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Plants That Keep Bugs Out of a Garden

By Gertrude Elizabeth Greene ; Updated September 21, 2017

Insects and other bugs can be formidable pests in any garden. It can be very disheartening to spend an entire season's worth of labor on a garden, only to have the entire crop consumed by bugs. There are many ways of keeping insects out of a garden, including spraying insecticides and pesticides and introducing predatory insects into the garden. One of the most natural methods, however, is including plants that naturally repel pests from your garden.


Radishes will repel striped cucumber beetles, who eat cucumbers and melons, and root-knot nematodes, which are parasitic worms that eat the roots of plants, causing reduced yield and death of the plant. To keep these bugs away, intersperse the radishes with other plants in your rows.


This plant has a slight repelling effect on the Colorado potato beetle. If you are planting potatoes, tomatoes or eggplants, the Colorado potato beetle could be a serious pest, and in some cases, destroy your entire crop. Intersperse nasturtiums with your other plants to protect them.


Marigolds are another type of plant that repels Colorado potato beetles. They will also repel root nematodes, Mexican bean beetles and even aphids. Another advantage of these plants is that they will attract aphid-killing hover flies. Make a border of marigolds and intersperse them with your other plants.


The cornflower (also known as Bachelor's Buttons) attracts ladybugs, beneficial wasps and other insects that prey on pests. This is because the plant constantly releases nectar, even when it is not blooming. You can intersperse these plants or use them to make a border.


Borage is an annual herb that is very attractive to beneficial insects. These insects are designated as beneficial because they prey on pests that will harm your plants. Sometimes you can find over 100 beneficial bugs in a single square yard of borage.


Rue is a small evergreen shrub that repels many types of leaf-eaters and worms. They can be placed in the garden as a border or interspersed with other plants.

Anise Hyssop

This perennial produces substantial amounts of nectar and thereby attracts butterflies and pest-eating insects. It grows up to 90 centimeters tall, so be careful to plant it in places where it will not block lower plants' sunlight.