Spiders are necessary to many ecosystems because they can help control other unwanted bugs like ants, centipedes, or flies. However, this doesn’t mean you want to welcome them with open arms into your home or garden! Here you’ll find many examples of plants that repel spiders which can be employed outside of your home in the garden or indoors by using essential oils or extracts to keep the pesky eight-legged creatures out of sight and out of mind.
What Smells Keep Spiders Away?
Many odorous plants will do a great job of keeping spiders away. Citrus, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Peppermint, you name it — if it has a strong smell, it likely comes from one of the many plants that spiders hate. Fortunately, most of these pungent-smelling plants are pleasant to humans and unpleasant to pests, which makes it a win-win!
What Plant Repels Spiders the Most?
Have you ever wondered what plants spiders hate? As it turns out, most strong-smelling plants will be great deterrents to our arachnid friends. As a general rule of thumb, plants coming from the mint family seem to be the most effective. These would be plants like Lavender, Basil, Mints (of course), and Lemon Balm.
Plants that Repel Spiders
If you’re looking for plants that deter spiders, look no further: there are almost endless options on what can be planted in your outdoor garden or brought inside your home to keep the spiders at bay. As a bonus, most of these plants contain essential oils that can be purchased to make your own essential-oil-based spider repellent!
Most plants in this list are doubly useful as spider-repellent plants and delicious culinary herbs. Below are some plants you can introduce into your home to keep it spider-free:
Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Basil is one of the most popular herbs to add to dishes to give them a fresh, herbaceous flavor, and its strong smell is enough to turn away any spiders headed in its direction. This plant can be grown easily outdoors or inside on a sunny windowsill, and not only will you never run out of fresh basil, but you likely won’t encounter any spiders near it either.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Rosemary is another herb staple for good reasons: the taste and smell, which are loved much by humans, are hated by spiders. This is another plant that can be easily grown in or outdoors, so long as you care for it well!
Mint (Mentha spp.): There are many different options to choose from regarding mints: peppermint, spearmint, and even chocolate mint. Fortunately, all of these varieties will come in handy in defending your home against unwanted creepy crawlies like spiders. Keep these plants in containers, as they tend to be aggressive and invasive if planted outdoors.
Sage (Salvia officinalis): Sage is another plant with many varieties, all of which will work well to repel spiders. As a tip, avoid fertilizing this plant if you’re using it solely to deter spiders, as fertilizer can reduce its scent and, therefore, its efficacy in being a spider-repellent plant.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria): Catnip is a much more versatile plant than one might imagine. It’s great to give to your cat, it can be used as a tea for human consumption (or cat consumption), and it can keep spiders from hanging around. Keep this plant in a container on a sunny windowsill and water once the soil has dried, and regularly trim to encourage continual growth.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): A fragrant plant that is also a member of the mint family, it repels not only spiders but also flies! This is a good plant to have growing on your sunny kitchen windowsill. As a bonus, the leaves can be removed and used to make a tasty tea.
Lemon Thyme (Thymus citriodorus): Lemon thyme is a creeping herb that boasts a fragrant, lemony odor, perfect for keeping spiders from coming anywhere near it. These plants can be grown anywhere: in flower beds, containers indoors, or even as ground cover for outdoor use.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum): These herbs are aromatic, oniony, and pungent: all of the things spiders hate. Plus, if you leave the plant for a while, you’ll see the cutest little purple blooms sit atop the stems. Don’t forget to harvest your chives to add an allium kick to savory homemade dishes.
Dwarf Citrus Tree (Citrus sinensis): A dwarf citrus tree can be a beautiful focal piece of a room while providing the same spider-repellent properties as their full-grown outdoor counterparts. For best results, find a warm, brightly lit area and keep the leaves dust-free: this will help keep the scent strong enough to repel spiders and other insects.
One of the beautiful things about plants is that they seldom provide only one benefit. Below is a list of beautiful, aromatic plants that may also be edible and definitely will act as spider deterrent plants.
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.): “Mums” as they are called by most, are very attractive flowers that pack a punch visually as well as chemically: Mums naturally produce an insect-repellent compound known as pyrethrin, so go ahead and plant a few of these in your flower beds, or even in containers. They will provide you with protection from common garden insects like spiders, and you can always cut off some of the blooms for a homemade floral arrangement.
Citronella (Cymbopogon citratus): Citronella isn’t winning awards for being the most attractive plant, though using clumps of this grass-like plant as a border plant can keep spiders from creeping into the inner bounds of your garden or yard space.
Onions (Allium cepa): The pleasant, savory odor of onions to humans reads as pungent and unattractive to spiders. Additionally, onions are great at detracting many other pests too, so consider growing some onions alongside your regularly scheduled garden crops to keep your garden’s ecosystem in check (and spider-free).
Citrus Fruit Trees (Citrus spp.): Planting citrus trees and caring for them is a labor of love that will pay off in more ways than one: not only do you get to consume any fruits they produce, but their aromaticity is strong enough to promote a spider-free environment around the plant.
