13 Plants That Repel Flies


Do you love to sit outside in the yard or near the window in the evenings? Then you’d know how frustrating the flies and mosquitoes can be at that time. But do you know that the plants in your yard and around your patio have the ability to repel flies? Yes, there are several plants whose scents act as natural and effective fly and insect repellents.

While you would think that some of these plants have extremely pleasant fragrances, flies and bugs actually hate them. But you shouldn’t straightway rub the leaves of all these plants on yourself—there are other options too.

You can pot them around the windows and doors to repel insects and prevent them from coming indoors. You can also use these plants’ essential oils and make sprays from them. Use these natural sprays on your body and around your home to shoo away the hazardous flies.

We have listed thirteen plants that are adept at repelling flies away from your home. Choose the ones that are convenient for you to plant and would thrive in the climate of the place where you live.

Types of Flies

Common House Flies- These flies are ash-grey to black in color and typically sit on waste and feces. They can cause diseases like salmonellosis if they contaminate the kitchen surface.

Cluster Flies- These are slightly bigger than common house flies and typically invade homes in autumn. They can infest the wall voids in large numbers and cause issues.

Bottle Flies- These flies develop inside rotting meat which might have been lying around your house. They are fairly large and can cause a variety of bacterial diseases.

13 Plants that Repel Flies

1. Basil

Basil plants in pots

One of the most popular herbs that you might already have at your home, Basil is adept at repelling both houseflies and mosquitoes. That would be a surprise for many as people typically only know that basil adds flavor to soups, dishes, and more. 

Apart from that, basil also has several medicinal uses. And you can place the herb around your sitting area in the balcony or yard to get rid of disturbing insects. You can not only use the potted plant to repel insects but also make a repellant spray.

Just add 4 to 6 ounces of fresh basil leaves in four ounces of fresh boiling water and let it rest for a few hours. Squeeze all the juice out of the leaves and add four ounces of cheap regular vodka. Store it in a spray bottle and use it as per convenience.

Caring Tips- Basil likes to stay moist, so keep watering the plant every 3-4 days and adjust according to the weather. It doesn’t need fertilizers and is a cost-effective plant.

2. Lavender

Lavender plants

The glorious lavender plant repels a host of insects like mosquitoes, flies, fleas as well as moths. It has an undeniably mystical fragrance that is incorporated in women’s perfumes as well as room fresheners.

While you would love to have lavender in your yard because of its fragrance, flies and mosquitoes absolutely hate it. Interesting, right? You can make a bouquet and place some around your windows or door entrance to keep the flies outdoors.

Additionally, you can extract oil from lavender and store it in a spray bottle to apply as a repellant when your children go outside to play. The pleasant lavender oil also nourishes the skin and has calming properties for extra benefits.

Caring Tips- You should water the lavender plant generously but wait until the topsoil is completely dry before watering again. It’s easier to maintain than plants that need frequent watering.

3. Lemon Thyme

Lemon thyme in a pot

Lemon thyme is a hardy plant that suits both dry and rocky soils and is an excellent mosquito repellent. These plants demand sunny locations and can thrive in tough conditions like that of a rock garden. You can also keep them in pots on your window sill.

To use it as a mosquito repellent, you’ll need to crush its leaves and rub them on your skin. But ensure that your skin isn’t sensitive to the plant. Rub a small number of crushed leaves in a small area of your forearm to make sure that the plant doesn’t affect your skin adversely.

Caring Tips- Lemon thyme must be planted under full sun and is better suited to hot and dry climates than moist ones. You should plant these 12 inches apart in the spring season for optimum results.

4. Rosemary


Another popular and gorgeous herb grown in containers as well as herb gardens, rosemary is also a brilliant mosquito and insect repellant. You can plant it in a variety of spaces like in a container on the patio as well as your landscape beds. You can place these on window sills to prevent mosquitoes and flies from entering your home.

If you are a passionate cook, you would know that rosemary enhances the smell and flavor of dishes. But its fragrance seems unpleasant to the insects, so you can make a quick mosquito repellant using rosemary to protect yourself while going outdoors.

