Did you know that you can repel aphids simply by adding some plants to your garden? Let’s look at what plants repel aphids below.
Tiny insects making their nests under your plants is probably the last thing you need to see when you check on your garden.
But what if we tell you there are some plants that can keep your garden safe from a nasty aphid infestation? In this article, let us look at some aphid-repelling plants that are natural enemies to these pests.
What Plants Keep Aphids Away?
Basil is a fragrant herb often used for its sweet smell. The strong scent of basil is known to disturb the olfactory sense of aphids.
It deters them from infesting nearby plants. It can be an excellent companion plant for tomatoes, beans, and asparagus.
Aphids have an aversion to all kinds of strong scents. Plants like garlic, when planted near vegetable plants (common host plants for aphids), can act as a good deterrent.
Planting a few garlic shrubs or using a spray bottle with garlic oil and soap water to freshen up your plants could be an effective way to keep aphids away for quite some time.
Onions protect leafy veggies like cabbage, broccoli, kale, or cauliflower from aphids.
As the onion plants grow, the scent becomes stronger and keeps aphids away from the surroundings. These plants also work as insect repellants that can damage different plants.
Mint can attract several beneficial insects that usually feed on aphids. These can be grown as tiny bushes around your main plants to keep them safe.
The only thing to take care of is controlling the growth of mint bushes since they grow very fast and can cover up a garden.
Using fragrant herbs can be one of the easiest ways to eliminate or at least keep aphids away from other plants.
Planting thymes or using a thyme oil to spray over plants can help keep aphids away from flowering and vegetable plants.
Rosemary is an effective fragrant herb that can mask the smell of host plants. Various beneficial insects gather around rosemary plants, and many of these feed on aphids as a supplementary food source.
The scent of rosemary itself can keep away aphids from surrounding plants.
Growing catnip around plants is known for attracting pollinating insects that are natural enemies of aphids.
Catnip might be popular with your four-legged friends, but this can also help with the aphid problem at home.
However, keeping a check on the growth of catnip is important around the year.
Parsley is a favorite for a lot of wasps that feed on aphids. Many parasitic wasps feed on aphids which will help to prevent any major infestation.
So, planting parsley around your garden could mean protecting your plants by keeping the beneficial insects around.
Nasturtium is one of the most natural insect repellents. The plant in your garden releases a chemical that affects various insects, including aphids.
Keeping these plants as companions can help to keep different types of unwanted pests away.
Sunflowers are often regarded as trap plants and can help prevent major aphid infestations in a garden. These plants are large in size and have strong stems.
Most of them can easily take on an aphid infestation without damage. Planting them in close quarters with other plants can help prevent aphids from populating your garden.
Hot Pepper (Capsaicin)
Hot peppers can be an effective aphid repellant as companion plants and a spray. These plants have a chemical known as capsaicin (which gives them their distinct chili flavor).
It also gives out a strong scent that can help keep aphids, other insects, and even certain birds away. Spraying plants with water and hot pepper mixture can also keep the plants safe from an infestation.
Mums, more popularly known as chrysanthemums, are one of the plants that aphids particularly hate. These plants release a chemical called pyrethrum, which is a natural insecticide.
Mums also release a pheromone which works like an alert chemical for aphids. It mimics a predator for the aphids and keeps them away from plants.
Lavender oil is one of the most effective aphid repellants. The plant has a strong fragrance that usually keeps aphids away.
Planting a few lavender plants around your garden would mean the fragrance can overpower the surroundings and keep aphids away.
Rye is one of the most important and valuable plants among crops. But these are prone to aphid infestations, particularly on the underside of leaves.
It is not exactly a companion plant, but it can prevent the growth of aphids among other rye plants and prevent an aphid infestation.
Spear thistles are a small flowering plant that has proven effective in controlling aphid populations among rye plants.
If you are growing rye crops, you can plant these tiny plants among the plants to prevent aphids from attacking frequently.
Savory is a type of herb known to prevent black bean aphid infestation. Aphids can be fatal to crops growing in summer and spring.
Planting savory flowers can attract pollinating insects, some of which are aphid predators, protecting them.
