14 Plants That Repel Wasps (With Photos!)

While they’re helpful for our plants and our environment, wasps can be a terrifying sight. Here are a few plants that you can grow to help repel wasps and keep them away from your home.

There are 14 plants that will most likely repel wasps:

  1. Spearmint
  2. Peppermint
  3. Wormwood
  4. Sage
  5. Citronella Grass
  6. Lemongrass
  7. Pennyroyal
  8. Chamomile
  9. Thyme
  10. Lavender
  11. Epazote
  12. Lemon Balm
  13. Clove
  14. Purple Pitcher Plants

It’s not uncommon to see wasps outside—you may even like them due to how helpful they are in eating invasive pests in the garden. But once you start seeing them in your home, it can be an issue. Luckily, there are some plants you can grow yourself to help keep them away!

1. Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Spearmint’s strong fragrance can be useful to help repel wasps. Due to this plant’s rapid growth rate, however, it should be grown in pots and placed indoors by windows and entryways. Additionally, spearmint oil can be utilized to create spray repellents.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best grown in: Containers

Size: 1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

Origin: Europe

Spearmint is a popular aromatic that you can use to help keep wasps away. Wasps have an acute sense of smell that they use to hunt for food and even communicate. You can use this to your advantage and plant powerful smelling plants such as spearmint.

While mint seems to have originated from Europe, it is now very commonly grown in North America. However, this plant has an extremely aggressive growth rate.

Mentha Spicata Leaves
Norbert Fries (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Mentha Spicata Leaves

To prevent it from overtaking your neighborhood, you can plant spearmint in pots and place them inside by your window or near entrances. You may also use this in sprays to repel wasps, including other essential oils.

DIY Spearmint Wasp Repellent

Thoroughly mix about 1 teaspoon of spearmint oil with 32 ounces (946.35 mL) of water. Due to how potent the smell of spearmint oil is, decide how much of it you want to use in your solution.

Spearmint and Other Essential Oils Can Make an Effective Spray
Spearmint and Other Essential Oils Can Make an Effective Spray

Once this solution is properly mixed, you can spray along the corners of your house and wherever else you suspect wasps may hide. You can respray this solution after rain to ensure it doesn’t get washed off.

However, it is recommended to use not just one essential oil, but multiple. Studies have shown a combination of essential oils, like peppermint and citronella, can greatly help reduce the presence of wasps.

2. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

Peppermint has a powerful scent that can help in controlling wasps. Grow it in shady corners where wasps may attempt to hide and enter. Its oil may also be mixed with dishwashing liquid to produce a repellent spray.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best grown in: Containers

Size: 1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

Origin: Europe

Peppermint is sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably with spearmint, but this is truly a completely different herb. More specifically, it is a hybrid between spearmint and wintermint.

Commonly used against wasps, peppermint makes an effective wasp deterrent, thanks to its strong aroma.

Mentha x Piperita Leaves
Don Whittemore (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Mentha x Piperita Leaves

This plant is more tolerant of the shade compared to some other plants, and only needs about three hours of sunlight a day. This makes it a great choice to grow in pots and leave them in the shadier corners of your yard and home, or left in dim windowsills.

DIY Peppermint Wasp Repellent

To make a simple spray against wasps, fill up a 32-ounce (946.35 mL) bottle with water and a quarter to half a cup of dishwashing liquid.

How To Get Rid Of Wasps Naturally
YouTube Video – How to Get Rid of Wasps Naturally

Mix in around 20 drops of peppermint oil and shake the bottle thoroughly. You can spray the wasps directly with this solution or spray areas you wish to protect.

3. Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)

Wormwood plants are fragrant and toxic upon consumption which can aid in keeping wasps away from homes. Use wormwood in landscapes and flower beds to help ward off wasps and prevent them from flying too close.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance and poison

Best grown in: Ground or containers

Size: 2-5 feet (60-152 cm)

Origin: Europe or Asia

I know a fellow gardener that uses wormwood to repel wasps and says it works very well. Its stems and leaves are fragrant and smell similar to sage, but it is also suggested that wasps avoid this due to how toxic this plant is when eaten.

This is because wormwood contains an oil that can be poisonous, so be sure to wear gloves when handling this.

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

This plant can be grown in containers for the sake of convenience. But unlike the previous two plants, wormwood can also be used directly in flower beds and can be found in many landscapes without the worry of it growing too aggressively.

Strategically grow and place wormwood around your home to help keep the wasps at bay.

4. Sage (Salvia officinalis)

To help fight off wasps, sage can be grown in hanging pots to deter wasps from nesting in nearby establishments. However, the use of sage oil has a higher efficiency rate against wasps and can be used in sprays.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best grown in: Containers

Size: 3 feet (91 cm)

Origin: Europe

Sage is another powerfully scented herb that can be grown to repel wasps. However, this plant doesn’t grow very tall and usually only reaches 3 feet (0.91 m) high.

