Gardening is a highly-rewarding endeavor, but when plants are eaten and destroyed by insects, it becomes frustrating. Chemicals control pesky bugs, but other less toxic options are available for those who wish to deal with pests in an organic manner. There are a wide variety of herbs, flowers and even a few vegetable plants that naturally repel insects. Plant them along with your other garden crops to keep nasty pests at bay.
Garlic is a helpful garden plant that acts as a natural repellent for a variety of insects. Plant garlic around rose bushes to keep aphids away. Growing garlic under peach trees repels peach tree borers. Garlic also keeps Japanese beetles and spider mites away from your plants. Plant garlic in well-drained soil and in spots where it will receive at least six hours of sun each day.
Flea beetles, aphids, cabbage moths and fleas find the scent of mint intolerable and stay away from crops planted near mint. Mint also attracts highly beneficial insects like predatory wasps and hover flies to the garden. The mint plant has an aggressive root system, so it's best to keep mint potted and not plant it in the ground with other garden plants. Place pots of mint in sunny areas throughout your garden.
Plant the attractive herb rue around roses and raspberry bushes to help control Japanese beetles. Rue also keeps fish moths, aphids, flea beetles and flies out of your garden. Cats and dogs find rue offensive and will not bother the rue or any of the garden plants growing near it. Plant rue where it will receive at least six hours of full sun each day and in well-drained, fertile soils.
The radish is a delicious vegetable that does a lot of hard work while growing in the garden. Grow radishes near cucumbers to repel the pesky cucumber beetle. Plant radishes around corn, and let them go to seed to stop corn borers from destroying corn crops. Protect broccoli from flea beetles by planting the Snow Belle and Chinese Daikon radish nearby. The radish also lures leaf miners away from spinach. The leaf miners eat the radish leaves, leaving the radish and the spinach unharmed. Radishes thrive in full sun and in well-drained soil conditions.
The brightly-colored flowers of the nasturnium not only add beauty to your garden, but they also protect it from a wide variety of insects. Nasturnium repels woolly aphids, striped pumpkin beetles, white flies and squash bugs. Plant nasturnium in the garden or place potted nasturnium under trees and alongside plants to protect time from a insect damage. Nasturniums also attract helpful predatory insects to the garden. The nasturnium tolerates poor soil and thrives in full sun or partial shade.
Scented marigolds work well as a natural pest repellent in the garden. Plant French marigolds around tomatoes to keep white flies away from plants. The Mexican marigold keeps Mexican beetles away from crops. The pungent scent of the marigold also acts as a rabbit repellent; the marigold also helps kill nematodes. Plant both types of marigolds around the garden in well-drained soil and where they'll receive full sun exposure.