Just boil a quart of dried rosemary in a quart of water for about half an hour. Transfer the liquid to a half-gallon container containing a quart of cold water. Store the liquid in the refrigerator and spray small amounts whenever you head outside. The liquid won’t work after it loses its signature fragrance.

Caring Tips- Rosemary plant needs at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, so keep it near a window. Plant it in sandy soil and ensure the conditions don’t get cooler than 30F which these plants can’t withstand.

5. Catnip


Yes, your cat’s favorite herb is also a useful mosquito repellant. The chemical nepetalactone that attracts cats to this member of the mint family also repels insects like mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, and even deer ticks. Hence, these are a must-have in your yard if you have pets as well as kids.

You can use this herb to make a DIY insect repellant spray quite easily too. You need to take out the leaves and pulp them in a food processor. Add two cups of boiling water to this and let it be for 15-20 minutes before straining the leaves. Add the mixture into a spray bottle and you’re done.

Caring Tips- While catnips are quite easy to grow, you need to pay special attention to their invasive properties. You should cut their roots properly now and then since they can quickly take over your garden. They can grow in both spring and fall and bloom elegant lavender flowers.

6. Sage


Just like rosemary, you can plant sage in containers on a patio as well as a herb garden and landscape bed. Sage has natural insect repellent properties. These become more effective when you toss the herb in the fire so it comes in handy if you’re camping outside in the garden and need a quick insect repellent.

You can also make a quick sage essential oil DIY repellent using a simple recipe. Pour about 20 drops of sage essential oil along with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and some aloe vera in a jar. Stir it well and you’re good to go.

Caring Tips- Sage loves sunlight, so place the plant in an area with a lot of natural lighting if you’re planting it indoors. A little water here and there is enough as the plant is drought tolerant. Wait until the soil is dry before watering again.

7. Marigolds


Marigolds are not only pleasant-smelling plants, they are capable of repelling bugs and insects too. Marigold contains a powerful ingredient called pyrethrum which is prominently used in insect repellents. 

Marigold’s roots are also popular among farmers because they repel nematodes. It can take longer than a year for the yellow-orange blooming plants to show those effects. But it would repel the flies and bugs immediately.

They can also save your tomato plants by repelling whiteflies. They release a compound called limonene which is adept at slowing down whiteflies. So you must plant marigolds if you have tomato plants in your yard.

Caring Tips- You should water the plant deeply but let the soil dry before watering it again. You should prevent the soil from getting soggy as it may lead to root rot and moisture-related diseases.

8. Chrysanthemums


The white and yellow flowers of chrysanthemums aren’t particularly effective in repelling mosquitoes but are excellent repellents for flies and an array of bugs like fleas, ticks, aphids, spider mites, and roaches. These insects commonly cause a lot of worries by biting your pets as well as children. Placing the chrysanthemums plant strategically outdoors or indoors can help you get rid of these insects naturally.

These plants are commonly found as ingredients in aerosol bombs, pet shampoos, and indoor sprays because of their highly-rated insect repellent properties. They eliminate the use of chemicals and provide you with a naturally effective method to protect your pets and yourself. It also contains pyrethrum that is proven to kill jumping and flying insects.

Having these in your house can let you enjoy the outside sunlight from your windows without getting frustrated by insects. Its blooms also exude positivity and will help your house look lively.

Caring Tips- While chrysanthemums can survive several types of soils, they thrive in soils with proper drainage. They like moisture so you should water them frequently. 

9. Alliums


Allium giganteum comes with more benefits than just its gorgeous purple-white blooms. It has a reputation of repelling a host of insects, being particularly ruthless with mosquitoes, aphids, and the carrot flies among others.

Their stalks can rise to 6 feet and they develop dramatically round heads as they grow. They repel most of the harmful insects like cabbage worms, slugs, flies, and mosquitoes, leaving you a fresh and pest-free garden. Their repellent properties make them particularly useful for vegetable gardens.

