fennel are well-documented throughout history – Pliny the Elder notes down as many as 22 applications for the aniseed-tasting plant. Alongside being used as an antidote to snake poison and an appetite suppressant, fennel can be used to deter slugs and snails. They find the plant’s bitter scent repulsive and will give any fennel-growing patch of garden a wide berth. Plant bulbs in late spring or early summer to benefit from fennel’s gastropod-deterring properties from autumn onwards.  

Nature can provide many solutions to your pest problems. Whether you’re dealing with flies, mosquitoes, slugs, or rabbits, plants offer an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional pesticides. If they’re proving particularly persistent though, it’s time to contact a qualified pest controller. Here at Inoculand, we have over a decade’s experience controlling pests in London and the surrounding counties.

If you’re having trouble with pests and need a helping hand, please give us a call on 020 3405 5000 or send us an email at