What plants repel flies and are easily grown in your garden? There is a wide variety – from basil to bay laurel – we have covered them all.

Plants That Repel Flies From Garden PlantAmerica

How to care for them, and what are their needs? What are some common perennial plants to try? These are some of the questions every gardener is looking for answers to.

List of Fly-repellent Plants

1. Basil

Basil or Ocimum basilicum is typically the herb that flies hate. One of the numerous uses for this leafy plant in the kitchen and other house parts is as an insect deterrent. Due to its potent scent and oil, the herb has been utilized for pest control since ancient times. The juicy leaves exude oils that have a potent earthy aroma that deters a variety of pests both indoors and outdoors – including flies.

Fresh Basil Leaves PlantAmerica

The simplest method to utilize the usefulness in your home is to keep a basil plant in the kitchen. Unfortunately, basil is among the most difficult herbs to grow indoors. Instead, cultivate them in a box or window box next to your kitchen to prevent any bugs that might try to enter via your windows. You may also extract the oil and use it to create a family-friendly version of your homemade mosquito repellent spray.

– Growing Season

Basil needs warmth, so it grows best in the late spring, summer, and fall. Once it is rooted, basil is simple to grow, but it dislikes the cold. Its leaves will turn black during cold nights. As a general rule, you should wait to plant it outside until the nighttime temperature is reliably over 50  degrees Fahrenheit. This can vary depending on the year, from late August to almost October.

– Specific Needs

Basil prefers moisture and requires a lot of water to grow. To make your plant leafier, keep them sunny and don’t let their soil dry. Pruning frequently will promote branching and make your basil bushier.

2. Lavender

A nice natural option for repelling insects is lavender. The herb not only has a wonderful perfume, but it also grows magnificent purple blooms that give any garden a Mediterranean flair and a wonderful scent that everyone adores. Flies and a few other undesirable insects are kept at a distance by the potent scent of this plant’s flowers and foliage. It acts as a fly, beetle, and even flea repellent. The secret is in the plant’s oil.

Lavender Blossoms in Garden PlantAmerica

– Growing Season

It is best sown as a young plant in the spring when the soil has warmed to a minimum of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and the risk of frost has passed. Select larger, more established plants when planting in the fall to ensure their survival over the winter.

– Specific Needs

Keep your plant in a sunny location to ensure that there are as many blooms as possible for harvesting. To prevent rotting, plant in a dry region with well-drained soil. They are among the few plants that thrive in poor soil, making them ideal for those more difficult garden spots you can never seem to fill.

3. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is an effective fly repellent plant. Lemon balm contains citronellal, a chemical that gives the plant its citrus fragrance and the flavor that bugs find repulsive. Due to its high concentrations in lemon balm, the flies opt to stay away. In a mixed pot, lemon balm makes a lovely companion plant because it is so simple to grow. To keep biting flies away from your patio, plant it in a border there.

Lemon Balm in Vegetable Fields PlantAmerica

Lemon balm can also be used directly on the skin. Crush some fresh leaves and rub them on your skin, especially on the ankles, arms, and other regions most sensitive to bug bites.

– Growing Season

Lemon balm thrives in cool climates as it is a perennial herb. Lemon balm should be planted in the spring around the typical last frost date. You can also plant seeds in the late summer. You can plant root divisions at any moment during the growth season.

– Specific Needs

Give the plants plenty of water before and after planting. Select a planting location with moist soil that drains freely in the sun or soft shade. An 8 inch container would be suitable for planting lemon balm in large pots filled with soil-based compost.

4. Sage

Sage is one of the hardy perennials you should take advantage of when looking for natural fly-repellent plants. Sage plants have lovely, grayish-green leaves that work well in vegetable gardens and perennial borders. It produces spikes of spring blooms in a variety of different hues, including pink, purple, blue, and white.

Purple Flowers of Sage PlantAmerica

Even after drying up, their lovely fluffy gray leaves still have an earthy scent and offer stunning foliage contrasts in the yard. One of the most efficient ways to repel flies is to dry and burn these leaves.

– Growing Season

Sage is ideally planted in the chilly months of spring or fall. This flavorful culinary herb grows beautifully in garden beds or containers.

– Specific Needs

Keep sage plants 18 to 24 inches apart in a location with plenty of sunlight and rich, well-drained soil. The ideal soil pH is in the range of 6.5 to 7.0. 

Sage will grow well in moderate or dappled shade but prefers a warm, protected site in full sun. It requires soil that is mainly rich, wet, and well-drained.

5. Common Marigold

The common marigold is a robust, cheerful, and bushy annual that herbalists and gardeners have long cultivated. It is frequently employed both medicinally and for cut flowers and bedding decorations. It is a strong favorite because of their adaptability, golden daisy-like blossoms, and tolerance of practically any soil.

