Summer is on the way, and this means warmer temperatures, sunshine, and a lot of outdoor activities for you, your kids, and your pets. However, this also means that ticks will be out in full force, and these parasites can cause a host of health issues. While the initial bite usually isn’t bad, the diseases they can carry and transmit to people and animals can be devastating.
They can cause problems like: inflammation, itching, restlessness, and skin irritation on a mild case. But, it can lead to anemia, heartworm, tapeworm, and bacterial infections. They can transmit viruses as well, including:
- African tick bite fever
- Bourbon virus
- Colorado tick fever
- Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever
- Heartland virus
- Lyme disease
- Q fever
- Queensland tick typhus
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Tick-borne meningoencephalitis
The cost of treating these conditions is high, and they can be deadly. Unfortunately, many people turn to chemical agents to get rid of them, but there are plants that repel ticks available as well. These plants can work just as well as the non-organic options, but what are they?
If you’re looking for plants that repel ticks, you’re in the right place. We’ve picked out several low-maintenance and pretty plants that repel ticks below. You can plant one or plant several around your home, and they go both indoors and outdoors.
How Plants That Repel Ticks Work
Plants are a nice food source for dozens of different bugs. However, plants developed chemical weapons since they can’t up and leave when the bugs come. Some plants produce toxins or essential oils in an attempt to protect themselves from bugs. For example, think of the tobacco plant. It produces nicotine, and this is a powerful toxin and will kill almost all of the bugs that come into contact with it.
The essential oils that plants produce have the benefit of being a natural insecticide that keep arachnids, mites, and insects away. The essential oils can be a repellent that disturbes the metabolism or nervous system of the insect. However, they’re typically safe for warm-blooded animals with a few exceptions.
Some plants have antimicrobial properties or antifungal properties to protect themselves. You can also find plants with anti-parasitic properties. Using these properties to your advantage can help keep the pests out of your yard and off your family and pets.
The first plant that repels ticks on our list is rosemary. This is a very fragrant herb that does wonderfully both inside and outside. It’s an evergreen herb that is effective at deterring a host of different insects and bugs. It can get rid of flies and mosquitos, but it’s also effective for ticks and fleas. It’ll repel the bugs up to several feet around every plant, and the oil from the plant can wipe off on your clothing or pet’s fur to give you an added layer of protection. Brushing up against the plant will release the scent too.
As a plant that repels ticks, rosemary has spindly leaves that easily separate from the stem. Crushing them releases the oil.
The beautyberry is a pretty plant that repels ticks that has bright purple berries and vibrant green leaves. It can grow rather large and cover a decent area, and it repels bugs and ticks several feet from the plant’s area. Additionally, it’s right up to the level of DEET for repelling these pests. If you want to deter ticks while you’re on a walk, crush the berries and rub them on your skin and clothing. It’ll help ward off mosquitos and files as well. This is a moderately fast growing bush that’s perfect for the edge of flower beds.
Beautyberry’s bright purple berries create a welcome pop of color across your yard.
3. Fleabane Daisy
This pretty plant that repels ticks is very tall, and this makes it an excellent addition to the back of your garden, against houses, and along the back side of your flower beds. It is spindly, so you’ll want to plant several of them close together. When it grows, it’ll turn into a natural repellent for ticks, fleas, flies, gnats, and mosquitos. If you want more protection for your pet or yourself, take some of the leaves and gently crush them. Rub the oil onto your skin and your pet’s fur. This will make ticks stay far away from you.
Daisies are plants that can bloom all summer long, and they come in a vibrant array of colors and sizes.
When most people think of garlic, the smell and its popularity as a cooking ingredient come to mind. With this in mind, it makes sense that garlic is a plant that repels ticks. The strong smell can permeate the air for feet around the plant, and it has a pretty flower that makes it an attractive addition to your vegetable or herb garden. If you want additional protection inside, crush up a few garlic cloves to release the oils and scent. Spread these crushed garlic cloves around the exterior of your home and garden. The smell will last for weeks at a time on the whole plant. Crushed cloves will only last a few days.
