Gardening Living Healthy

10 Herbs That Repel Garden Pests

Are you planting a garden with your children this summer? Gardening can be hard work, but it can also be rewarding! If you want to enjoy your produce and avoid having pests invade and ruin your hard work, try planting some herbs along with your vegetables. Not only will you and your family enjoy some delicious vegetables, but you’ll be able to use the herbs when you prepare meals with them!


I often plant extra herbs and dry what I don’t use right away. In that way, I’m able to have home-grown herbs all winter. I simply gather my herbs, wash them, and lay them on paper-towel-lined pans to dry on the counter. Once they’re completely dried out (which may take a few days if done indoors), I place them in jars, make sure the lids are secure, and store them in the cabinet until I need them. Then I can enjoy flavorful, pesticide-free herbs all winter!

As you can see, planting herbs along with your garden vegetables really is a great idea for several reasons! But how do you know which herbs to plant? Below we’ll give you some tips for which herbs to plant depending on which kinds of pests you have in your area and which kinds of vegetables you decide to plant.

Why use herbs instead of pesticides?

When you and your children work hard to grow a garden and are excited to enjoy what you’ve grown, you don’t want insects to destroy your plants! Toxic insect sprays are not the only answer to maintaining a bug-free garden, though. I prefer to take a more natural approach to the problem by mixing herbs that will repel the insects in with the vegetables.

What herbs should be used to protect against which pests?

Planting herbs and vegetables that compliment each other together  is what we call companion planting. When paired correctly, herbs can repel insects that would otherwise destroy the nearby plant. Here’s a list of 10 herbs that repel garden pests.

    • Basil repels mosquitoes, carrot fly, white fly, asparagus beetles
    • Catnip repels ants, weevils, squash bugs, aphids, beetles, cockroaches
    • Chamomile repels flying insects
    • Chives repels aphids, beetles, carrot fly
    • Dill repels squash bugs, spider mites, aphids, tomato hornworm, cabbage looper, the Small White
    • Garlic repels aphids, beetles, carrot fly, rabbits

  • Nasturtiums repels white fly, squash bugs, aphids, beetles, cabbage looper
  • Oregano repels several pests
  • Parsley repels asparagus beetle
  • Thyme repels corn earworm, white fly, tomato hornworm, cabbage looper, and maggot

printable companion gardening chart

To download your own companion planting chart, click the image above or click this link.

Is it too late to plant herbs to help protect my garden?

If you have your garden well under way this summer but find that pests are a problem for you, it’s not too late to do something about it! Many of these plants can be found at a local store or farmer’s market and planted next to the vegetables.

Other Gardening Resources You May Enjoy

Be sure grab our free kids’ garden planner! It contains:

  1. The Soil Worksheet– Soil preparation is a key ingredient for any garden, however small. You may want to have your children take notes as you research with them what to add or test in your soil.

I recommend starting with a small garden box or raised bed and adding a soil mix of 2 parts compost & manure and 1 part peat moss. You may also want to add small amounts of  vermiculite, blood meal, and bone meal which can be found at local garden stores. How much you add would depend on the size box you are filling with your soil mixture. This way, you can control weeds and the content of your soil so much better. Proper soil makes for a successful garden experience. 

  1. 2. The Spring Garden Plan– Use this page to draw a small design or plan for your spring garden. Below are fact boxes for spring crops and flowers commonly used. Have your children write the facts on these plants- such as what kind of conditions, spacing, and care they will need to grow their plant choices. You should actually go through the facts before your children plan their garden boxes so that they will know how much space they will need before they design the garden space.

And our Garden Notebooking Pages. They are marked down from $4.99 to $1.99 right now! Use the spaces provided for recording taxonomy as well as your observations as you grow your homeschool garden. The black and white and light color format makes printing affordable and allows for personalization as your child fills in each page. Choose from over 20 plants by common name. This packet also includes a blank page which can be printed multiple times.  This PDF includes 19 total notebooking pages and is a PDF digital download product.


Other articles that you may be interested in:

Use Your Garden as an Outdoor Classroom






When to Plant Your Garden






7 Medicinal Herbs to Grow In Your Garden

Choose Heirloom Seeds

Plants that Can Help Improve Your Health

The Healing Power of Onions

Do you make gardening a part of your homeschool? How? What are the ages of your children and what do they help you grow?

About the author


Jill York is a Christian herbalist and a homeschool mom of 4. As a young adult, she found her health spinning out of control, and was for the first time introduced to natural medicine, where she found healing. Her desire is to encourage and empower other moms to take control of their family's health naturally. You can find her blogging at Jill’s Home Remedies and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


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  • This info will be great with garden planning, my last attempted was shattered by a worm of sorts. The dand things ate all my leafies at the root. The grasshoppers always do a number on my tomatoes and cucumbers,…..but what about skinks that eat my berries!! I must get a grow house for them. LOL Thank you for sharing

  • Well I can honestly say that Basil did not repel japanese beetles but rather provided them with a feast. I had a beautiful basil plant that was demolished by those pesky little buggers.

  • Living in the Midwest (which feels like bug central) I love herbs and companion planting! I have many of the herbs listed paired with the desired vegetables. Although the herbs haven’t completed “solved” the problem of the bugs, we’ve had a bountiful harvest so far. Also, I’m learning to accept a few chewed leaves or the occasional destroyed plant as part of the challenge and joy of organic gardening.

    An experienced gardener friend also gave this excellent tip: weak plants seem like magnets to bad bugs. Keep the plants strong and your fight against bugs will be much, much easier.

  • Thank you for this! This list will for sure come in handy for when we start setting up our garden in preparations for our botany co-op class this year!