Some insects are beneficial to a garden and some insects are not. A fly is not one of the best pollinating insects and the females lay their eggs on the leaves or other parts of the plants--and soon, you have a swarm of them. Plants that repel flies give off scents that flies don't like. Plant fly-repellent plants in containers on the patio and near the barbecue to keep the flies away from your next party.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a member of the mint family. The plant is an annual that grows from 2 to 3 feet tall with leaves 2 to 4 inches long and small, white or purple flowers growing in multiple flat clusters that wrap around the stems. Plant basil in full sun except in the hottest zones, where it needs partial shade. This herb needs a moist, well-drained soil. Use in containers or an herb or flower garden. Basil has an aroma that people like, but flies do not and, according to Rex Research, is a fly-repellent plant.
Gold Leaf Tansy
Gold leaf tansy (Tanacetum vulgare Isla Gold) is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8 and grows from 1 to 2 feet tall and up to 2 feet wide. Yellow flowers bloom in July and August. The fern-like leaves are a golden color. Plant gold leaf tansy in full sun or partial shade and a moist to dry, well-drained soil. Use in a cottage garden or as a border plant. Golden leaf tansy is aromatic, a feature flies find repulsive and, According to Rex Research Inc., flies will give it a wide berth.
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) features pale green, round or kidney-shaped leaves measuring 2 to 5 inches across. Russet, pink, yellow, orange, scarlet or crimson flowers grow from 1 to 2 inches across. All parts of the plant taste like pepper. Plant nasturtium in full sun or light shade and a light, sandy moist to dry soil. The plant is an annual that is planted in the spring in zones 4 to 8 and in the winter in zones 9 to 11. Use in a hanging basket, in annual beds or as a border plant. The plant is a favorite of hummingbirds. Flies don't like the taste or the aroma of the nasturtium and Rex Research rates it as a fly repellent plant.
Rue (Ruta graveolens) is a member of the citrus family and a small evergreen that grows from 2 to 3 feet tall with an equal spread. Sea green, oblong to spoon-shaped leaves measure 3 to 5 inches long. Abundant, small yellow flowers cover the plant in mid summer. Plant rue in full sun and a sandy soil. Older plants are drought tolerant. Rue is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9. Use as a hedge around an herb or knot garden, in a rock garden or as a container plant. Some people get a severe allergic reaction just by brushing up against the leaves of the plant. Ingestion can cause stomach pain and convulsions. Rue has an unpleasant odor and is also one recommended by Rex Research as a fly repellent.