8 Plants That Repel Gnats – Repellent Herbs

Are there plants that repel gnats? Yes. Here are some examples of herbs that deter these insect pests.

You don’t want gnats in your home, your garden, or anywhere around you. Gnats are one of those tiny pests that love to stay around.

If they are in your home, it’s big trouble, and when they are in your garden, your vegetation is as good as gone.

Herbs And Plants That Repel Gnats

This tiny winged pest breeds well in any decompose humid matter. Their larvae survive on the fungi that grow in the soil. Worse still, they also eat plant’s tissues in the root of your crops.

As long as there is humidity, gnats will continue to live and breed in your home or on your vegetation. And they can multiply in a matter of days. A female gnat can lay up to three hundred eggs in batches of 30.

And guess what?

The eggs hatch in six days at most. The larvae live for at least 12 days; the pupal stage lasts for about six days. In other words, what you get in the space of two weeks is thousands of gnats feeding off your plant’s tissue.

In your home, they can be found in areas where there is light because they also love light. The common types of gnats that can be found in the household are fruit flies, fungus gnats, or phorid flies.

Even though they are tiny little pests, you have a lot to worry about when they are in your household. Their presence alone is a threat to your health and wellbeing. They are disease carriers, transporting bacteria and viruses from dirty and unkempt areas to a clean place.

They can also contaminate your edibles and harm your plants. The female gnat of some species feeds on blood, through which they pass diseases into their hosts.

One major sign that you have an infestation of gnats in your garden is that green leaves will be wilted. A heavy infestation can cause stunted growth in plants and even kill a young one.

Around homes, their bites cause you to have red lumps on your skin that can be very painful and swollen as a result of intense rubbing because of the painful itches.

Sometimes, you may have blisters on your skin.

8 Gnat Repellent Plants That Deter Them

One of the best ways to get rid of gnats is to prevent their establishment in your home or garden. Even the best pesticide is not as effective as prevention.

There are a lot of plants that are gnat resistant – meaning gnats hate them because of their smell, or that they contain poisonous substances that are dangerous to these insects.

To prevent gnats from coming near your garden, you may plant some of the species below;

  1. Citronella

This is a perennial grass that is capable of reaching up to 6ft high.

Citronella loves a warm climate, and you may either plant it in a big pot or a planter. It will not survive the winter, so you should plant it in a planter with a caster so that you can easily take it in when the frost begins.

Citronella is very popular for repelling all kinds of pests, especially mosquitoes. The strong smell is what sends the pests on their heels.

Different kinds of mosquito repellents have been produced using this plant.

Examples are citronella candles and repellent torches.

But then, you should still plant Citronella for gnats because its naturally strong scent is more potent than any of its bye products.

  1. Horsemint

This herbal plant is often referred to as the bee balm. It is a perennial plant that is also popular for its strong scent.

Just like citronella, horsemint does not do well in freezing weather even though it is a tough plant. Therefore, it is better to plant in the crater so that when winter starts, you can take it in.

However, horsemint is a hardy plant that can survive very harsh weather conditions but cannot grow higher than 3ft. It grows well in arid and sandy soil, plus it can also survive salinity. This is why you see some horsemint plant by the beach or in coastal areas.

The strong scent of this plant is known to repel gnats and mosquitoes.

Apart from repelling pests, the leaves of this plant are also used to make herbal tea.

  1. Marigolds

Marigolds are not perennial plants; you will need to plant them every year.

This plant contains pyrethrum, a compound that is used in producing a lot of chemical pesticides.

Marigold is capable of surviving very harsh weather conditions. It will not only repel gnats and a host of other bugs like mosquitoes but will also exterminate them.

Therefore, it can either be planted as ornamental plants or planted to form a border, preventing gnats from living off your plants or your blood.

Marigolds only do well in fertile soil and they enjoy the downpour of sunlight. Most times, the plant reseeds itself. However, you can also pick the seed to plant in a different location.

  1. Ageratum

This plant has a strong scent that not only repels but also exterminates gnats. It contains Coumadin, which is a substance used in producing chemical pesticides.

Ageratum is also known as the Floss flower. It is an annual plant that can reach up to 18ft high.

It brings out blue flowers that come with shades of pink, white, and violet. It does not necessarily require full exposure to sunlight to bloom and can do well under partial exposure.

Ageratum leaves hurt the skin; therefore, if you need to crush the leaves to make the scent stronger, you shouldn’t be tempted to rub it against your skin.

  1. Catnip

An important thing about this perennial herb is that if you have cats around, you better not plant it. Alternatively, plant other types of plant resisting gnats.

Catnip is a natural gnat repellent; it can also repel a wide range of pests including deer and rabbits.

One limitation of this plant is that it attracts cats, and these visitors are capable of ruining your garden for their love for catnip.

Another limitation of this plant is that the direction of wind affects its effectiveness. Sometimes the wind directs the odor elsewhere, thereby reducing the efficacy of the plant. So what most people do is to grind the leaves and then sprinkle it around their gardens.

And in homes, a catnip essential oil is sprayed around the apartments to repel gnats.

Apart from these limitations, catnip is very easy to grow, and its strong scent will repel almost all kinds of micro pests including gnats.

  1. Rosemary

This herb is also an excellent gnat repellent as much as it repels other kinds of pests. The plant is widely recommended as a natural means of eradicating gnats, mosquitoes, and bugs.

Rosemary will do well in a warm and dry climate and can be planted in pots and containers so that when it gets colder, it can be brought inside.

One good thing is that this herb can be trimmed into any shape you want, in a bid to create a garden beauty while getting rid of pests that can damage other plants.

Moreso, rosemary is an excellent ingredient for your cooking.

  1. Basil

This plant can serve as a companion plant for your vegetables. There are different types of basils; and all you have to do is look for the right type to combine in your garden.

Basil is a herb, an effective repellent against gnats because of its odor. It is also capable of eradicating other kinds of pests similar to mosquitoes and flies.

This plant loves full exposure to sunlight, a damp place with proper drainage so that water is not stuck in one place.

  1. Scented Geraniums

This is a highly recommended species that repels all kinds of bugs and mosquitoes. It is very effective in eradicating gnats both at home and in gardens.

Geranium has a lemon scent just like lemongrass, and also brings out beautiful flowers. The scent itself is what keeps gnats and other types of insect pests away.

The plants do well in a hot and dry climate and love full exposure to the sun. However, if you are in a colder climate, plant it in planters and trim them regularly.


Planting herbs that resist gnats is a much safer and more productive method of getting rid of the pest.

Considering how fast these pests multiply, even with pesticides, it is much difficult to control them once they are around.

Apart from the risk of contamination, if you use a chemical to get rid of gnats, you need to keep using it consistently because of the rate at which the pest reproduces. In the long run, you may end up with gnats that have developed resistance against the pesticide.

Therefore, in addition to growing gnat-repellent plants, it is essential to;

  • Keep a clean and healthy environment
  • Get rid of stagnant water as quickly as possible
  • Space you crops to allow the free flow of air

Gnats are dangerous, mainly because they bite and spread diseases around. It’s not just about the bites that bring painful itches and swollenness; it is about ensuring you, your family, and your pets stay safe and healthy using these plants.

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