The scent of garlic can linger for days, but some pets are very sensitive to it so you should be careful when you use it.
Well loved for their bright colors and easy-to-grow natures, marigolds are a favorite of beginner and advanced gardening enthusiasts. They have a very subtle and sweet scent with bright yellow, orange, and red coloring offset by cheery green leaves. They make excellent companion plants because they don’t grow very tall or take up a lot of space. Marigolds repel ticks, fleas, roaches, and lice. You don’t have to crush them to get this effect. Intead, simply having the plants around is enough to do the trick. They do very well both indoors and outside, and they enjoy full sun.
Marigolds are nice edging flowers because they stay relatively low to the ground and come in a host of vibrant colors.
Another herb, rue is a plant that repels ticks very effectively. As a bonus, it has very pretty blue, metallic leaves with a delicate look. It stays very close to the ground, and it comes with several medicinal properties like being an antifungal, antimicrobial, and an insect repellent. The smell of this herb will make ticks, fleas, and other bugs flee from your area. However, it’s also an unpleasant smell for cats. So, you can companion plant rue with catnip and the cats will leave the catnip alone. You can grow rue as an outdoor or indoor herb with very few difficulties.
The fuzzy flowers on rue make this a nice compliment for many different types of gardens, both indoors and outside.
7. Rose Geranium
This plant that repels ticks is another choice that can be as effective as DEET. It has a lot of potent oils that make it a powerful pest repellent, and it can have negative consequences for the tick’s sensory system and organs. The oils are strong, but they’re safe enough to apply directly to your skin. You can dilute it in water to create a spray to cover your skin and clothing. You can add 30 drops of rose geranium oil, two tablespoons of witch hazel, and water in a two-ounce bottle. Spray before you go out. You can crush the petals of the plant to release the oils too.
The rose geranium has slightly different flower shapes and hues, but it’s just as hardy as other geranium species.
This is a beautiful plant that repels ticks, and you usually see it planted on balconies or in containers because it’s such an easy to grow flower. It contains a chemical called pyrethrum. This chemical is an organic compound that occurs naturally in these plants, and it’ll work to shut down tick and flea nervous systems. You can plant chrysanthemums along the borders of your walkways or gardens to ward off pests. As a bonus, they get a bright yellow color on the flowers that is beautifully offset by deeper green leaves. They grow very well in pots indoors in sunny locations.
The oils on these plants that repel ticks are very potent, and they’ll kill the pests with continued exposure.
Pennyroyal is a smaller plant that repels insects that has direct ties to the mint family. You’ll get a small light purple puff of a flower set atop light green leaves. These plants spread really well on their own, so you do want to keep an eye on them when you plant them to make sure they’re not growing out of control. All you have to do is plant it in a few spots in your garden or flower beds and it’ll repel your ticks. It also works very well on mosquitos, and it’s very forgiving. This makes it popular for novice gardeners because it’ll survive a lot of neglect and thrive.
Pennyroyal is easy to transfer from outdoor growth to indoor growth if the weather gets too cold in your area.
This plant that repels ticks has a very long medicinal history has a bitter herb that could help treat a variety of ailments. Originally, the plant was the main ingredient in a multi-purpose tea, but it’s slowly made the switch to being an effective tick and other insect repellent. It’s effective against fleas, ticks, flies, and mosquitos. It has bright yellow flowers, and this is a shrub that can easily grow to be up to three feet high. It makes an excellent border plant, or you can grow it in containers and set them by your patio or where you entertain in your yard to keep it pest-free.
Wormwood is a very thick and full plant that makes an excellent border between other plants, or you can use it to frame in flower gardens.
If you want to attract cats while getting rid of bugs, plant catnip. This is a plant that repels ticks very well, and it has a very intense smell associated with it. This plant is very easy to cultivate, and it’s a very low-growing plant that you can put in the front of your flower beds or in containers. It has very pretty flowers that look like lavender, and it produces a compound called nepetalactone. This compound can disrupt the sensory system of many insects, and it’s also what draws cats to it. It can start to take over if you don’t pay attention to it, so routine pruning is recommended.