If you have potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, and carrots planted in your backyard, having allium around will do a world of good. Apart from that, the plant would also protect your pets and kids from insect bites while they plan in the evening.

Caring Tips- You need to take special care of allium plants at the start and water them thoroughly for at least 1 week. Keep the soil damp when they are in the growing stage. Once they have bloomed, you just need to water them moderately until the plant slowly fades to a yellowish color.

10. Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel

You might have the glossy bay laurel plant in your garden for cooking purposes. It has been used in cooking for centuries because of its aromatic properties. But do you know that the bay laurel plant’s pungent fragrance is also useful in shooing away flies, insects, weevils, and even mice?

Its pungent smell works well as a repellent in all cases—whether the leaves are fresh or dry. You should hence keep a bundle of these near your entryway or near the window to keep the flies away during the fly season.

It’s a fairly large plant and can withstand very high temperatures since it’s a warm climate evergreen. You should plant it away from your house as it can grow as large as 55 meters at times. The plant can also thrive in pots and hence you can put it inside when it gets cold. That is necessary too since it can’t withstand freezing climes. 

Caring Tips- Bay laurel grows very slowly and hence you won’t need to repot it frequently.  You should keep the plant in well-drained soil in its early years. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot. Wait for the topsoil to dry before watering the plant again.

11. Tansy


The round yellow flowers of tansy resemble a dessert and this plant looks absolutely delicious when fully bloomed. Its fly-repellent properties come to the fore through its oils. You can use the spray created from its oils both on your body as well as on areas like around the window frame, doors, and more to prevent flies from entering the house.

Dried leaves of tansy create a stronger scent and a more powerful repellent spray although you can use the fresh ones too. The oil is more concentrated in the dried leaves leading to stronger repellent properties. 

To make the repellent, you just have to soak its leaves in hot water and leave it to cool. You then have to strain the leaves. Avoid drinking its tea as it’s toxic. You can also add other repellents like lavender or soap solution to make it more effective.

Caring Tips- The plant is pretty easy to grow although you might want to contain its roots to prevent them from entering livestock fields. If livestock eats too much of it, they may fall sick because of the toxicity.

12. Mint


Mint family includes an array of herbs that you would surely be acquainted with. It has sweet mints, citrus mints, chocolate mints, peppermints, and spearmints. You might have consumed one or all of these in various forms like dressings, juices, chewing gums, and more.

Whichever mint you prefer to grow in your house, you can be assured of one thing—they would repel bugs, flies, and mosquitoes. 

Both fresh and dried mint leaves have a strong aroma.  You can use them as insect repellent in any way you like- keep them on your window in the patio, near the porch door, rub their leaves on your skin or use the oil extract. Like in the case of most insect-repellent plants, the oil form is the most potent and effective repellent.

Its multi-utility makes it a must-have. You can use it in cooking, beverages as well as a digestive aid apart from a repellent.

Caring Tips- Mints are fast-growing and self-pollinating hardy plants. If you leave them unchecked, they can quickly take over your yard. The best way to plant them is in a pot, although you can also plant them in a bricked area in the garden. 

13. Eucalyptus


The eucalyptus is popular for its silver foliage and offers a host of health benefits from the oils of its leaves. Eucalyptus is found in a host of over-the-counter products to heal household ailments. But the standout property of this plant is its ability to repel insects and flies through its strong scent. It was registered as an insecticide and miticide in 1948 in the U.S.

You can choose from a wide variety of eucalyptus plants, some of which can grow as tall as 130 feet. It’s better to choose a species that can be potted rather than that which can be grown into a tree.

While it can deter flies through its scent, the oils derived from its leaves are more potent. You can crush the leaves and rub them on your skin or extract the oil to use as a spray. The oil also doubles up as an antibacterial agent when used as a spray and can reduce swelling quickly.

Caring Tips- The plant thrives in both warm and cool conditions. Just water it moderately. Let the top third of the soil dry before watering again to prevent it from getting too moist.

