19 Plants That Repel Ticks (Which Ones Do You Have?)

If you’ve ever felt anxious spending time outdoors in fear of being bitten by ticks, you’re not alone. To help provide protection, here’s a list of plants to repel ticks you can easily grow in your yard.

Plants that have proven to some extent to repel ticks by producing repellent compounds are:

  1. Lavender
  2. Rosemary
  3. Lemongrass
  4. Lemon Eucalyptus
  5. Peppermint
  6. Citronella grass
  7. Catmint
  8. Thyme
  9. Basil
  10. Garlic
  11. Chamomile
  12. Wormwood
  13. Pennyroyal
  14. Rue
  15. Painted daisies
  16. Sage
  17. American beautyberry
  18. Geranium
  19. Lemon balm

While spending time in nature can be a wonderful thing, it can certainly be worrying at times. Here are the 19 plants you can grow yourself to help create a safe and tick-free environment for yourself and your loved ones.

Are Ticks Attracted or Repelled by Specific Smells?

You need to know that ticks are arachnids and do not possess a sense of smell as we and all animals do. Ticks, being very similar to a spider, find a host through a process known as “questing,” where they crawl up vegetation, extend their front legs, and wait for a potential host to brush past them. They detect the presence of a host through their ability to sense heat, movement, and vibrations.

Ticks are attracted to their hosts by a combination of carbon dioxide, body heat, and certain odors emitted by mammals. They are particularly attracted to the smell of body odor, not because of the odor itself but rather because of the moisture and chemicals associated with warm-blooded animals. However, it is important to note that ticks do not possess a specific aversion or dislike towards any particular smell.

Having set this aside, let’s dive into the most common plants used to repel ticks.

1. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender is commonly grown for its tick-repelling aroma. Additionally, lavender oils can also be used in a highly effective spray and safely applied to the skin. Use lavender throughout the year by growing them in pots near grassy areas.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Containers

Origin: Mediterranean

Toxicity: Toxic to animals

Lavender has a sweet and lingering fragrance that is unpleasant for ticks and will help repel them. You can place these pots of lavender near bushy areas of your home to take full advantage of their aroma.

Lavender Flowers
B Seba (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Lavandula Angustifolia Flowers

However, ticks frequently live in areas dense with vegetation. Consider growing lavender in containers to help prevent ground-residing ticks from nesting there and help protect the plants from frost.

However, it may be best to keep lavender away from any pets. Any curious animal that ingests too much of this plant will experience gastro-intestinal issues that could lead to vomiting or diarrhea.

Lavender oil can be used as a natural deterrent to ticks and either rubbed into the skin or used in an all-powerful spray. How so? Continue reading to learn more about it!

2. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is a fragrant herb that can be grown to create a natural tick-free garden. Mix rosemary oil with other essential oils to repel ticks and cultivate the aromatic herb in pots near tables and entryways.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Germany or Europe

Toxicity: Non-toxic to animals and humans

A popular aromatic commonly used in the kitchen, rosemary may also be grown in the garden to help keep both ticks and fleas at bay. Ticks have a strong sense of smell that will find the scent of rosemary too overpowering.

This fragrant herb can be conveniently grown in pots where you and your loved ones spend the most time outside to naturally repel ticks.

Rosemary Flowers
Severin Ronald (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Rosemarinus Officinalis Flowers

Rosemary doesn’t usually survive particularly hard frosts, so our readers in colder climates may have to replant their rosemary if they choose to grow it in the ground.

Additionally, rosemary oil is commonly used as well. But be wary of directly applying this to the skin, as some people can have allergic reactions to it.

3. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Lemongrass can aid in preventing ticks by overpowering them with its pungent and lemon-based aroma. Grow this vigorous-growing plant in confined spaces or pots by walkways and doors to repel ticks.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Containers or confined spaces in the ground

Origin: India

Toxicity: Toxic to animals if ingested in large amounts

This plant has a warm, lemony perfume that many people find pleasing. Ticks, on the other hand, find the aroma of lemongrass off-putting.

With these two factors combined, lemongrass is an excellent plant to grow in the garden!

Lemongrass Leaves
Yves Burckel (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Cymbopogon Citratus Leaves

However, lemongrass tends to have an aggressive growth rate. So keep these scented grasses confined in containers to sleep in peace without fear of lemongrass invading your home.

Trim this plant regularly to release its strong scent in the air and help discourage desperate ticks from hiding in excessive growth.