Common Marigold Blooms PlantAmerica

The scent of these plants keeps flies, gnats, mosquitoes, and midges away. They are a great plant for repelling insects since they release an unpleasant odor. It is effective on rabbits as well. Pyrethrum, a component of this plant, gives off the stench. Because of its adaptability, golden daisy-like blossoms, and tolerance of nearly any soil, it is a sure winner.

– Growing Season

From early June to the first heavy frost in the late fall, the majority of cultivars bloom. They thrive on loamy, well-drained soil and need direct sunlight to flourish. Flower beds can be made by adding organic matter and tilling the soil to a depth of 6 inches.

– Specific Needs

Most cultivars bloom From early June to the first heavy frost in the late fall. They thrive on loamy, well-drained soil and need direct sunlight to flourish. Flower beds can be made by adding organic matter and tilling the soil 6 inches deep. 

6. Carnivorous plants

Any plant specifically suited for collecting and digesting insects and other animals using cunning pitfalls and traps is called a carnivorous plant, also known as an insectivorous plant. These are also some of the plants that repel flies safe for pets. 

Young Carnivorous plants PlantAmerica

Buying a Venus flytrap, also known as a Dionaea muscipula, is one of the most visible ways to drive out flies. Carnivorous plants use aroma or color to entice insects, which they trap and consume. Although that may sound a little disgusting, it works.

Carnivorous plants have traits that draw prey, capture it, kill it, and digest it while absorbing nutrients. Only a few plants possess all of these qualities. Many plants have glands that release sticky compounds. Few other plants, primarily bromeliad or pitcher plants, have tanks that resemble pitchers.

– Growing Season

Grow hardy carnivorous plants on a sunny patio, a windowsill, or a conservatory in the spring and summer. The reason for this is that they prefer warm temperatures and lots of bright light.

– Specific Needs

The majority of species favor moist soil in the winter and wet soil in the summer. They can survive in temperatures between 20 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and even tolerate brief spells of freezing and temperatures up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you reside in a region with extremely chilly winters, they might have overwintered on a garage or unheated room windowsill.

Carnivorous plants should not ideally be grown in garden soil. A mixture of around three parts peat moss to one part clean, sharp sand or live sphagnum moss, dried long-fiber sphagnum moss is the commonly preferred source for most carnivorous plants to grow.

7. Mint

It is hard to resist the deliciously fresh fragrance of a mint plant. The different varieties of it come in slightly different scents and flavors, adding life to your garden. As much as we find it difficult to resist the fresh, bright aroma, flies and other pests hate it making it a fantastic fly repellent for the garden. Numerous insects, including some tiny rodents, are kept at bay by the oils found in the stem of the flower and every part of the plant.

Potted Mint Plants3 PlantAmerica

This plant is perennial and easy to grow with invasive and rapid growth. If left unchecked, this plant, which is so simple to grow and spreads quickly, could become invasive. To monitor growth, it is preferable to maintain your mint in a pot in a container garden. If you have a light-filled windowsill, they are also perfect for growing indoors.

To help keep your indoors fly-free, add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to some water in a spray bottle. Spray it about your counters, sinks, bathtub, and any other location where flies might congregate after giving it a good shake.

– Growing Season

Mint should be planted in the spring or in regions without frost in the fall, with seedlings spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. The roots begin to form in 10 to 14 days, and they are ready for planting in 3 to 4 weeks.

– Specific Needs

Mint is a hardy perennial plant that does best in bright, well-drained soil. They would ideally want a damp but well-drained area, similar to their natural habitat along stream banks. The majority will thrive in sun or light shade, while the variegated varieties may need shade from the sun.

The ideal way to grow mint is in a container because it can compete with nearby plants when planted in the ground. While allowing some branches to bear blossoms for pollinators, harvest as and when necessary.

8. Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal, also known by its botanical name Mentha pulegium, belongs to the mint family and is a wonderful insect repellent. This perennial herb has tiny lilac blooms at the ends of its stems. Similar to other members of the mint family, the leaves are extremely aromatic and grayish-green. This beautiful plant emits a natural pyrethrum chemical that helps repel fleas, ticks, and other insects. Flies are not attracted to the spear-mint-like aroma or waxy leaves of this ornamental tree; therefore, stay away.

Bee on Pennyroyal Flowers PlantAmerica

Unlike mint, it is poisonous to the liver and cannot be consumed, leading to various issues. This makes keeping it outside in the garden to repel mosquitoes and flies preferable to bringing it inside. It should be kept in a pot because it is invasive. This plant can be scattered throughout your vegetable garden in pots to deter pesky insects, such as flies.

– Growing Season

Following any risk of frost, this plant’s seeds should be sown on the soil’s surface in the spring. Because their seeds require light to sprout, which takes about two weeks, surface seeding is crucial. Plant the seed on the soil’s surface, then spray the bed to keep it moist.

