Keeping your garden free of insect pests may seem like a challenge, particularly when pests threaten the life of your prized vegetable plants. Resorting to chemical control poses risks that you may not be willing to take. Many gardeners turn to organic methods and careful planning to include flowers that repel garden pests instead.
Marigolds have a reputation for repelling harmful insects, although there is little evidence that they do so. They do repel nematodes, however. Root-knot nematodes live in the soil and can attack the roots of many vegetables, weakening or even killing the plant. Plant marigolds throughout the garden.
Rosemary, a hardy herb with foliage resembling an evergreen, produces spires of lavender blooms that repel carrot flies and cabbage moths. Plant rosemary interspersed with cabbage or carrots. The scent not only repels insects, but it masks the scent of cabbage and carrots, making them difficult for flying insects to locate.
Plant nasturtiums with cucumbers to repel cucumber beetles. These brightly colored flowers add a splash of color to your garden and the blooms are edible, too. If cucumbers are grown on trellises, choose climbing nasturtiums.
Oregano repels flies, ants and aphids and makes a wonderful addition to any garden. Cut the top and bottom off a one-gallon can and push it into the ground until the top is level with the surface. Plant oregano inside the can. This prevents oregano from spreading to other parts of the garden. If planted without a barrier, oregano is invasive and will quickly take over large areas.
Basil, with its white or lavender flowers, repels flies and mosquitoes and makes a wonderful companion plant for tomatoes. Growing basil and tomatoes together enhances the flavor of both.
Chives, with their rich purple blooms, emit a strong scent that masks the scent of other vegetables, making them ideal companions for vegetables. Plant these around borders, between plants or in rows to confuse insects and prevent damage.
Mint repels aphids and ants. It can spread rapidly, so plant it in a submerged pot to prevent it from choking out vegetable plants. Mint works well as a border, where it can be controlled more easily. Its delicate blooms provide subtle color.