Plants That Act as a Wasp Repellent

Wasps are considered to be beneficial insects because they prey on a variety of other insect and grub pests that can infest a garden and pester the gardener. Since wasps eat these insects, few plants have developed defense mechanisms, which makes it hard to find plants that act as a wasp repellent. However, there are a few plants out there that, in one form or another, will repel wasps. Just make sure you know their other traits before you plant them in your garden.

Wormwood

Wormwood, also called Artemisia, is a boxy shrub that was used as a medicine until people figured out that it was poisonous. This plant makes an excellent border for a wasp-free area and can grow in full sun or partial shade. However, wormwood contains a natural form of absinthe, the same intoxicating and poisonous substance that Vincent Van Gogh was said to be imbibing when he cut off his ear to send to a female friend. The absinthe is water-soluble and can wash off the leaves in dew or rain, killing small surrounding plants and flowers. This plant can also make humans sick if it is ingested.

Citronella and Eucalyptus

These plants are more likely to be effective wasp repellents when they are applied to the skin or a living or yard area in the form of essential oils. However, plant enough of them and you will likely get some natural wasp-repelling effects as well. Citronella likes full sun but is best potted so that it can be moved indoors in the winter. Eucalyptus trees can grow nearly anywhere that the winter temperatures do not fall below 20 degrees F and like plenty of sun. They can live in colder climates in pots but will not bloom.

Mint

Mint and mint oil both repel wasps. Mint is an ideal herb for this because it not only looks nice and smells pleasant, but once the wasps are gone you can cut it and use it in bouquets and a variety of delicious dishes. However, mint will take over your entire garden if you let it, so either keep it in pots or prune it back often. Mint likes sunshine but will grow in almost any environment.

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Carole VanSickle has over five years experience working with scientists and creative scholars to promote and explain their work. She is based in Atlanta, Ga., and specializes in scientific, medical and technical writing, SEO and educational content.