The 13 Plants That Repel Termites (Protect Your Home!)

Our homes and gardens are like a sanctuary to us. So it can be horrifying to see termites damaging our properties and plants. It can feel overwhelming but today, I’ll share with you all the plants that you can grow to help repel them!

There are 13 plants that can effectively repel termites:

  1. Eucalyptus
  2. Catnip
  3. Peppermint
  4. Lemongrass
  5. Iris
  6. Tea tree
  7. Oregano
  8. Garlic
  9. Vetiver grass
  10. Painted daisies
  11. Autumn mums
  12. Lavender
  13. Neem

Seeing termite nests in the garden, near our homes is always dreadful, I’ve been there before. While severe infestations must be handled by competent pest control organizations, there are some plants you can grow to help dissuade termites.

1. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)

Eucalyptus can be grown to repel termites with its rich scent and essential oils. The oils, containing eucalyptol, are highly effective in deterring termites with their concentrated fragrance and can be used in sprays.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Asia

Eucalyptus oils have been used as a main component in many repellents for insects, including termites. These oils can be found in eucalyptus leaves covered with oil glands.

The smell of eucalyptus can be quite soothing for humans. For termites, however, the scent of eucalyptus plants is unbearable.

If you have any of its oils available, you can easily spray it onto whatever wood you’d like to protect from termites to deter them from burrowing into it.

You can also grow eucalyptus as an attractive dwarf tree at home to take advantage of its pest-repellent qualities and help combat termites.

2. Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Rich with a chemical named nepetalactone, catnip can be used to help repel termites with its strong smell. Termites find the smell of catnip essential oils displeasing. Hence, it can decrease their tunneling activities once the nepetalactone is detected.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Container

Origin: Europe or Asia

It might be a surprise but your cat’s favorite plant can be used to help fight off termites!

Catnip is a source of nepetalactone, and the scent of catnip essential oil, helps reduce the amount of tunneling done by termites.

It does not kill a high number of them but the termites will avoid the potent smell of nepetalactone and its essential oils.

You can grow this feline-friendly plant in a container to surround the foundation of your home to help keep termites at bay.

Make your home safer for cats and read more in our article on the 175 plants toxic for cats.

3. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

Powerfully scented peppermint plants can be grown in pots and placed near trees or wooden components of the home to repel termites. Spray peppermint oil directly on flying termites to eradicate them and reduce their numbers.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Containers

Origin: Europe

A classic, minty insecticide I’m sure you’ve read about before—peppermint!

When it comes to smell, peppermint is extremely intense. Use it to your advantage to confuse and irritate termites.

Peppermint can be grown in a pot and moved to whatever area you believe needs protection from termites. You can grow this indoors or keep it outside if your house has a wooden exterior you’d like to protect.

The essential oils of peppermint are even richer in scent and can be sprayed on wood and flying termites to help deter and eliminate them.

4. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Lemongrass can assist in repelling termites with its heavy fragrance. It can be used as a mulch to prevent termites from infesting garden beds. The use of lemongrass oils is also effective in controlling termites. Plant lemongrass in containers to combat its vigorous growth.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Containers

Origin: India

This lovely grass-like plant is extremely fragrant and is a great addition to a termite-free garden. However, it does tend to grow aggressively.

Because of this, it’s best to grow lemongrass in containers for easy movement and use its perfumes to help ward off termites. Its oils can also be used to help deter termites and prevent them from nesting.

To help combat termites, trim your lemongrass regularly and use the fragrant clippings as mulch to ensure termites do not infest your garden.

However, be sure to gather the mulch after its fragrance disappears and starts to decompose.

Termites feed on dead plant material and may be attracted to decaying lemongrass, which no longer contain as much of its repelling oils.

5. Iris (Iris hexagona)

Because of its ability to attract dragonflies, irises are useful in controlling and repelling termites. Dragonflies are a natural predator to flying termites and will eat a fifth of their body weight in termites per day.

Repelling Mechanism: Attractive to predatory bugs

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: North America

With dainty blue and purple blooms, you might be wondering how this plant can help you keep away termites.

