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These 7 Houseplants Will Keep Bugs Away

Keep ants, roaches and beetles from infesting your home with these powerful plants.

Joey Skladany
3 min read
herb planter in kitchen

Fragrant herbs provide aromas that can repel certain bugs.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

When the summer heat comes, so do the bugs. If your kitchen is seeing an influx of flies, beetles or ants, you might try a plant store or flower shop before calling an exterminator. Not only can houseplants help purify your air, but certain species are well known for driving out pests and insects.

Read more: This Houseplant Cleans Air 30 Times Better Than a Typical Plant

You may not have considered using houseplants to rid your kitchen of bugs, but it could be the all-natural fix you need to send insects packing, especially during the warmer months when certain bugs become more present in the home. Below you'll find a few of the most popular plants to deter bugs from your home and kitchen. 

For more, see how to keep plants alive for longer and peruse our list of the best places to buy indoor plants online.

Herbs

Herbs Growing In Balcony

Herbs can do double duty as flavor enhancers and bug repellents.

Kay Fochtmann/EyeEm

Potent herbs like basil, mint, sage and rosemary are great for topping spaghetti or making mojitos, but their scent stops insects like house and fruit flies from coming near. Consider lining a sunny kitchen window with a few of your favorite food and drink garnishes. Not only will the bugs stay away, but you'll enjoy the benefits of fresh herbs year-round and without the hefty price tags found in most supermarkets. 

Pro tip: Lemongrass contains citronella oil, which is often used in candles and sprays to repel mosquitos.

Marigold

Yellow marigold flower

Marigolds give off a potent scent that not all critters enjoy.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The yellow-and-orange-hued flower is so much more than a pretty accent to an oversized pot or home garden -- it's a gnat- and midge-fighting beast that emits a distinct and powerful odor that sends critters scurrying. Perhaps best of all, marigolds are an easy plant to cultivate within your home since they require little maintenance and grow quickly.

Lavender 

Lavender plant in a pot.

Lavender is soothing for us humans, but not so much for certain insects. 

nevarpp/Getty Images

Lavender boasts calming properties that help us drift to sleep at night, but it has the opposite effect on insects like moths and beetles. Snip a few purple stems and incorporate them into an elegant flower bouquet to ward off any unwelcome visitors. You can buy live lavander plants on FastGrowingTrees.com and other sites.

Catnip

cat playing with catnip toy
Alina Bradford/CNET

Your feline friend may experience an immediate sense of euphoria when exposed to catnip, but roaches and mosquitoes have quite the opposite reaction. According to scientists, the plant contains an active component that triggers the chemical receptor in insects that causes pain and itchiness. Like humans, when insects feel the slightest bit of discomfort, they tend to retreat and not return to the source of suffering. Amazon sells a four-pack of catnip plants for $23.

Chrysanthemums

chrysanthemum flower

Try some Chrysanthemum to slow common kitchen insects down.

Corbis

This popular flower is an insect's worst enemy. In fact, a chrysanthemum's hit list is extensive and includes roaches, ants, silverfish, lice, bed bugs and mites. Keep these away from your pets, though, as they can be quite toxic when ingested. 

Carnivorous plants 

venus flytrap in small pot

The Venus flytrap is the most famous bug eliminator in the plant kingdom. 

Joel's Carnivorous Plants

Lean into the obvious choice and opt for the endlessly entertaining carnivorous plant. Typically, these hungry wonders, like the Venus flytrap, lure in unsuspecting prey with a scent that mirrors delicious fruits and flowers. Once its hairlike lobes, otherwise known as trichomes, are activated, its leaves snap shut and reopen 10 days after the insect has been completely digested. Of course, you'll need a whole lot of carnivorous plants to tackle swarms, but they make great additions to target the occasional fly or two. 

No matter the preference, these plants, flowers and herbs make wonderful (and natural!) additions to a kitchen pest management plan. They also happen to be delicious and/or beautiful. If you're still not convinced, consider other all-natural alternatives like coffee grounds, essential oils, banana peels, white vinegar and onions. Each has also been proven to stave off an infestation if left out on kitchen counters.