4. Lemon Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus)

The oil of lemon eucalyptus has been used in commercial pesticides for many years. Grow this shrub by the perimeters of houses as a natural solution and utilize the oil of lemon eucalyptus as highly effective protection against ticks.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Asia

Toxicity: Toxic to animals and humans if ingested in large amounts

Lemon eucalyptus plants have a pleasant smell and can be grown as small trees by the entrances of your house.

The oils of lemon eucalyptus are also extremely effective in handling and deterring ticks due to their high concentration of para-menthane-3,8-diol, or PMD. This is an active compound that scientists have seen helped reduce tick bites by 90-95% for up to 6-8 hours.

Some commercially available repellents can be seen containing 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus as an active ingredient.

Eucalyptus Leaves
Billur Bahar (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Eucalyptus Camaldulensis Leaves

Now, although the plant itself may not be as potent as the oil of lemon eucalyptus, it is still an excellent candidate for a tick-repellent garden.

However, it’s important to note that lemon eucalyptus oil or lemongrass essential oil is not effective and cannot be used as a substitute.

Look for the “oil of lemon eucalyptus” instead, as this is a synthetic concentration that is much higher in PMD to help keep ticks at bay.

It’s confusing, I know, but try to look for this exact wording when using these oils in sprays!

5. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

Because peppermint has such a strong odor, peppermint can be grown to help repel ticks. Grow this plant in shady areas and spray its potent oils outdoors to prevent ticks.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best grown in: Containers

Origin: Europe

Toxicity: Toxic to animals if ingested in large amounts

Peppermint, different from spearmint, has a ridiculously strong aroma that ticks will feel overwhelmed by and will try to avoid.

But because peppermint has such a strong scent, even some humans have been known to keep their distance. So use this carefully!

Peppermint Leaves
Lluis Pons Garcia (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Mentha x Piperita Leaves

Ticks have a habit of hiding in shady places to escape the harsh sun, so consider growing shade-tolerant peppermint in these same places.

Grow this member of the mint family in pots to prevent them from competing with other plants. Its oils also make a great ingredient in sprays to help repel ticks and even wasps.

Try to be sure the family pet does not eat too much peppermint leaves, however, as it can lead to vomiting.

DIY Peppermint Tick Repellent

Simply fill up a 32-ounce (946.35 mL) bottle with water and a quarter to half a cup of dishwashing liquid.

Mix in 20 drops of peppermint oil.

Shake with every use, and you can use this solution to spray areas and plants you wish to protect from ticks.

6. Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)

Citronella grass can assist in repelling ticks. Its leaves can be trimmed regularly to release its fragrances in the air and its oils can be included in natural anti-tick sprays.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Containers

Origin: Asia

Toxicity: Toxic to animals and humans if ingested in large amounts

If you’re a fan of sweet and citrusy scents, you’ll like this next one!

Citronella grass has a strong scent that ticks will be suffocated by. Because citronella tends to grow quite wildly, it might be best to keep them as container plants in the brighter areas of your garden.

Citronella Grass Leaves
Valero Omar (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Cymbopogon Nardus Leaves

Citronella oil is another great component you can use as an all-natural deterrent spray that will deter ticks.

These powerful smelling oils are derived from citronella grass, which you can plant yourself to help discourage those unwanted arachnids.

Trim this fast-growing plant often to help release its fruity scents that ticks find unpleasant.

7. Catmint (Nepeta cataria)

Catmint plants contain chemicals known as nepetalactone that can aid in deterring ticks. Nepetalactone Grow catmint around active areas of the yard to repel ticks with the fragrance.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Europe

Toxicity: Non-toxic to animals and humans

Catmint and catnip are both members of the Nepeta genus but are separate plants, so keep this in mind.

The natural chemical nepetalactone can typically be found in the essential oils of catmint and is known for its ability to help ward off insects such as mosquitos and ticks.

Catmint Flowers
Ma Burg (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Nepeta Cataria Flowers

Like most of the plants on this list, catmint has its unique fragrance that ticks will find unattractive. You can cut this plant often to help release said aroma but while this will help keep ticks away, it’ll help attract all the cats as well!

You can grow this natural tick repellent all around your garden to help keep you and your loved ones safe, including your pets.

8. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme is an aromatic herb that can be used to help repel ticks using its fragrance. Additionally, thyme can be planted to support and utilize chickens as predatory control against ticks by actively consuming them.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance and attractive to predatory animals

Best Grown in: Containers

Origin: Southwestern Europe

Toxicity: Non-toxic to animals and humans

While you can certainly take advantage of this plant’s aroma and plant it all around your home, there’s actually another way to use this plant!