You can dissuade them from moving and nesting too close to your home by growing your sage in hanging pots and hanging them high for wasps to smell. If this can’t be done, you may also place it next to your windows to help prevent wasps from flying in.

Sage Flowers
Christian Scott-Heal (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Salvia Officinalis Flowers

This makes a great option if you don’t wish to use sprays too often. However, homemade sprays containing sage oil have a much stronger effect on wasps than the regular plant.

DIY Sage Wasp Repellent

If sage oil is not available, you may also soak at least 10 sprigs of dried sage in 32 ounces (946.35 mL) of water for 1-2 weeks to make a fragrant repellant.

Burning sprigs of sage at home or outdoor events is also an option, and it’ll smell lovely too!

5. Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)

Citronella grass has been confirmed to be beneficial in repelling wasps by releasing strongly scented oils into the air. Foliage may be trimmed regularly to help release the aroma. Citronella oil can be directly used in sprays to prevent wasps.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best grown in: Containers or confined spaces inground

Size: 2-4 feet (60-91 cm)

Origin: Asia

You might be worried about using a fruity scent like citronella, but studies have shown that the smell of citronella can be a useful deterrent for wasps.

However, be cautious when looking for this plant to grow. Many plants are sold under the name of “citronella plants” or “scented geraniums”, with crinkled-looking foliage.

While they do exude a similar fragrance, they are not the true source of citronella oil. Citronella oil is derived from citronella grass, an entirely different plant that originated in Asia.

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

Citronella grass grows rampantly, so it’s safer to grow them in pots and place them in full sun. The oil is what keeps wasps away, so you can help release this by disturbing the leaves like through bruising or cutting.

Of course, only do this if you have an abundance of this, or have plants that are more established and can handle frequent foliage disturbances.

DIY Citronella Wasp Repellent

Alternatively, you can use citronella oil as a more potent way of repelling wasps, and pour about 1 teaspoon of the oil in 32 ounces (946.35 mL) of water to make a sweet-scented spray.

Citronella leaves may also be burned to help release their aroma.

6. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Due to its pungent aroma, lemongrass can assist in controlling wasps. This plant can be used as a border for landscaping purposes or grown in pots to prevent aggressive growth.

Repelling Mechanism: Oil and fragrance

Best grown in: Containers or confined spaces inground

Size: 2-4 feet (60-91 cm)

Origin: India

Lemongrass has an incredibly strong scent, and its oils and fragrance can be great tools for keeping wasps away. Originally from India, lemongrass grows in abundant clusters and may grow a little too aggressively for some people.

Lemongrass Leaves
Zanil Narsing (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Cymbopogon Citratus Leaves

You can plant these in pots and place them by doors and windows to help deter wasps. This plant does not have any flowers, so you don’t have to worry about it attracting anything.

7. Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)

Pennyroyal can be grown to help turn away wasps by using its strong, minty scents. To prevent it from growing aggressively, pennyroyal should be grown in pots indoors. Pennyroyal oils may also be used to create a natural insecticide.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance or oil

Best grown in: Containers

Size: 1.25 feet (38.1 cm)

Origin: Mediterranean

Pennyroyal has been noted to help keep wasps away due to its rich fragrance resembling spearmint. You can grow entire containers full of pennyroyal and trim it often to help release its scent in the air.

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

Like mint, pennyroyal is an aggressive grower and is even labeled invasive in California. It’s not recommended to plant them directly into the ground, so feel free to grow them in pots inside.

DIY Pennyroyal Wasp Repellent

The essential oils of pennyroyal may be used to help keep wasps away. Stir or shake a teaspoon of pennyroyal oil in with 32 ounces (946.35 mL) of water to create a spray.

8. Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

Chamomile flowers produce a heavy fragrance that wasps find overwhelming. It can be grown in containers or grown outside for an attractive groundcover. Chamomile oil may also be used in sprays or steams to help repel wasps.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance and oil

Best grown in: Ground or containers

Size: 3-5 inches (7-10 cm)

Origin: Europe or Western Asia

Chamomile grows daisy-like flowers that release a fragrance that is pleasant to us but unpleasant to wasps. This is an excellent choice for those in hotter areas.

You can grow this in a container if you have limited space or use this as a border plant outside. Its soothing scents are released whenever foliage is bruised, so you can use this as a gentle groundcover where movement is frequent.

Chamomile Flowers
Christine Meunier (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Chamaemelum Nobile Flowers

While chamomile is pretty much safe to handle, it may cause contact dermatitis for those with allergies. Be wary of pets ingesting this as this may lead to vomiting.

DIY Chamomile Wasp Repellent

Chamomile oil may also be included in sprays, steams, or used in candles to help fill the air with its fragrance.