Although it is a bulb plant, irises can stand in up to 5 inches (12.7 cm) of water and are highly attractive to dragonflies.

Flying termites are some of the worst pests that can invade homes. Thankfully, dragonflies are known to feed on these exact insects.

Dragonflies Can Catch Up to 95% of Termites and Other Bugs They Hunt
Dragonflies Can Catch Up to 95% of Termites and Other Bugs They Hunt

To attract dragonflies, consider creating a koi pond! Read the best plants for koi ponds.

By growing pretty flowers and attracting more dragonflies to eat termites, you get to hit two birds with one stone.

6. Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

The leaves and essential oils of tea tree are heavily scented with a fragrance that repels termites. Use tea tree oil as an organic insecticide and spray it on vulnerable wood to protect them from termites.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Australia

As the name suggests, this Australian plant normally grows as a tree or a shrub.

Oil glands can be found on tea tree leaves, making them extremely fragrant. But termites find their smell repulsive and will avoid them as much as possible.

Tea tree oil can be sprayed directly on termites to help kill them. Or you can use it to help treat wood, preventing them from being destroyed by termites.

Even if termite infestations are severe though, it’s best to grow this in a container for safety rather than plant it in the ground for termites to potentially kill by burrowing underground and destroying their roots.

7. Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Oregano is an aromatic herb that can be used to support chickens as predatory control against termites. Chickens eat termites and prevent them from infesting homes and gardens. Furthermore, oregano can repel termites with its scent.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil, fragrance, and attractive to predatory bugs

Best Grown in: Containers

Origin: Mediterranean

Another fragrant member of the mint family, this kitchen-friendly herb needs to be grown in containers to prevent it from spreading wildly.

Not only is oregano rich in fragrances that termites dislike, it is also attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Additionally, oregano can be used to help support and feed chickens. Chickens are known to peck at and eat termites for extra protein and will also eat a variety of other insects that may invade your property, like ants and ticks.

While you may have to protect some plants from the claws of free-roaming chickens, this method of controlling termites is quite effective and will even reward you with fresh eggs!

8. Garlic (Allium sativum)

Garlic is highly effective in dissuading termites and is commonly cultivated as an effective companion plant to prevent termite damage. The pungent smell of garlic and garlic oil can be used to repel termites.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Asia

You may not like the pungent smell of garlic but the good news is that neither do termites!

Farmers in Nigeria commonly grow garlic and neem as a way to repel termites and prevent them from disturbing their homes and crops.

Therefore, garlic can be grown as a useful companion plant in the garden to deter termites from infesting garden beds.

Garlic oil can also be used and combined with other oils that are more pleasant and fragrant, if you really can’t stand its smell.

9. Vetiver Grass (Chrysopogon zizanioides)

With deep root systems, vetiver grass is effective in repelling termites by preventing them from nesting underground. Vetiver oils are derived from vetiver grass roots and can be used to reduce termite numbers and prevent their destructive tunneling.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: India

Vetiver grass has a strong root system that grows downwards. This can be used against subterranean termites to help ensure they do not attempt to nest underground. It can even help prevent soil erosion!

If this isn’t helpful enough, vetiver oil, also known as khus oil, has also been confirmed to be a useful termite repellent due to the compound nootkatone.

Nootkatone not only helps eliminate termites, the smell also helps reduce their tunneling behaviors by repelling them!

Grow vetiver grass on lawns to help reduce termite populations in your home or grow it in a container so you can easily protect it from the cold.

10. Painted Daisies (Tanacetum coccineum)

Painted daisies have the unique ability to produce pyrethrins which are highly effective in repelling termites. Crushed flowers can be used to block termite nests and reduce termite numbers.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance and production of insecticide

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Europe

This colorful perennial is one of the world’s major producers of pyrethrin, an organic pesticide. It is commonly used against termites because it can kill termites and many other insects upon contact by targeting their nervous systems to paralyze them.

You can crush these flowers with a mortar and pestle and use them to block termite nests.