Thyme Flowers
Atie (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Thymus Vulgaris Flowers

For an alternative way to help manage tick infestations in your garden, consider growing thyme to help raise chickens.

It has been said that chickens can consume an average of 80 ticks per hour, which is perfect for severe tick issues.

YouTube Video – Grow an Entire Herb Garden for Your Chickens

While they may be quite noisy at times, free-roaming chickens can help control severe tick populations by actively pecking at any tick they see and eating them.

Chickens can be quite enthusiastic in their search for bugs, scratching away at the dirt and pecking at vegetation.

You’ll need to be careful that these chickens don’t damage any other plants in your garden by using chicken wire or stacking rocks and bricks to discourage them from digging at tender plants.

9. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

For an effective tick-resistant plant, basil can be grown to emit powerful fragrances to repel ticks. Basil is commonly grown in containers and can be kept outdoors or used as an oil to combat adult ticks.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Containers

Origin: Asia

Toxicity: Non-toxic to animals and humans

Basil is a great insect-repelling plant that can thrive in a variety of conditions and is a popular choice among many garden owners.

It is also an excellent container plant that can easily be grown. Furthermore, basil essential oils are extremely effective against adult ticks and can be used in an all-natural spray.

Basil Leaves
Jacques Zuber (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Ocimum Basilicum Leaves

The great thing is you may already have some basil plants growing in your kitchen that you can use to help keep ticks away!

If this is the case, you’re probably familiar with the various, potent aromas that basil leaves give off that many ticks will find repulsive.

10. Garlic (Allium sativum)

An odorous member of the onion family, garlic is highly effective in dissuading ticks. Strategically place garlic bulbs near grassy areas and use their pungent odors to repel any ticks in hiding. Garlic oil can be used combined with other ingredients to create a more pleasant and powerful anti-tick spray.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Asia

Toxicity: Non-toxic to animals and humans

Garlic is already one of my favorite plants to grow and cook with, so the fact that this can be used to help combat ticks makes this plant all the more valuable.

It is known for its incredibly pungent fragrance. Ticks have an incredible sense of smell and search for their hosts using a unique feature called “The Haller’s organ” on their forelegs to help them pick up certain scents.

Garlic Leaves
Sandoval Igelmo Santiago (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Allium Sativum Leaves

So if you were to grow generous amounts of garlic within the areas you commonly spot ticks, you’d effectively repel them with the garlicky odor. And possibly other people, too.

If the thought of using garlic plants or garlic oil straight is too much, though, that’s fine!

You can opt to use garlic oils combined with other, more pleasant-smelling essential oils to spray around your home or bring with you outside.

11. Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

Chamomile is commonly cultivated for its heavily perfumed aromas and oils to combat ticks and can be grown in a wide range of conditions. Use chamomile as a sufficient tick-resistant plant and grow them by walkways or fences.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance and oil

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Europe or Western Asia

Toxicity: Toxic to animals and humans if ingested in large amounts

Not only is chamomile a soothing plant used in teas and herbal remedies, but you can also grow chamomile at home to help repel ticks.

This popular member of the daisy family can be grown in containers indoors or used as an attractive plant outdoors.

Chamomile Flowers
Michał Maciążek (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Chamaemelum Nobile Flowers

Alternatively, consider using chamomile oil for its effective tick-repelling properties as well as its calming scents!

Its relaxing aromas are usually released whenever its foliage is damaged, so chamomile can be grown by walkways where both people and hungry ticks may frequent.

12. Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)

Wormwood typically emits powerful aromas that ticks are unable to tolerate but it must only be handled with gloves. Additionally, wormwood is highly effective in repelling tick-infested deer and can further help reduce the number of ticks seen in the yard.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Europe or Asia

Toxicity: Toxic to animals and humans if ingested in large amounts

This vibrant perennial is commonly grown in gardens to help deter a variety of different creatures, including ticks. Their silvery-green stems have a light but striking fragrance.

You can grow wormwood without any worry of it taking over the garden and help dissuade ticks from crawling too close to your home.

Wormwood Leaves
Ruddy BENEZET (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Artemisia Absinthium Leaves

Keep your gloves on while handling this plant to avoid potential contact dermatitis.

Another major benefit to growing wormwood?

This plant is fantastic at keeping deer away as well, which can act as great potential hosts and carriers for ticks.

Check out our article here on plants that repel deer.

13. Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)

Pennyroyal can be grown as a highly effective tool to deter ticks. Tick-repelling compounds like acaricides can be found in pennyroyal and its oils. However, pennyroyal oils are highly toxic. Consumption and contact with the skin must be avoided at all times.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Containers

Origin: Mediterranean

Toxicity: Toxic to animals and humans if ingested in large amounts

Pennyroyal is an attractive, flowering herb with a long history in ancient folk remedies. These remedies have long been halted due to their deadly effects; however, this plant can still be of great use!

Scientists have found high numbers of acaricides in pennyroyal, which is a chemical known to eliminate arachnids like mites and ticks.

Pennyroyal Flowers
Agaath Bosma (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Mentha Pulegium Flowers

On account of this, pennyroyal can be a great candidate for the natural tick-repellent garden.

Pennyroyal oil may also be used as an effective insecticide but must be handled with great caution. Ingestion of pennyroyal as well as direct contact can be harmful, so always use gloves when handling this plant and its oils.

14. Rue (Ruta graveolens)

Rue is a highly effective repellent against ticks due to its distinct and powerful scent that even cats find unpleasant. Prevent cats from disturbing chickens, which are helpful predators against ticks, by encircling chicken yards with rue.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Europe

Toxicity: Toxic to animals and humans if ingested in large amounts

If you’ve been combating unwanted insects like ticks and many other animals for a while now, you’ve probably encountered the rue plant more than a few times. This is for good reason, I promise!

You see, rue is an evergreen and semi-woody herb with its own unique and repelling scent. Keep ticks from drawing close by planting rue around your yard.

Rue Flowers
Dominique Wernert (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Ruta Graveolens Flowers

But you can take this a step further!

Cats typically find the smell of rue overwhelming. If you decide to raise chickens to further control tick populations, rue plants can also help ensure cats do not cross over and potentially harm the chickens.

This is a great plant that can be grown in containers or planted in the ground outdoors.

15. Painted Daisies (Tanacetum coccineum)

Due to their ability to produce pyrethrins, painted daisies are highly effective plants to repel ticks. Although painted daisies can be grown in pots or outside flower beds, they must be handled with gloves and kept away from children and pets to avoid poisoning.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Europe

Toxicity: Toxic to animals and humans if ingested in large amounts

Aside from being a colorful addition to any home, painted daisies are wonderful plants that have their unique ability to produce compounds called pyrethrins.

The usage of pyrethrins can be commonly seen in many commercial insecticides and are highly useful in controlling and eradicating ticks.

Painted Daisy Flowers
Jacques Zuber (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Tanacetum Coccineum Flowers

This daisy makes a great natural insecticide, although they must be kept away from curious pets and children to ensure the pyrethrins are not consumed. Ingestion of pyrethrins can lead to difficulties in breathing and nausea.

Grow these rich flowers in pots to enjoy their natural tick-repellent activities all year long or outside in the summer to help create a safe and tick-free environment!

16. Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Powerfully scented sage plants can be grown in pots and positioned near doors and outdoor faucets or hoses to repel unseen ticks. Alternatively, the use of sage oils is commonly seen in anti-tick sprays and can be made at home.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Containers

Origin: Europe

Toxicity: Non-toxic to animals and humans

Another strongly fragrant herb that can be grown to help prevent ticks is sage.

Sage is a great low-growing plant that can be kept around the areas where you and your loved ones frequent the most.

Sage Flowers
Laysen (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Salvia Officinalis Flowers

Ticks are surprisingly patient arachnids that can be found waiting for hosts near outdoor faucets and doors. Not a comforting thought, so grow sage in multiple pots to help discourage these hungry pests or consider using a sage-infused spray.

17. American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

American beautyberries can be grown to assist in repelling ticks. Chemicals like spathulenol can be extracted from this plant’s foliage and stem to help eliminate ticks and their nymphs and effectively lower their populations.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: Central USA

Toxicity: Non-toxic to animals and humans

A strange and alluring plant, the American beautyberry has been confirmed by scientists to contain useful chemicals like spathulenol that are effective against ticks.

Spathulenol can also be found in many other essential oils, which are so frequently praised for their abilities to repel insects and ticks.

American Beautyberries Fruit
Luc (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Callicarpa Americana Flowers

This chemical is extracted from the leaves and stems of American beautyberries, so you may trim this adaptive plant frequently to help release these chemicals and their fragrance.

American beautyberries aren’t known to be toxic, meaning you can safely grow this at home without worrying about your pets getting too curious!