Mix about 20 drops or 1 teaspoon of chamomile oil with 32 ounces (946.35 mL) of water and shake well to create a natural wasp repellent.

It has also been noted that chamomile oil is soothing for wasp stings, but medical attention should always be called first if stings are severe or allergies are prominent!

9. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

The fragrance of thyme plants can assist in deterring wasps. Thyme grows vigorously and is best grown in containers, and can even be planted in hanging pots to better repel any nearby flying wasps.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance

Best grown in: Containers

Size: 6-12 inches (15-30 cm)

Origin: Southwestern Europe

It may be a surprise, but thyme is another herb commonly used in cooking that you can use to help prevent wasps. It is extremely aromatic and is best grown in pots that can be moved wherever you’d like wasps to keep their distance.

Thyme can also be grown by walkways but some folks consider this a persistent grower that they find difficult to control.

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

As an added measure, you may even choose to grow thyme in hanging pots to further repel unwanted flying insects. Dried bunches of thyme may also be tied and hung by windows or burned outdoors.

10. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender can be grown to help control wasps and placed directly in the ground as an aromatic hedge. Since this plant is not frost-hardy, however, it is ideal to grow them in pots or utilize its essential oils in natural insecticides or humidifiers.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance and oil

Best grown in: Containers or ground

Size: 10-23 inches (27 to 60 cm)

Origin: Mediterranean

There are many varieties of lavender available but the English variety is most commonly used and should help keep wasps at bay with its sweet scent.

Lavender Flowers
Pierre Kurzenne (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Lavandula Angustifolia Flowers

Lavender can be used as a low hedge and grown directly in the ground. If it is left out in cold temperatures, it may not survive. So growing lavender in pots is an excellent choice and can be placed anywhere you wish to prevent wasps from entering.

DIY Lavender Wasp Repellent

The essential oils of lavender also make an appealing choice ingredient to use in sprays or even in humidifiers to fill the air with a pleasing aroma that wasps will find overwhelming.

To make a lavender wasp repellent, simply mix about 1 teaspoon of lavender oil with 32 ounces (946.35 mL) of water.

11. Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides)

Epazote can be grown as a useful companion plant to confuse nearby wasps. Due to its strong odors, epazote can help mask other scents and prevent them from inviting wasps. However, this plant may inhibit the growth of other plants nearby and should only be grown in containers and used as a last resort.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance

Best grown in: Containers

Size: 2-4 feet (60-120 cm)

Origin: South America

Epazote, also known as Jesuit’s tea, has a powerful smell that can help protect nearby plants from inviting wasps and insects. This plant has a unique odor, although it is not very pleasant, so perhaps only use this as a last resort.

Plants with flowers would be appealing to wasps and may only invite them, so epazote can be grown nearby to help mask their more alluring scents and confuse potential insects. Its green flowers should also be snipped to prevent them from attracting other insects.

Epazote Leaves
Alex Arriaza (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Dysphania Ambrosioides Leaves

Epazote grows and spreads very quickly and even contains a compound that may inhibit the growth of other plants, so it would be best to grow this perennial strictly in containers and only in small amounts.

This is an edible herb commonly used in Mexican cuisine and is completely safe to eat. But it’s best to avoid eating large amounts of epazote, as this can be poisonous.

12. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Growing lemon balm is a common plant used for repelling wasps. Due to the plant’s relations to mint, it is best to strictly keep lemon balm in containers and leave them outside where wasps may fly. Lemon balm oil can be used but may be costly due to its rarity.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance or oil

Best grown in: Containers

Size: 2-3 feet (60-91 cm)

Origin: Southern Europe

Like its other members of the mint family, lemon balm has been known to help attract bees while also repelling wasps with its prominent scent.

Lemon Balm Leaves
Xavier Touzeau (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Melissa Officinalis Leaves

Lemon balm can spread and grow at an almost frightening rate, so you can easily grow multiple bushes of this plant in numerous containers. Leave them outside or hang them up by windows and wasps should detect its classic lemony aroma and stay away from it.

DIY Lemon Balm Wasp Repellent

Lemon balm produces very little oil per plant (only 0.014% from fresh lemon balm leaves) so finding a pure bottle of lemon balm oils may be expensive. Consider making hydrosols with its leaves instead.

You can make hydrosols at home by simply gathering a large and deep stock pot, a heavy bowl, a heat-resistant container to catch the hydrosols, lemon balm, and ice cubes.

