Although a garden full of wildlife is an incredible and beneficial thing, you might want to keep some of the dangerous and less friendly bugs away. If you’re trying to enjoy outdoor activities and get your daily dose of sunlight, you might want to avoid dangerous stingers like wasps.
Yes, insects are important, and just like bees, wasps help create a healthy ecosystem. But you might want to create bee-safe and wasp-safe areas within your garden. To do this in the most natural way possible, you should invest in wasp-repellent plants. This way, you can still attract some friendly bugs without having to worry about your safety.
What Smell Keeps Wasps Away?
There is no perfect solution for keeping wasps away from your garden. But it has been proven that strong scents have a deterrent effect on these insects. Acidic and minty scents, as well as bitter smells and tastes, can repel wasps. This could be achieved through essential oils or with plants wasps hate.
Besides this, it is also proven that vinegar, cinnamon, and coffee tend to have a negative effect on these stingers as well.
What Will Keep Wasps Away?
Besides specific smells, other factors contribute to making your garden an uninviting home for wasps. If you want them to stay away, make sure you:
- Keep your garden clean and without debris. Wasps tend to use old wood and other materials to make their nests.
- Avoid perfume and other synthetic fragrances in the yard. Many of the scents used in perfumes attract many insects, including wasps.
- Choose unscented products for your gardening. You can even use some insect repellent, although this will also affect the good, friendly bugs.
- Don’t leave food or drinks outdoors. Especially with sweet foods, wasps will be extremely attracted to these products.
- Keep your garbage bins and composts closed.
- Bright colors tend to attract these animals, so try to avoid them. This can be said both for your clothes and also for your plants. Keep in mind that yellows and violets are wasps’ favorite colors, and these colors will attract them the most.
Do Plants Really Repel Wasps?
The truth is nothing can truly eradicate these animals from your garden except removing their nests and contracting a team of professionals. But it has been proven that some plants have a negative impact on these animals. Their dislike for strong scents can be used to your advantage. So, plants do help. A lot.
It's also important that wasp is an umbrella term encompassing many species with different sensibilities and characteristics. The effectiveness of wasp deterrent plants will mostly depend if there are any stronger, more overwhelming scents that they like around. If so, it will be harder for your plants to protect you.
What Are Wasp Repellent Plants
It’s time to let you know exactly what plants repel wasps and how you should be using them to create a protective barrier against these stingers. Always make sure to pick plants that will thrive in your area and to create a mix of several of these to increase their effectiveness.
Since wasps are not a problem during the colder months, you might be looking for plants to grow only during wasp season, and don’t increase your garden workload during the winter. These could be:
This genus comprises 422 species of flowering plants in a wide variety of colors. These species range from annual to perennial, so you can choose whatever works best for your garden. Try choosing those in red shades, as wasps do not perceive this color.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Well-known for its culinary uses, this flavorful bulb is commonly grown as an annual, even though it technically is a perennial. It’s not hard to guess why this strongly scented and pungent-tasting plant would be part of this list.
Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides)
This annual plant releases a strong scent capable of masking other strong scents, making it perfect for a garden with flowers and other plants that wasps tend to gravitate towards. It should be grown in containers, as it can harm the plants that grow around it.
German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
This is a low-maintenance annual with many benefits for your garden. Besides repelling wasps, it makes a soothing, flavorful tea, as well as beers and ales. It has a somewhat bitter flavor and has a tendency to self-propagate through seeding, so it is likely to come back next year on its own.
This genus includes around 80 species of both annual and perennial flowering plants, and you can choose whichever fits best into your garden. They’re easy to grow and produce brightly colored flowers. They’re edible and have a peppery taste, which keeps insects away.
If you want plants that will survive all year long and will continuously grow and protect you, you can try these:
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Lemongrass is well known for being a natural repellent due to its insecticidal properties. Although technically a perennial, it should be treated as an annual in cooler climates since it’s not winter hardy.
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
Peppermint, alongside other mint-scented plants, is considered one of the most effective against a wide range of insects. Having this in your garden will also benefit your day-to-day life, as this plant has many medicinal and culinary uses.
Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
We’re all familiar with the characteristic scent of lavender, but what to us is pleasant is actually disliked by wasps. You can choose which species you’d like to plant and which works best for your garden, but the most frequently used is Lavandula angustifolia.
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
Also commonly known as mugwort, stingers do not appreciate the bitterness of these plants. They are also toxic to a large group of insects, so they tend to stay away from them. It has beautiful silver foliage and many medicinal benefits.
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
This perennial is considered one of the best additions to any garden since it can repel many pests, from mosquitoes to fleas. You can even rub its leaves on your skin, and you’ll have a natural repellent that will protect you throughout the day.
Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)
Although one could think a fruity scent would attract bugs, this plant's lemony fragrance is disliked by insects. This fast-growing grass can repel wasps and other annoying bugs like mosquitoes, so it’s a perfect addition to any garden.
Pet Safe Wasp Repellent Plants
It’s only smart to assume that if these plants affect insects, they might also affect other animals. Although this is the case for some, there are definitely pet-safe plants that repel wasps that you can use without compromising your furry friends, like:
Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus)
Well-known for its culinary uses, this refreshing summer vegetable repels wasps because of its bitter nature. Planting this in your garden will offer you tasty salads and a safe outdoor space to eat them. If you can’t plant this in your area, you can always use the peals and spread them around your garden.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
This herb is widely grown for its uses in food as a seasoning and for its medicinal benefits. It bears beautiful blue flowers, and although they exude a sweet fragrance, the resinous undertone of its taste deters wasps from getting close.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Hardy and compact, this evergreen is greatly used in culinary settings as seasoning. It has small fragrant leaves and has a lot of value as an ornamental plant alone. Their aromatic nature confuses wasps’ sense of smell, which they depend on for orientation, making them great plants to repel wasps.
Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum)
By now, you must be noticing the trend in this list. Choosing plants that are safe for your pets is actually a great way to fill your gardens with greenies that have culinary purposes for you. Tomatoes, particularly ripe tomatoes, have a very acidic scent and taste that wasps don’t enjoy. You can choose from several types, and you’ll have fresh veggies all summer long.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Add yet another fragrant herb to your garden with this hardy perennial. It has beautiful feathery leaves and a strong taste similar to licorice. Fennel tends to attract honey bees and other less dangerous stingers, but wasps are usually not fond of this plant.
What Is the Best Plant to Keep Wasps Away?
There is not really one best choice or the perfect plant, but peppermint and lemongrass are usually the most recommended ones. Wormwood is also very effective because wasps know it’s dangerous. Truly, a combination of several plants that deter wasps is ideal.
Do Any Plants Deter Wasps?
Yes. Although this might not be a foolproof remedy, there are a lot of plants that keep wasps away and make your outdoor areas safer. You should aim for a few different ones and place them in strategic places, depending on what areas you want to protect.
What Plants Repel Yellow Jackets?
Although all the plants in the list would work for yellow jackets, lemongrass is considered to be particularly good at keeping them away. This plant is also capable of repelling almost every type of wasp and flying insect.
Do Marigolds Keep Wasps Away?
There are contradicting opinions about marigolds and their effectiveness. Some believe they are able to repel stingers, while others just argue this flowering plant is simply not attractive enough for wasps to pay attention to them. The contradictions are not exclusive to this plant, as basil and eucalyptus effectiveness is also often discussed.
What Are Plants That Keep Hornets Away?
Hornets are not too different from what we commonly call wasps. The bigger difference is their size and color. So, they are usually repelled by minty scents and rosemary, although all the plants that wasps hate mentioned in the list will have some effect on these insects.