Catnip is a very potent plant that releases a scent each time you brush against it or crush the leaves.
Lavender is well-known for its sedative effects, and it’s a popular essential oil for relaxation and sleep. However, lavender is also a plant that repels ticks and other bugs. It has a very strong and sweet scent that can smell overpowering in small spaces, but it’s great outdoors. Lavender grows green leaves with spikes of deep and light purple flowers that are instantly recognizable. You can crush the lavender plants to release the oils and make the scent more potent. It’s also possible to make a spray using lavender essential oil and water. This way, you can spray more area and repel more bugs.
Lavender is an immensely popular plant for its calming properties, and you can find it grown in huge fields throughout the United States.
13. Lemon Balm
As a general rule, most insects don’t like citrus-based scents. As a part of the mint family, this plant that repels ticks has slightly larger green leaves and can grow up to four feet tall. It’ll also branch out and look very full. You shouldn’t have to do anything to this plant to repel the bugs. Instead, it’ll naturally emit a lemon scent as it matures. You can crush the leaves to release the oils and rub them on your clothing or your pet’s fur for another layer of protection. However, your cat won’t like this plant either. They don’t like citrus smells, and it’ll work wonderfully to keep them away from your garden.
Lemon balm releases a sweet but long-lasting citrus scent, and the oils are very potent.
14. Holy Basil
This plant that repels insects is native to India, and it has a medicinal history that dates back centuries. It was used to cure for gastrointestinal issues, sore throat, bacterial infections, and as an insect repellent. It has a very sweet and strong scent, and you’ll get deep green leaves and stems with fuzzy flower spikes. It’ll release the scent each time you brush across it, and the leaves are very sensitive. Crushing them will release the oils as well. The scent of this plant can relax your nervous system, but it can shut down the pest’s nervous systems if they come into contact with it.
This plant that repels ticks is just as popular today across the world as it was centuries ago for repelling insects and treating health problems.
Roses are surprising plants that repel ticks, but it only works when the roses bloom. When it’s just the plant with no flowers, they won’t be as effective. However, roses are very hardy once they take root, and their thorny stems make them a difficult target for any predator that would eat or attack them. But, the thorns do make them slightly harder to trim and take care of unless you wear very thick gloves. Roses have a very sweet scent that lingers long into the evening hours when it flowers, and roses are effective at repelling mosquitos as well.
Roses are very popular ornamental plants that make beautiful arrangements, and they look pretty when you dry them.
Sage is a popular plant that repels ticks, and it has a long history that dates back hundreds of years for use in religious ceremonies. The grey-hued leaves beautifully offset the purple and blue-tinted flowers to create an eye-catching display. Although it’s native to Southern Europe, you can find it all over the United States as a popular cooking ingredient. All you have to do is walk by it to release the smell, and it’ll keep a lot of different pests out. It’s a popular natural cleaning agent, but it does have a very strong scent that can be overwhelming for some people and pets.
It’s easy to mistake sage for lavender because they both have large purple flower spikes.
Mint is an extremely popular herb that has a very sharp scent. For hundreds of years, people have used mint as a plant that repels insects and helps cure a variety of medical problems like nausea and restlessness. There are up to 24 different species of mint available, and all of them can help rid your yard of mosquitos, ticks, and fleas. This is a very low-growing herb that does well in companion planting, and it can thrive both indoors and out without any problems. They do need full sun, but all you have to do to repel the pests is rub against the leaves to release the oil. Boiling them in water will release the scent too.
Crushing and boiling mint leaves releases the oils and scent that creates a calming tea that you can use to help you relax and sleep.
Pansies are a bright and cheerful plant that repels ticks that is very popular in gardens. Most pansies have bright coloring ranging from yellow and purple to blue and red with black. They don’t have much of a scent, but the lighter smell is enough to make the ticks and mosquitos stay away. They grow well in flower beds, baskets, hanging baskets, and containers. You do have to trim pansies and deadhead them regularly to keep them healthy or they’ll grow spindly and die early. However, they’re very hardy and able to withstand different weather conditions.