  1. Place your heavy bowl turned upside down on the bottom of the stock pot to act as a raised platform for your hydrosol catcher.
  2. Place your heat-resistant container on top and surround it with trimmed lemon balm.
  3. Cover the lemon balm with water.
  4. Place the lid of the pot upside down on top of the pot, with the handle directly above your heat-resistant container.
  5. Place a large amount of ice cubes on top of the upside down lid.
  6. Leave the water to simmer for about an hour and a half, or until you feel the lemon balm has been fully drained of its valuable nutrients.
  7. Collect the liquid in the heat-resistant catcher and use it as your new hydrosol! You can use this new hydrosol to spray the inside of your home with to keep wasps out, or use it outdoors.

13. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

Planting clove trees can help deter wasps. Buying an established clove tree and placing it outside is more effective than growing it by seed due to its 4-6 year growth period. Clove oil can also be combined with other essential oils to create a natural, but powerful wasp-repellent spray.

Repelling Mechanism: Fragrance and oil

Best grown in: Ground or containers

Size: 24-60 feet (7-18 m)

Origin: Indonesia

This tropical evergreen can help keep the wasps away by the use of its oil and aroma. Oil glands can be found on the underside of its leaves and its stems alone are fragrant.

This plant can be grown directly from seed but take note it can take at least 4-6 years for its flowers to bloom and produce its potent oil. Consider buying an established clove tree to skip the wait. You can grow this directly in the ground or use a container.

Clove Flowers
Andrew Gagg (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Syzygium Aromaticum Flowers

You may also buy clove oil and mix it with the other essential oils we’ve mentioned above to create a powerful spray.

DIY Mixed-Plants Wasp Repellent

To create an even stronger wasp-repellent at home, you can use 1 teaspoon of each of the essential oils of spearmint, peppermint, sage, citronella, lemongrass, pennyroyal, chamomile, thyme, lavender, lemon balm, and clove.

Mix this in 32 ounces of (946.35 mL) of water with 1 cup of dishwashing liquid for a solution that will help significantly lower the presence of wasps.

14. Purple Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia purpurea)

Purple pitcher plants can be used to help control wasps. Grow in containers outside to allow the pitcher plants to lure and digest wasps. Carnivorous plants, however, must be used with caution, as they may eat helpful lifeforms in the garden such as bees.

Repelling Mechanism: Trapping mechanism

Best grown in: Containers

Size: 10-12 inches (25-30 cm)

Origin: USA or Canada

And last but not least, these purple pitcher plants can be grown as a second line of defense by eating any unfortunate wasps or insects that fly past all your other wasp-repelling shrubs and herbs.

Purple pitcher plants are carnivorous plants and have a fascinating technique of attracting prey with nectar and trapping them in their juglike cavities. Any wasps trapped by these plants will drown in a digestive liquid inside and slowly be digested.

Purple Pitcher Leaves
Kurt Waber (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Sarracenia Purpurea Leaves

Because pitcher plants are normally found in damp and nutrient-poor terrains like swamps, it may be better to grow them in containers outside.

Take note, however, that carnivorous plants like these usually do not discriminate, and may eat other lifeforms that are beneficial to your garden, like bees.

How Do Wasps Enter the House?

In general, wasps can typically infiltrate homes by flying inside doors and windows that have been left open. Wasps will also often enter houses through vents and fireplaces, in search of food and shelter.

Despite what many people may say, wasps are actually not bad insects. Not only are they incredibly helpful for our ecosystem, they’re helpful to you and your plants. How? Wasps can help eat many of the pests that you encounter in the garden!

YouTube Video – Wasps Saved My Orchard

However, it can be startling to see a wasp inside your home, especially if you have allergies or if you have loved ones living with you.

When temperatures start to rise, it’s not uncommon for us to leave our doors and windows open to try to bring in cooler air. Unless we have screens in place, this is the most common way wasps can enter our homes.

Wasps Are More Likely to Fly Inside Homes in Spring and Summer
Wasps Are More Likely to Fly Inside Homes in Spring and Summer

Wasps, like yellowjackets or hornets, are much bigger than bees and mosquitoes and are therefore stronger fliers. Oftentimes, they will slip in through fireplaces, exhaust fans, or even unnoticed vents or openings, in search of food or a new place to nest.


Do wasps bite people?

Wasps typically do not bite people. If a wasp is provoked or feels threatened, its main act of defense is to use their stinger. Unlike bees, wasps keep their stinger and can sting people and animals multiple times.

Can wasps harm plants?

Wasps are not harmful to plants. In reality, wasps are beneficial insects and are frequently used as natural predators to consume other insects that damage plants, such as aphids, caterpillars, and spiders.

Summary of Plants That Repel Wasps

Wasps are helpful for the environment and are not inherently bad. However, there are plants that can be useful in deterring wasps and preventing them from nesting too close to man-made establishments.

Plants that can repel wasps would include spearmint, peppermint, wormwood, sage, citronella grass, lemongrass, penny royal, chamomile, thyme, lavender, epazote, lemon balm, clove, and purple pitcher plants.


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