Best Container Plants to Repel Bugs!

potted flower garden

Warmer weather means it’s time for fun outdoors and, unfortunately, pesky critters. Luckily, you can use container plants to repel bugs. This is a natural way to keep you and your family safe without harsh chemicals. By keeping them in containers, you have the flexibility to move them around as needed. They can also do more than keep those pesky critters at bay, too. Here are some types of floras to consider adding to your home.

Those denoted with an asterisk are known to be harmful to pets, so be sure to keep them out of Fido’s reach. However, many of the herbs will benefit both you and your pooch.


These container plants repel bugs while adding a touch of beauty. Why buy cut flowers when you can use ones you already have in pots that can also replace chemical-based insect repellents.



This golden gem can be daisy or carnation-like and have a pleasant smell. Aphids, mosquitoes, and rabbits do not find their aroma pleasing and will give them a wide berth.


While you probably know them more commonly as onions, there are actually hundreds of varieties, some of which have beautiful blooms. These hardy plants come in an array of colors and shapes, so you are sure to find a variety you like. They will ward off aphids, caterpillars, mites, termites, mice, and much more, as they are considered a broad-spectrum insecticide.


Traditionally, these beauties are yellow, but you can find an assortment of shades. Keep them nearby for your next picnic if you want to keep away the roaches, ants, ticks, and fleas.


This flower wards off many insects including beetles by releasing a chemical into the air.


Popular for keeping in a decorative pot or hanging basket, these flowers come in many vibrant colors. They are easy to grow and will keep away aphids, tomato hornworms, asparagus beetles, and squash bugs.


You can grow these like a bush, or get a trailing variety for a hanging basket. There are an abundance of hues, and they can have different colored blooms on the same stem. Hang them around the porch for a mosquito-free sitting area.


Sunflowers will attract ants and deter them from building their mounds closer to your home, so place them in an area away from the home where you do not hangout around.


These bold beauties will keep away nematodes.


This will deter ants, codling moths, flea beetles, whiteflies, and mice.


You probably are thinking about the candles that are made with the oil from citronella. It is known for repelling insects, especially mosquitos. This can be used as an ornamental grass.


These container plants repel bugs and are edible. Grow your herb garden indoors to keep your spice rack stocked while keeping the pests out.

basil growing in garden


Not only will this add robust flavor to any salad, but it will deter houseflies and mosquitoes as well.

Lemon Thyme

Lemon Thyme has white to purplish flowers, so it can add color to your food and kitchen. The leaves do have to be rubbed together to release its mosquito repelling powers. Take care when doing so as it can cause skin irritation for some people.


Lavender can be used to make teas and other delicious goodies. It is often used to add a pleasant smell to just about anything, and nourishes the skin. It is very handy to have around whether you are using it to relax, or to stave off moths, fleas, flies or mosquitoes.


This herb is ideal to keep potted as it is aggressive and can easily overcome your garden. The leaves can be used to make tea, freshen breath, or in a mojito. They will also keep you free from mosquito bites.

Lemon Balm

The herb has daisy-like flowers and has been known to help reduce stress. It has a zesty flavor and pleasant lemon scent. It is invasive, which makes it a perfect container plant for repelling bugs.


Not only will this add flavor to your dishes, but they also have lovely purple buds. Rosemary can protect you from mosquitos, and your vegetables from harmful pests.


Use this to make a yummy pizza sauce and to ward off mosquitos.


Like rosemary, this herb will also have gorgeous purple flowers. Rub it on your skin for a mosquito barrier.

Bay Leaves*

These leaves will shoo the flies away.

You may want to consider sticking to perennials, as they will come back year after year, especially if you plan on putting them in your garden. Also, ensure you check their cold hardiness so that you know when they will need to be brought indoors.

These are the best container plants to repel bugs, but they can do so much more as well. You can use them to beautify your indoor and outdoor spaces, spice up your meals, and harness their healing properties.