18. Geranium (Geranium carolinianum)

Because geraniums contain potent oils that ticks find unpleasant, they can effectively be grown in yards to help repel ticks. Grow geraniums in outdoor pots or use them in flowerbeds.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil

Best Grown in: Ground or containers

Origin: North America

Toxicity: Toxic to animals and humans if ingested in large amounts

Not only are geraniums pretty, but they’re also useful! You can grow these around the areas you spend the most time in, like near pools and balconies for added protection and decor.

Additionally, because the oils inside are much more efficient at deterring ticks and eliminating their nymphs, the use of geranium oil is also extremely effective.

Geranium Flowers
Gayle Judkins (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Geranium Carolinianum Flowers

Combine this oil with other compounds like rosemary oil, lavender, and the oil of lemon eucalyptus for an all-natural spray against ticks to use outdoors.

DIY Mixed-Plants Tick Repellent

To create an easy and incredible anti-tick spray at home, you can use the following ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup of water
  2. 1 teaspoon of glycerin
  3. 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol
  4. 30 drops of geranium essential oil
  5. 30 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil
  6. 15 drops of pennyroyal essential oil
  7. 10 drops of citronella essential oil
  8. 10 drops of rosemary essential oil
  9. 10 drops of lavender essential oil

Mix all of these potent components with 32 ounces of (946.35 mL) of warm water for an all-natural solution that will greatly help lower the presence of ticks in your yard.

DIY Natural Mosquito & Tick Repellent | Works Amazing, Smells Great, Long Lasting
YouTube Video – DIY Natural Tick Repellent

Some ingredients may be swapped out but it is highly recommended to use geranium oil, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and pennyroyal for the most success.

You can use this solution to spray around areas of your home or use it to treat your shoes, bags, and clothes and even bring it with you outside!

19. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm is a suitable tick-repellent plant because of its citrusy fragrance. Moreover, these plants do not require much effort and can be planted in pots around doors and outdoor tables to keep ticks at bay.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance

Best Grown in: Containers

Origin: Southern Europe

Toxicity: Non-toxic to animals and humans

Although this plant is commonly confused with catnip and mint, lemon balm is a great and easy-growing plant with even greater scents that ticks find unfavorable.

Lemon Balm Leaves
Jean-Philippe STEINMANN (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Melissa Officinalis Leaves

Grow this member of the mint family in a container to prevent it from growing wild and place it by your front door or wherever you commonly sit to help protect yourself.

Unlike other plants, lemon balm oil can often be expensive and difficult to purchase. As an alternative, lemon balm leaves can be safely rubbed all over your skin as well as your pets.

What are the natural tick enemies?

Natural tick enemies are spiders, ants, beetles, insectivorous birds, and some specific mammals. Indeed:

  1. Spiders: Spiders are known for their predatory nature, and many species of spiders feed on ticks. They catch ticks in their webs or actively hunt them, helping to reduce tick numbers in their habitats.
  2. Ants: Certain species of ants are natural predators of ticks. They feed on tick eggs, larvae, and nymphs, helping to keep their populations in check.
  3. Beetles: Some beetles, such as ground beetles, are known to consume ticks at various life stages. These beetles are often found in grassy and wooded areas where ticks thrive.
  4. Insectivorous birds: Birds like thrushes, wrens, and warblers are insectivorous and feed on a variety of insects, including ticks. By including these birds in your environment, you create a natural balance that aids in tick control.
  5. Mammals: Various small mammals, such as shrews, mice, and squirrels, are known to prey on ticks. They help manage tick populations by consuming them as part of their natural diet.

It’s important to note that while these insects and animals contribute to tick control, their impact alone may not be sufficient to eliminate ticks entirely. Implementing multiple preventive measures, such as tick repellents, regular tick checks, and proper landscaping practices, is crucial for effective tick management.

Are tick-repellent plants safe for dogs?

The safety of certain plants for dogs largely depends on what type of plant it is. There are many pet-friendly tick-repellent plants available, such as rosemary, thyme, basil, garlic, sage, American beautyberries, and lemon balm.

Do plants attract ticks?

The plants themselves are not what ticks find attractive, but rather the moist and shady environments that plants can provide them. Japanese barberries, for instance, are often infested with ticks for these reasons.

Summary of Plants That Repel Ticks

The most effective tick-resistant plants are those that are either fragrant, attractive to predatory animals like chickens, and/or contain useful anti-tick chemicals and oils.

Plants that have these tick-repelling benefits are lavender, rosemary, lemongrass, lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, citronella grass, catmint, thyme, basil, garlic, chamomile, wormwood, pennyroyal, rue, painted daisies, sage, American beautyberry, geranium, and lemon balm.


Similar Posts