Marigolds (Tagetes spp.): Marigolds are bright yellow, happy flowers that will attract insects you want, like butterflies and bees, while detracting spiders and other insects from the area. Consider placing them in flowerbeds in front of windows to provide an extra barrier between the spiders outside and your indoor sanctuary.
Lavender (Lavandula spp.): Not only does this plant smell and look pleasant, but its floral aroma is detestable to spiders. These are great candidates to be potted and placed near windows or doors, both of which are entry points for spiders. Remember to deadhead the spent blooms to keep inducing new flushes of flowers.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.): Small trees can be grown in pots, or large trees can be grown for those deeply committed to living spider-free lives. Their strong odor makes them ideal for deterring spiders, but they also can be a focal point of your yard or garden thanks to their lovely foliage and dainty flowers. These branches can also be cut to use in bouquets.
Dill (Anethum graveolens): While dill can be grown indoors just as easily, its strong and unique scent makes it perfect for filling out your garden and keeping spiders far away. Avoid letting it go to flower, as dill is often a prolific invasive plant in many areas.
Tips on How to Care for Spider Repellent Plants
By simply answering the question of “what plants repel spiders,” you are still missing out on the most important component of plant-owning, which is care and plant maintenance. Here are some tips on caring for your spider-repellent plants so you can reap the most benefits for as long as possible:
- Provide enough sunlight and water for your plants: Taking care of the essentials for your plants will ensure they are able to thrive so they can perform their duty of fending off anything with eight legs. For herbs and flowers, most prefer bright light for 6-8 hours per day, enjoying a thorough soak once the soil has mostly dried out. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can reduce the efficacy of the plant’s spider-repellent properties.
- Harvest your bounty: This includes using herbs as they grow, perhaps creating a bouquet using cut blooms from chrysanthemum plants. You can even try your hand at creating your own extracts or sprays by using plant materials like citrus or eucalyptus leaves.
- Fertilize any citrus trees that have been planted, so they continue to stay healthy and provide foliage. The leaves of citrus trees hold the essential oils produced by the plant that makes them natural spider-repellents.
- Keep invasive plants in containers: Many members of the mint family are known to spread rapidly and somewhat invasively. Limit your spider-repellent herbs to containers to keep them from getting out of hand and introducing new problems to your area. Along the same lines, avoid planting any invasive plants directly in the ground. Check your area’s list of problematic invasive plants, so you know what to avoid.
- Maintain your plants’ hygiene: This includes deadheading spent flowers, removing diseased growth, regular plant pruning (for those that need it), and cleaning your tools between pruning your plants. Neglected plants, even those that are naturally insect-repellent, can still be reservoirs for other pests that are unaffected by them and diseases that can rapidly spread through your garden.
Other Things that Repel Spiders
Now that we know what plants keep spiders away, we can establish some other tips to prevent the invasion of many-legged creatures from infiltrating your home or garden. Some useful tricks to repel spiders are:
- Make a vinegar and water solution to spray into cracks or crevices inside your house. The smell will keep the spiders from going anywhere near the sprayed areas. A one-to-one ratio of vinegar to water mixed in a spray bottle can be used almost anywhere; just make sure you’re making only what you’ll use to maintain optimum efficacy.
- Consider decluttering your spaces to keep fewer areas spiders can hide and nest. This applies to outdoor garden supplies as well as little nooks inside the house. Small, dark spots are great hiding places for spiders, and there’s almost nothing worse than reaching unsuspectedly into a pot or for a stack of magazines only to have a spider rapidly crawl out.
- Diffuse essential oils or use scented candles to deter arachnids. This can be achieved more directly by using the oils’ respective plants, though getting ready-made oils from the store or using scents to spray throughout the home is an easy and very low-maintenance way to let spiders know they are not welcome nearby.
- Diatomaceous earth (DE) can be sprinkled on the ground around your home as a repellent for spiders and many other pests. DE works by dehydrating the insects to kill them quickly, but take care not to sprinkle DE in areas where it can get onto food or food surfaces, and keep it away from both pets and children.
What Plants Repel Brown Recluse Spiders?
Brown recluses, like most other types of spiders, can easily be repelled using plants such as mints, citrus, lemon balm, and eucalyptus. Almost any strong-smelling herb will be useful in repelling brown recluse spiders, as well as other spider species.
Do Spiders Hate Citrus?
Yes, spiders do hate citrus! Utilizing citrus plants or citrus essential oils around your garden should help keep that area a spider-free zone. Plus, you will have a fresh citrus scent to enjoy in your indoor or outdoor spaces.
Does Citronella Repel Spiders?
Citronella repels spiders like it repels mosquitos. Citronella essential oils are found in the lemongrass plant, which can be grown in the area you wish to keep clear of spiders. Using a citronella essential oil spray can also keep spiders at bay indoors.
Does Lemongrass Repel Spiders?
Lemongrass plants are good for deterring spiders, especially if you grow more than one plant in an area. The scent, as well as the essential oils from the leaves and stems, will make the area surrounding these plants unattractive to spiders.
Does Spearmint Repel Spiders?
Spearmint and other members of the mint family (such as peppermint and rosemary) are plants that keep spiders away naturally. They also have many other benefits that are useful to humans, like for use in food or as teas, and they can perfume and area very nicely.