Although painted daisies are extremely useful against insects, they’re toxic to animals and their containing insecticide can cause rashes and loss of coordination if ingested.

11. Autumn Mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium)

Chrysanthemums contain large amounts of pyrethrin making it effective in repelling termites. Grow chrysanthemums in the ground to dissuade termites. However, it’s advisable to plant them in pots to keep them away from pets and children and prevent toxic consumption.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance and production of insecticide

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Asia

Similar to painted daisies, these gorgeous flowers produce their pyrethrin as well.

Most termites are completely blind and rely on their sense of smell; they will detect the chrysanthemum’s fragrance and will avoid it.

Enjoy their natural termite-repellent activities and grow these flowers in a pot or right in the ground to help ensure a termite-free home!

Keep this away from your pets and children, however, as these flowers are toxic to eat and might cause severe stomach pain.

12. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender is commonly cultivated for its potent aroma that termites find unappealing. Linalool, a natural compound found in lavender, can be used to help control and repel termites. Dragonflies are also attracted to lavender and can help consume termites.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil, fragrance, and attractive to predatory bugs

Best Grown in: Containers

Origin: Mediterranean

Often grown for its iconic soothing scent, lavender is another terrific plant that can be grown to keep away termites.

They are also attractive to dragonflies, which only serves as another bonus for this charming perennial for keeping pesky termites away from your home and garden.

Compounds known as linalool are responsible for lavenders’ strong fragrance and are much more concentrated in the essential oils of lavender.

Lavender oil has been confirmed to eradicate many termites. This is another great ingredient to use in anti-termite sprays, which we will go over right in the next section.

13. Neem (Azadirachta indica)

Neem trees, the source of neem oil, can be grown to help repel termites with their potent smells. Neem oil mixed with other concentrated oils can be used to control termites and inhibit the spread of termite tunnels.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: India

Home gardeners will be familiar with this one, for sure.

Neem oil, known for its helpful insect-repellent qualities for plants, can also be used for termite control!

This helpful plant is where neem oil is derived from and it is a part of the mahogany family.

You can grow neem plants in your yard or keep it indoors to admire as a fragrant dwarf tree and dissuade termites from nesting.

Neem leaves are also commonly kept in cupboards to repel insects, the same way bay leaves are used.

How to get rid of termites in a raised bed or garden
YouTube Video -How to Get Rid of Termites in a Raised Bed or Garden

Organic Termite Repellent

To make your very own homemade and natural lizard repellent, collect the following:

  1. 1 tablespoon of neem oil
  2. 20 drops of tea tree oil
  3. 20 drops of vetiver oil
  4. 10 drops of clove oil
  5. 10 drops of lavender oil
  6. 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid
  7. 1 gallon (3.79 L) of water

Combine all the ingredients until it’s well blended and fill up a spray bottle of your choice with the new mixture.

This powerful and fragrant solution can be sprayed around your home or garden to help control termites and stop them from damaging things further.

For maximum efficiency, be sure to use this spray during the night to help ensure it does not dry out in the sun and lasts longer.

You can reapply this after rain or whenever you see increased termite activity.


Do termites bite humans?

Termites prefer woody materials and do not actively seek out to attack and very rarely bite humans. Soldier termites may bite when handled but will not cause much harm, if any.

Do termites hurt plants?

Termites are detritivores, meaning they feed off only dead plant matter. Gardens are ideal for termites to nest in and invade, as they will feed off of decomposing matter. However, over time, termites will eventually feed on vegetables, plants, and even live trees. These plants will be hollowed out by termites and eventually wilt and die.

Summary of Plants That Repel Termites

Termites can cause significant damage to both homes and plants. There are some plants, however, that can help deter termites due to their fragrance, oils, or ability to produce organic pesticide chemicals.

Some plants that can help deter and repel termites are eucalyptus, catnip, peppermint, lemongrass, tea tree, garlic, vetiver grass, painted daisies, autumn mums, lavender, and neem. Iris and oregano can help attract predators like chickens and dragonflies.


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