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Useful plants that repel insects


Global warming has really influenced the distribution patterns of many insects, with the fall army worm, in particular, really plaguing our grain farmers, to name just one of the many insects affecting South Africans.

The good news is that there are some common plants which act as really effective repellents.

Petunias are an excellent natural pesticide repelling aphids, asparagus beetles, squash bugs and tomato hornworms. The flowers are particular popular as they come in a variety of colours, require very little maintenance and can be grown in containers, hanging baskets and flower beds.

Nasturtiums are an all-time favourite in our garden, we eat the leaves and flowers when we are coming down with the flu as it sends those flu viruses running. Not only flu gets deterred by this wonderful plant; white flies, aphids, many beetles and cabbage loopers are repelled by this plant. Nasturtiums are excellent for companion planting around herbs, veggies and roses.

Marigolds are brilliant, I can remember my gran having hundreds of them in her garden. They really do have a pungent smell; this deterred me from buying them for many years. Only recently have I started using them again, they come in a variety of colours too. Marigold roots are used to repel nematodes, the rest of the plant repels aphids and even mosquitos. Marigolds have been known to spur on roses; this definitely makes it another great companion plant.

Chrysanthemums have an ingredient called pyrethrum which makes them an effective insect repellent. They repel ants, roaches, ticks, lice, feas, bedbugs and spider mites. Be careful when making a spray using Chrysanthemum flowers, pyrethrum can be a carcinogenic to humans.

Geraniums including indigenous and exotic varieties, are brilliant at repelling aphids and make excellent companion plants around roses.

Moving to the herbs:Herbs


  • Bay leaves repel flies
  • Chives repel aphids, carrot flies and certain beetles.
  • Dill repels aphids, squash bugs, spider mites and tomato hornworms.
  • Fennels repels slugs and snails
  • Parsley repels aphids, slugs, snails and beetles
  • Rosemary repels mosquitos
  • Mint repels mosquitos and rats.
  • Lemon thyme repels mosquitos
  • Lavender repels moths, fleas, flies and mosquitos
  • Basil is excellent for repelling flies and mosquitos
  • Coriander repels the potato beetle as well as aphids.
  • Onions repel ants and aphids.

Planting many of these plants and herbs within your garden will repel the insects but your garden will not be insect-free. Try encouraging non-pests to your garden, such as lady bugs, which help control aphids too. A healthy garden will have bees, butterflies insect eating birds, mammals and reptiles. Planting indigenous plant species will encourage these beneficial insects and animals into your garden. A garden that is unhealthy will have more pests and diseases.

If you are unsure and would like some assistance with your garden, call a professional landscaper to give you advice or send us an email with a photo we will do our best to assist you.

Got a gardening question? Email mariette@hometimes.co.za and we’ll be sure to assist

Who is Nicholas Spargo?

Nicholas Spargo, owner of Spargo Landscape Consultants.

Nicholas Spargo, owner of Spargo Landscape Consultants.

Nicholas Spargo, owner of Spargo Landscape Consultants, has been in the landscape trade for 12 years as well as being a lecturer at the Lifestyle Garden Design Centre for the past year. He was awarded a Gold for a design at the Lifestyle Garden Design Centre Design Show in 2008, is an Invasive Species Consultant and is affiliated with the South African Green Industries Council.

Landscaping and education are very close to his heart.


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