Flowers that repel garden pests and attract beneficial bugs

The Good and the Bad Garden Visitors

There is a huge list of pests (crawling and flying) that can wreck havoc on your vegetable garden, eating vegetation above and below ground. Some of the bugs that you will find on the list are squash bugs, whiteflies, potato bugs, slugs, mealy bugs, ticks, and moth.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are those bugs that dine on the pesky bugs or that help to pollinate your plants. Among the good bugs are lady bugs that eat aphids. The lacewings (see picture) eat aphids, mites, and mealy bugs. Wasps and bees help with pollination. Preying mantis eat both good and bad bugs, so you may not want to encourage them to join your garden.

For one list of good and bad insects, visit this website.

Repel or Attract Bugs with Flowers

When bugs first appear in the garden as plants are growing, we typically resort to some chemical to evict the pests. With some advance planning of your garden, you may be able to prevent them from showing up in the first place. The answer? Flowers!

Certain flowers give off a fragrance that repels bad bugs, while other flowers emit a fragrance that lures the good bugs.


Both marigolds and nasturtium can handle a slew of buggy challenges. They thwart bugs that can harm your tomatoes, potatoes and strawberries including tomato hornworms, squash bugs, and whiteflies.

The fragrance of marigolds (more like odor because it is not a pleasant smell) is so strong, that if you plant marigolds around the perimeter of your garden, the mature plants will help deter rabbits and squirrels.


Lavender is a wonderfully fragrant flower that can be cost prohibitive to show its true value. Lavender has the potential of keeping mice and ticks away, but you'd need a lot of the plants to create a lavender-fence so to speak. One of the best things about growing lavender is that you can use the highly fragrant buds to create sachet packets.

To attract ladybugs and lacewings, plant yarrow. Golden Marguerite (think yellow daisy) also brings in ladybugs and lacewings.

When it comes to lacewing, wasps, and bees, they will come to any pollen-filled flower; however, Queen Anne's Lace is particularly beneficial. Keep in mind the Queen Anne's Lace is considered a weed because it grows quickly, so it could overpower your garden. You can help to control its growth through aggressive cuttings - Queen Anne's Lace makes a beautiful floral display.

If you have room for vining plants, morning glory can help to attract lady bugs.

Dig It!

Planting beneficial flowers in or around your vegetable garden adds beauty to the bounty that your hard labor will produce. If room to plant flowers in addition to your vegetables is limited, at a minimum, your garden will benefit from having marigolds planted along the sides.

NOTE: Flowers will not prevent all pests from invading your garden, nor is there any guarantee of success in planting flowers to attract good bugs. In addition, there are plants other than flowers that can deter or attract bugs but flowers are so pretty!