4 Plants You Should Have in Your Home to Keep Pests Away

These easy-to-grow greens give your space a sense of peace and calm, while warding off insects at the same time! By Jing Lejano

By Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

It’s amazing how a few potted plants add color and life into any room. Yes, they reduce carbon dioxide levels, increasing humidity, and keep pests at bay, but nothing tops the good vibes they bring.

Check out these greens that give your space a sense of peace and calm, while warding off insects at the same time. Bonus: They look wildly lovely, too!

Citronella grass

Its oil is a common ingredient in mosquito repellents, but the living plant is just as efficient at driving insects away. Known by any number of names, including mosquito plant geranium, Citrosa geranium, and Pelargonium citrosum; its pungent smell is its most distinguishing characteristic.

Caring for citronella: Citronella grass is fairly low maintenance. Grow them in large planters, or plant them directly onto the ground. If indoors, water them regularly and fertilize occasionally. Make sure they get at least six hours a day of sunlight. Prune regularly; citronella grass may grow as high as 4 feet!

Basil

It isn’t just for salads and pesto — basil’s pervasive scent also wards off mosquitoes and houseflies. You can also use basil to treat mosquito bites: roll basil leaves between your hands to release the oil, then apply onto the bite to ease the swelling.

Caring for basil: Basil grows readily in small pots. To ensure healthy leaves, basil plants must be exposed to the sun for six to eight hours a day. Keep the soil moist, damp, and well-drained. Use leaves sparingly, a leaf or two at a time — snip a stem where two leaves meet.

Lemongrass

This fragrant foliage is probably one of the most versatile herbs around. Besides being an essential ingredient for soups, stews, and salads, lemongrass helps make beverages refreshing. It’s also believed to help relieve pain, lower cholesterol, prevent infection, and repel mosquitoes. With a maximum height of six feet, lemongrass makes an excellent natural divider as well.

Caring for lemongrass: Give lemongrass a lot of room to grow, preferably with full sunlight. Place it near a window where it gets six hours of sunlight every day. Use natural fertilizers, especially if you’re going to use the lemongrass for your meals. Lemongrass grows rapidly so you could use it as you please.

Peppermint

There are as many uses of mint as there are varieties of them. Whether smooth or wrinkled, shiny or rough, mint works as a cooking ingredient, an herbal medicine, an air freshener, and a decorative accent. Peppermint also naturally drives away ants, flies, and mosquitoes.

Caring for mint: Mint is a pleasantly low-maintenance plant. Just plant them in pots and leave them in your patio. Water them regularly, making sure to pick and prune the leaves regularly so they are at their best.

The good news is that you can easily grow these natural insect repellents. Seeds are available at Cedarhills Garden Center, Ramgo International, and Unique Seeds Philippines. A number of major supermarkets now carry potted herbs for sale, from P50 a pot up. You may also visit weekend markets and neighborhood garden stores to get supplies.