Repel Pests With Plants

A rabbit eating a green plant.

If garden pests are enjoying the fruits of your labor more often than you are, you’ve got a big problem. Add plants that naturally repel critters, gophers, rabbits, mice, and deer; and start enjoying all the hard work you’re doing out in the yard.

Gophers, Be Gone

Gophers are one of the most difficult garden pests to live with and to get rid of. Gopher spurge and castor bean can be somewhat effective at keeping gophers out of the garden, but you must plant them near known gopher locations to get results. Gopher spurge creates a white, saplike liquid that is toxic to not only animals, but humans, so be careful.

You can choose plants that gophers won’t eat, and make your garden a lot less interesting to them. Gophers don’t like daffodils, columbine, lavender, or rosemary. They will attempt to avoid narcissus. Plant the bulbs anywhere in the garden where you see gopher activity to keep them away. Narcissus also repels deer and rabbits.

Keep Deer out of the Garden

Seeing a live deer can be a phenomenal life moment, thrilling and beautiful all at once. Seeing a deer eating away at your garden flowers, herbs, and produce is going to create a different feeling. Protect your garden by adding plants that deer not only dislike, but try to avoid.

Herbs that give off a strong scent (chives, fennel, thyme, mint, and anise) repel deer from garden areas. Grow flowers like daffodils, irises, aster, sage, evening primrose, morning glory, forget-me-nots, and creeping phlox to make your garden unattractive to deer. They tend to avoid plants that are spiny, fuzzy, or very strong-smelling. Place deer repelling plants throughout the garden and around landscaping to make them want to stay away. They’ll seek more palatable, sweet-smelling food elsewhere.

Make Mice Scurry Away

Mice and voles are very small, but they can do big damage to garden and landscaped areas. Place plants that mice don’t like to eat or smell around the perimeter of the garden, and they’ll want to stay away.

Strong-smelling plants like cloves, peppermint, and cayenne pepper repel mice. Plant mint near the plants that mice like to eat, such as cabbages and tomatoes. Catnip also releases an odor that repels mice, but it will attract all types of cats. Garlic’s strong odor keeps mice away, and also repels fleas and ticks. Lavender repels mice and deer as well as rabbits, and since it’s pretty, lavender is an attractive way to keep pests out of the garden.

Bye Peter Cotton Tail

Rabbits are some of the peskiest of garden pests. They love to eat your vegetables, and they will even nibble on some flowers and foliage. Grow verbena, which comes in lots of pretty colors, to make the garden less palatable to rabbits. They don’t like columbine or coneflowers in the garden either. To create a border that rabbits won’t cross, grow groundcovers like big periwinkle or bougainvillea.

Pest Protection

Surround the garden with plants that have strong smells. Well-scented flowers or lemon-like scents keep hungry garden pests away from plants you want to protect. Animals won’t want to brave the strong odors to seek out the foods they like. Look for plants that repel more than one type of pest. Marigolds, for instance, emit a strong odor that deer and rabbits don’t like. The flowers even keep mosquitoes away from the garden.

Deer and rabbits are beautiful creatures, but that doesn't mean you need to let them eat your beautiful landscape. Deterring these pests won't be a problem with these plants.

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