Extracting Plant Oils and Using Them to Repel Flies

You can use the essential oils from a host of plants as discussed above to create a fly-repellent spray for use around the house as well as for your body. The strong scent of these plants typically deters flies.

To make a basic insect repellent from any of these plants, you should have a cup of fresh or dried leaves. Dried leaves are more potent because of their stronger scent. One cup of fresh leaves is equivalent to ⅓ cup of dried ones.

Place the leaves in a 2-quart heatproof container (of any plant you want to use like lavender, catnip, etc.) and boil a quart of water in a kettle simultaneously. Pour the boiling water on top of the leaves and cover it with a lid. Let it brew and cool. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be drinking this tea before knowing properly about its ingestive properties.

You then have to strain the leaves. Line a strainer with a coffee filter and pour the tea into another container. Remove all the debris to avoid any clogs in your sprayer.

You can also add a teaspoon of oil soap to the liquid before adding it to the sprayer. That would help kill some insects like aphids too.

Are your Plants Attracting Flies? Plants That Attract Flies

You have just learned about plants that repel flies. But do you know that a few plants attract flies too? Flies and pests love the lack of air circulation and can get attracted to houseplants. Here are a few plants that attract flies that you might need to remove from your house or garden:


Dill plants

People typically fall in love with the aromatic seeds and leaves of this ornamental plant. But dill also attracts ladybugs, wasps as well as hoverflies. But these flies eat harmful pests like aphids, so consider growing dill in the garden instead of in the house.



The flowering plant also attracts hoverflies and tachinid flies apart from adding color to your garden. They naturally kill a variety of pests too.



The big, yellow sunflowers get the attention of hoverflies and wasps apart from the onlookers. You might need to get rid of them in case of an infestation.

Other Ways to Repel Flies Naturally

It’s usually preferable to find natural methods to repel flies. Store-bought insecticides can have various side effects when you breathe them in and getting proper pest control can be too expensive when your problem is just flies. Here are a few natural methods apart from using repellent plants:

Vinegar and Dish Soap Trap

You can use a mixture of household vinegar along with some dish soap to trap flies. To do this, mix a cup of apple cider vinegar along with a few drops of dish soap. Pour the mixture into a tall glass and leave it on the kitchen counter. The dish soap will help in drowning any of the flies that land in this mixture.

Cayenne Pepper and Water Spray

Everybody has cayenne pepper at home. So if you want an instant solution for the pests in your garden, instead of getting a separate plant, you can make a quick solution by mixing the two ingredients. Spray this mixture on the upper and lower parts of the infested plants.

Venus Flytraps

Venus Flytraps are carnivorous plants that have been long known to ingest houseflies. It does take a while, but this method is quite effective. As soon as the fly lands on it, the plant closes and kills it with its digestive juices.

Are Flies a Health Hazard?

Flies typically seem harmless creatures that don’t bite humans. So you would usually ignore these little buzzing insects. But these little insects can be a serious hazard to your health because they walk on every nasty thing out there. And their feet have sticky pads which allow them to collect a host of germs from the surfaces they sit on.

And these flies constantly keep sitting on various surfaces and attract a lot of germs. Perhaps their major food supplies are dirt and feces which contain disease-inducing bacteria which can cause typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and so on.

They typically sit on rotten food, garbage, human waste, and more. Moreover, they tend to vomit most of what they eat. Studies have shown that houseflies can carry as many as 200 bacteria with them. Most of these are disease-causing and hence it’s important to get rid of them quickly if they have caused an infestation.

Apart from causing cholera, typhoid, and dysentery, houseflies can even carry parasitic worms and spread leprosy. These diseases can be seriously hazardous and hence houseflies aren’t a typical annoyance. They are much more dangerous than that. If these flies find their way to your food, they can cause serious damage.

Houseflies are present everywhere but you can prevent their infestation by planting one or several of the plants that we have listed here. You can also prevent the invasion of insects, mosquitoes, and more in your yard if you plant these fly-repellent plants in and around your house. They offer a natural yet effective solution to your flies issue.

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