– Specific Needs

These plants thrive best in rich, moist soil that has been improved with organic matter. Despite this, the plant can also thrive in sandy or clay soil; occasionally, a less-than-ideal soil combination can slow the plant’s rapid development. Since it is a cold-climate native, it can withstand the winter in zones 6 through 9. It does not need any particular care to survive the winter in these places.

9. Rosemary

Rosemary is an evergreen, fragrant Mediterranean herb. It is used in cooking, as a perfume ingredient, and for its potential health advantages. Like many other herbs, the plant belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae, which also includes oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender. It is among the plants that repel deer flies. 

Rosemary Plants in Garden PlantAmerica

Because of its foliage resembling some kinds of lavender, rosemary is another excellent pest-repelling choice. Flies avoid regions where rosemary is grown or planted because of its strong smell. Fortunately, their aroma and flavor make them ideal for use in cooking.

A few rosemary sprigs planted around your outdoor area are an excellent method to keep large and little flies at bay. If your kitchen is the source of the problem, consider growing a whole plant on your windowsill. You should have no trouble cultivating this plant indoors as long as there is adequate direct sunlight and minimal humidity.

– Growing Season

Rosemary is an evergreen plant. Thus it can be harvested all year, but the finest flavor comes from the tender young growth in the summer. Snip offshoots as needed to keep the plant in an attractive form. The leaves can be used fresh or dried and stored for later use.

– Specific Needs

A rosemary plant’s ideal conditions to thrive include full sun, adequate drainage, and plenty of air circulation. A sandy, well-draining soil and 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day will get the plants up and going quickly. The more sun and heat there is, the more powerful the fragrance and flavor. Well-drained soil is essential, but rosemary can grow in almost any soil except soggy or saturated. It prefers slightly dry soil.

10. Catnip

Catnip is a fragrant perennial herb native to central Europe that has spread to the northeastern United States and Canada. This plant can reach a height of 1 m and has dark green, oval-toothed leaves. The plant’s therapeutic components are its dried leaves and white flowering tips.

Close View of Catnip Leaves PlantAmerica

Catnip, Nepeta cataria, is another easy-to-grow fly repelling herb with a rapid spread. It is well-known for its tendency to attract cats, but it is also effective in keeping annoying bugs at bay and out of your home. Flies are repelled by the same oils and strong aromas that cats enjoy, making them perfect plants for lining roads and framing gateways to your house.

– Growing Season

Catnip is a perennial plant that regrows every year. Plant catnip in the spring, when the danger of frost is over. Plant it where your cats may roll in it without hurting surrounding plants – plant catnip 18 to 24 inches apart in a sunny location with healthy, well-drained soil.

– Specific Needs

Catnip is a tolerant plant that grows well with little water or fertilizer. They will survive as long as they have a sunny location and enough temperature throughout the year. Catnip, like mint and pennyroyal, is a spreader best kept in a pot.

11. Bay Laurel

Bay laurel is a Mediterranean-native evergreen shrub or tree. This tree has huge, pointed oval-like bay leaves that are glossy green and leathery in texture. It grows naturally into a medium- to large-sized tree with many stems that support a dense green pyramidal crown.

Bay Laurel Forest PlantAmerica

Look no further than bay laurel to create a full hedge of plants meant to keep insects out of your garden and away from your home. This shrub, often known as sweet bay, has an upright growth habit and attractive yellow flowers.

When planted close together in full sun, your plant will form an almost impenetrable wall that any surrounding flies will avoid. They can also aid in keeping flies out of the kitchen or thrown in supermarket cupboards to keep weevils out.

– Growing Season

The optimum time to plant this plant is in early summer or late spring when the fear of frost has passed. Seeds can take up to nine months to germinate, while cuttings taken from semi-hard stems can take up to five months to root effectively.

– Specific Needs

Bay plants are quite adaptable and will thrive in either full sun or partial shade. They are drought, cold, and salt tolerant but require enough drainage. If you are growing in clay soil, use gypsum to help break it up. Bay trees may tolerate poor soil quality but grow better if compost and old manure are dug in at planting.


Natural black fly repellent plants are easy to grow and maintain. Not only do they add life to your garden or indoor space, but they also help keep flies and other annoying insects away.

Remember these points from the article above before growing these plants:

  • Indoor plants that repel flies include lavender, basil, catnip, and lemon balm. 
  • Plants that repel yellow flies include mint, pennyroyal, bay laurel, and rosemary. 
  • Plants that repel flies and mosquitoes are generally safe around pets and humans except for pennyroyal, which is poisonous. 

We hope you have gained all the required knowledge about these plants and are now ready to build your fly-free garden!

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