Pansies are very cheerful, and this makes them popular with both veteran and beginner gardeners alike.
Hostas are a favorite large partial shade plant that repels ticks. They have broad green leaves tipped with white, and they grow tall, spiky flowers in the later summer months. These plants don’t have a smell associated with them, but ticks avoid them. You can plant them along the edges of your yard or porch. As a bonus, they can also repel deer. Since deer are one of the main ways ticks end up in your yard, this can help reduce the population naturally.
Hostas can have light green leaves with white tips, or you can get light green leaves with dark green tips. They have purple or white flowers.
Eucalyptus oil is very strong, and the scent is what makes this a great plant that repels ticks. You can grow eucalyptus into trees or bushes, and the plant will naturally produce oils that coat the leaves. There are several species of eucalyptus available, and each has slightly different growing requirements. Some need more upkeep than others, but they’re all very potent. You can crush or boil the leaves to release more oils and create a spray. However, dogs and cats don’t usually like the scent of this plant because it’s so potent. It can also cause skin irritation.
Eucalyptus plants and trees have a very strong and sharp scent associated with them.
Geraminus are very spindly and leggy plants, but they can grow very large with big flower balls in a variety of colors. The leaves are light green and have a nice texture. This is a great plant that repels ticks, but it also works to keep mosquitos at bay. It grows very fast in dry and sunny areas. They look good around vegetable gardens and in flower beds. You can find them growing wild, but they’re a relatively inexpensive plant to buy at nurseries. They grow well in containers or hanging baskets, and they can withstand drought and neglect without dying.
The bright coloring on the geranium makes them a wonderful choice for people who want color all summer long.
Chamomile makes a very calming and relaxing tea, but it’s also a great plant that repels ticks. It has a strong and slightly earthy fragrance with an eye-catching look that makes it popular all over the United States. The flowers are yellow with white petals, and the deep green leaves bracket them wonderfully. There are dozens of health benefits associated with chamomile like being anti-inflammatory, promoting relaxation, and soothing digestive upset.
Chamomile flowers look like small daisies, but they have a whole different set of properties and scent.
Thyme is a perennial evergreen, and this is a plant that repels ticks. It’s related to the oregano plant and a member of the mint family. It has a history that dates back to ancient Greece and Egypt, and it’s a popular cooking ingredient in Italian and Mediterranean dishes. The smell white petals on the flowers releases a sweet scent that ticks can’t stand. It’s a nice border for your fence, sidewalk, patio, or along the edges of your flower gardens.
Thyme works to repel insects, but it’s also light enough to be a popular cooking herb in a variety of dishes.
Sunflowers can grow to over 10 feet tall, so they need a lot of room. However, this is a bright and cheery plant that repels ticks due to the vitamin B1 found in the seeds. For the best results, you’ll crush up the seeds to release the oils. These flowers have huge green leaves, thick stems, bright yellow petals, and a dark brown or black face. The seeds dry out in the fall months, and the flower’s face can measure almost a foot across. They grow best in large bunches in a wide open area with a lot of sun.
Sunflowers are very happy and bright flowers that will spread very quickly if you leave them to their own devices.
25. Venus Fly Traps
The final plant on our list of plants that repel ticks is the venus fly trap. These are unique little plants that will dissolve and eat flies, fleas, and ticks as soon as they wander across the plant’s face. These plants do need a lot of moisture and a good amount of direct sunlight to do well. They have a sticky substance on the plant’s face that lures the pests in. Once they get in, the plant will automatically close and trap the pest. It can dissolve the insect in a week to ten days.
Venus fly traps look like they have huge teeth, but the teeth-like parts are very flexible.
These 25 plants that repel ticks can add pops of color and focal points to your garden and home. They’re easy to grow and maintain, and they can help keep your area pest-free all spring and summer long.