What plants keep ticks and fleas away

What plants keep ticks and fleas away

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The one downside to having a beautiful, verdant garden is sadly, the risk of ticks and fleas amongst the shrubs. Ticks love the humid, shady areas of your yard, living in tall grasses and bushes while they wait for an attractive host – like your cat or dog – to come by.

However, there are effective measures you can take to control the presence of ticks in your garden – often by avoiding some shrubs, and being sure to plant many others. In this guide to repelling ticks and fleas, we’ll answer some of the most common questions around keeping these pests from your garden such as, ‘does rosemary keep ticks away?’ and ‘what scents do ticks hate?’

Read on to find out!

Plants that attract ticks 

There are some bushes that attract ticks and are best avoided in your garden. These include invasive species such as Japanese Barberry and bush milk. Both of these shrubs, due to the fact they grow quite large leaving lots of cool and moist space underneath their foliage for ticks to live, are a firm favorite with these pests. Avoid planting them in your yard and replace them with these herbs and shrubs that are guaranteed to deter ticks and fleas instead.

Herbs that repel ticks

Herbs aren’t just a wonderful addition to your cooking, homemade cleaning solutions and perfumes, or a fragrant delight to add to your flower beds and window sills. Many herbs have insect repelling properties, with some being particularly good at repelling ticks. Here’s some of the best.


The robust scent of rosemary isn’t just a flavorful addition to cooking or a calming essential oil, it is also a wonderful and eco-friendly pest repellent that is proven to work and is non-toxic to cats and dogs. Plant it around your garden, particularly around any entryways, use it as an essential oil in your home, or sprinkle sprigs of it around your garden to deter ticks, fleas, mites, mosquitoes, flies, and more.


An aggressive herb known for spreading quickly, mint is just as aggressive in defending your garden from many annoying insects, including ticks. Like most naturally-repelling plants, the essential and fragrant oil contained in the leaves is a pungent deterrent to garden nasties.

Planting mint in pots to control its spread and also to enable you to place it around entryways to prevent pests entering your home, is a particularly good way to get the most out of this fragrant and effective plant.


Known as mentha pulegium, Pennyroyal comes from the mint family and, just like its parent, is effective as a natural tick repelling plant. The good thing about pennyroyal is that not only is it one of the better plants for deterring ticks and mosquitos, it also grows easily so can be easily added to any garden. The bad news, on the other hand, is that this shrub has a tendency to spread quickly. Careful attention and maintenance is advised.


The love-or-hate fragrance of sage is only s strong ‘hate’ for ticks, fleas, and other pests. This herb is another wonderful natural deterrent that is also non-toxic to pets. Sage, with its verdant green leaves, also adds a wonderful lushness to a herb plot. All in all, it’s a fantastic home repellent sure to drive away blood-sucking pests.

The plants that deter ticks

There are many plants ticks hate. Here are some of the most effective in keeping ticks – and many other pests and insects – at bay.


The aromatic, silver foliage of wormwood makes this plant – which is the main ingredient in absinthe – a very effective tick and flea deterrent. Its pungent aroma will keep away these unwanted pests and, if you’re a fan of wormwood’s flavor, you can even use the leaves to make your own tea.


One of the most common questions around plant remedies for insects is, ‘does garlic repel ticks?’ Yes! As well as vampires, garlic is an effective protector from ticks and fleas. One useful way to get the most from garlic’s repellent smell is to scatter crushed garlic cloves around your garden to stop any pesky insects from entering it.

Ticks and fleas hate both the taste and smell of garlic so be sure to lavish it around the place for an effective natural repellent.


Does lavender repel ticks? Another common question with another easy answer – yes. A beautiful, blooming bush of fragrant lavender in your garden will not only deter ticks, but also moths and mosquitos too.

Plant it around your doors and windows, add small bunches to your window sills, and crush it on your skin for an all-round effective, and sweet-smelling, repellent.

As is obvious from this list, strong-smelling plants are the most effective at keeping ticks and other harmful insects out of your garden and home. There are certain scents that these creatures hate more than others so be sure to plant shrubs with these fragrances or add these scents to any DIY sprays or essential oils you might use at home.

Fragrances – aside from those mentioned above – include citrus scents like lemon and orange, peppermint, cinnamon, and rose geranium. Not a bad list to ensure a tick-free and deliciously fragrant home and garden!

Find the perfect plants to keep insects at bay at Plants.com.

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