Marigolds are popular as insect repellants and can be an excellent choice to prevent aphid attacks. These bright-colored flowers have a special scent that keeps insects away from the surrounding.
Planting marigolds around your other plants can better fight an aphid population, especially if you are planting new and young shrubs. So if you are wondering, “Do Marigolds Repel Aphids?” the answer is yes.
Other Natural Remedies For Aphids
Most people would not be keen on using too many chemicals to avoid an aphid infestation, but adding new plants to a garden takes space and time for tending and card, which is difficult.
Apart from companion plants, there are essential oils and beneficial insects which you can also use as aphid remedies.
To avoid aphids, you can spray essential oils like neem, garlic, and rosemary oil on plants. The insects will be unable to stand the strong scent, so regular spraying can help keep aphids away for longer.
Beneficial insects like ladybugs, parasitic wasps, Japanese beetles, and lacewing larvae are natural predators of aphids.
Introducing these insects around your plants will allow them to feed on the aphids and control the recent as well as future infestations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What To Plant With Roses To Deter Aphids?
Aphids have an aversion to strong smells. Planting certain fragrant herbs with rose bushes can help keep aphids away.
Rue, parsley, scented geraniums, and thyme are some of the best choices as companion plants with roses. The smell of these herbs keeps away most pests, including aphids.
What flowers do aphids hate?
Flowers with a strong odor can deter most species of aphids. Among them, one flower that aphids particularly hate is marigolds.
Marigold scent is considered a pest repellant, so aphids will try to avoid these plants since they cannot tolerate the smell for a long time.
What plants attract aphids the most?
There are aphid species of many kinds, almost one of every type of plant available.
Nightshade plants like tomatoes or fruit-bearing apples, plums, and cherries often attract them. They are also drawn to flowering plants like roses, dahlia, and sunflowers.
Do banana peels keep aphids away?
Yes, banana peels are known to be aphid repellants. If you keep pieces of banana peels around a plant’s soil, the aphids are drawn towards the peel instead of the main plant.
Bury the peels one or two inches deep in the soil to protect your plants from aphids.
There are a number of companion plant options that can be explored when you are trying to prevent an aphid infestation, including basil, garlic, onions, chives, parsley, sunflower, mums, lavender, and so on.
The only thing that you need to take care of is whether the solution you are using is safe for your plants and will not affect their growth in some way. Thank you for reading!
Over the years, our readers have sent us several emails on this topic. Please go through them below.
Letter 1 – Aphids
Dear Mr. Marlos,
Do you have any secret tips or tricks for repelling aphids? They have completely colonized my cucumber patch, and look like they’re headed for the corn or beans next. I’ve tried organic "safer soap" and lady bugs, but these nasty bugs are BADASS. hould I cut my losses and rip out the cucumbers for the safety of the rest of the garden?
Infested in Silverlake
Try a garden hose directly on the affected areas. The aphids will wash off with the water jet and die without a food source. Diligence is important as winged adults can always return, but the nymphs are goners.
Letter 2 – Aphids
More about the aphids:
Many of you read with disgust the following account about the aphids found in a sandwich purchased from Wild Oats on Sunday. On Monday, we called the offending store and spoke to the manager, who apologized for the infestation and promised to look into the matter. Sharon and I returned to the rocky waters and ordered a couple of new sandwiches, which we got sans lettuce. And we were happy to meet Bobby, the deli counter guy who is a self-described "lettuce nazi." I hope he’s also an "aphid nazi."
April 15, 2002
I didn’t write "What’s That Bug?," because when I discovered this critter, "What’s That Bug?" was sitting right next to me.
For those of you who didn’t hear my piercing screams last night (which carried for miles), the picture above shows the extra protein which was included in a turkey sandwich which I’d purchased from Wild Oats in Pasadena last night. The hitchhiker was immediately identified as an aphid. Also included within the two whole wheat slices was a deader version of this critter, which is what prompted a more thorough investigation of the meal in the first place.
