7 houseplants that will keep mosquitoes, moss and flies away from the kitchen and garden this summer

If you hate flies buzzing around your food and living spaces but don’t want chemicals sprayed around your home, there are natural ways to keep the winged pests at bay during the hot summer months. And one of the sweetest-smelling and most decorative ways to do this is with common houseplants.

Even our grandparents knew that certain flowers, shrubs and herbs are excellent for repelling flies and other insects – and were therefore often planted around windows and doors. Across Cork, around old farmhouses, you can still find plants such as lemon balm, lavender and sage planted in backyards and front gardens and especially around kitchen windows and back doors, acting as fragrant, natural barriers to flies entering the home come home.

And today it is a very inexpensive way to deter insects. You can buy a pot of basil from your local Aldi or Duness store for a few bucks to keep by the kitchen window so you can flavor your food and keep the flies away as basil is one of the best natural insect repellents.

Instead of reaching for bug spray or chasing them around the house with a rolled-up magazine, just try one or more of these eco-friendly common plants to defeat the bugs this summer.


A great choice and an immensely useful plant that does so much more than just keep the flies away. Lavender looks pretty, smells great, and repels flies, bugs, and even fleas thanks to the oil it produces. Lavender also looks great decorating a table and has been used in the bedroom to aid sleep for centuries.


The very strong aroma of sage – and its oil – is particularly unpleasant for mosquitoes and flies. You can take the leaves once they’re dried and burn them if you eat outside, the lingering aroma keeps the little critters at bay. It is also excellent for flavoring fish dishes.

Sage has variegated flowers and distinctive silver-green leaves


Another super versatile herb to have in the kitchen – basil is a great natural deterrent to flies and particularly biting midges (and we have several species of these in Ireland, including basil). Culex Pipiens ). It has been used as a natural method of pest control since ancient times. And not only does it keep mosquitoes away, but it’s also great for flavoring soups and pasta dishes.


Another widely used herb that has an oil and aroma that insects simply hate. The intense fragrance is particularly effective against the mosquitoes and mosquitoes that ruin many outdoor dining experiences. If you have a favorite barbecue area or outdoor dining table, make sure there is plenty of rosemary planted nearby. It is also excellent as a spice for meat dishes.

lemon balm

Many natural insect repellents, including candles, tealights, and tiki lights on bamboo sticks, contain a compound called citronella, a very powerful natural oil that is especially effective at repelling biting insects.

Lemon balm, which can grow into large bushes with little to no care, is packed with citronella—another great dining area plant.

Common Marigold

Another common plant that has always been a favorite in kitchen gardens – the marigold gives off a strong odor that is not pleasant to mosquitoes, gnats and gnats.

Your great-grandmother would have known all about the natural properties of this colorful, natural insect repellent. And that’s why they were often planted around doors and windows in kitchens and scullery areas.

Common Marigold
Common Marigold

Venus Flytrap/Sundew

If you want to go tough on the flies, the carnivorous plants that actually grow in the wild in Ireland, like sundews or introduced plants like the Venus flytrap, are the way to go.


They can keep a carnivorous plant in pots, and they lure insects to their deaths with their scent or color. They’re also very cool for kids, especially.


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