Buff Charlie, who eats both lunch and dinner daily at this fine natural grocery store, strode powerfully to the store and got to the bottom of the infestation. He chastised the staff, and forced them to remove all lettuce from the deli section. "It’s a good idea to always look at your food before eating it," a friendly employee advised him.
That’s good advice, especially when munching on produce. Here in the AH backyard, our lettuce is home to all manner of hungry beasts. Rhonda is always out smushing slugs and grasshoppers. But once our garden produce enters the home, we are no longer playing games with the pests. They are removed, completely. None are pardoned.
I can only wonder why Wild Oats doesn’t share this philosophy of cleanliness and death. Is this what "organic" means these days?
Thanks, Daniel, for grossing me out even more! Buggy anal sugar! EWWW! This unsolicitated letter was received this morning:
Dear American Homebody,
Though no official question has been posed, I thought it was my duty to inform you of some aphid facts since your very recent experience with tainted lettuce on a store bought, organic sandwich. No one knows better than Hogue, who writes "Aphids (Family Aphidae) Aphids are notorious pests of cultivated plants. Prolific breeders, they swiftly spread over the tender growing tips of prize roses and other plants, from which they withdraw large quantities of sap. The result is a wilted, curled, and unsightly mass of leaves or a dead plant. The aphid’s harm is increased by its habit of copiously excreting from the anus a sugary solution called ‘honeydew,’ which covers the host plant with a sticky unsightly residue that often becomes blackened with a growth of sooty mold. Aphids also transmit viral diseases to plants. … Aphids are remarkable for their peculiar modes of reproduction and development, which involve polymorphism (the capability of assuming different body forms). They display life cycles so complicated and varied that they are impossible to summarize here. Parthenogenesis (the development of unfertilized eggs), viviparity (the bearing of live young), and winged and wingless generations are common reproductive phenomena."
One can only guess that the designer store in question found it too costly to clean their organic lettuce in Evian, so they neglected to do so at all to keep the harmful tap water chemicals from their chemical free produce.
Letter 3 – Aphids
Mini Bug Super Highway on my Garden Hose
Location: Tulare, California
September 8, 2010 6:02 pm
I came home today to find some kind of mini super highway on my garden hose made up of some kind of strange mini tick/beetle thing. What are they and is my pet safe outside?
Signature: The bugs are taking over
These appear to be Aphids, and they will not harm your pet, however, they will suck the life from your plants should they become too plentiful.
Letter 4 – Aphids
On hyacinth bean vine
Location: Houston, TX
May 14, 2011 10:22 am
It’s May, and almost overnight, these bugs have taken over my hyacinth bean vines. Who are these guys and can you convince me that I should love them?
You (more correctly, your hyacinth bean) have Aphids. Since the female Aphid gives live parthenogenic birth to female clones, Aphids can reproduce in prodigious numbers at an expedited rate. One Aphid seems to become thousands in a rapid period of time. We have no fondness for Aphids which infest plants sucking their nutritious juices and potentially spreading pathogenic viruses to the plants. Since your hyacinth bean is a potential food plant, we do not recommend pesticides, and we personally limit the use of pesticides since they do not discriminate between beneficial and injurious species. A strong jet of water from the hose should knock off the Aphids and they can then become prey to various spiders and other creatures once they have been knocked off the food plant. You can also try to encourage insects like Lacewings and Lady Beetles as they both relish Aphids as food.
Letter 5 – Aphids from Canada
Subject: Weed brownies g
Location: Ottawa ontario
August 27, 2016 10:57 am
I am not sure what these are but they are all over the weeds in my back yard. Is it something dangerous?
Signature: Sarah Knox
These are Aphids, but we are not certain of the species. According to BugGuide: “Aphids suck juices from plants and may be quite damaging. Some are restricted to a single plant species or group of related plants. Others may alternate between two entirely unrelated host plants as a necessary part of their life cycle” and “Aphids may be identified by two tubelike projections on the posterior, called cornicles or siphunculi. These appear to function as a means of chemical defense, emitting pheromones to alert other aphids about a predator nearby. They also offer mechanical protection, as the fluid emitted can gum up the mouthparts of the predators. Species may sometimes be identified by the host plant, but several aphid spp. may infest the same host.”