12 Plants That Keep Wasps Away

Male paper wasp
© Alvesgaspar / CC BY-SA 3.0

Written by Heather Hall

Updated: July 4, 2023

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Using plants to repel wasps is a natural and effective way to keep them out of your garden without harsh chemicals. All the plants listed below are beautiful and provide flowers, lovely fragrances, and many seasons of interest. From low-growing pennyroyal to bright red geraniums, there is sure to be a plant for every gardener. You can use these plants to keep wasps away by placing flowerpots around the garden or planting them in hanging baskets, window planters, or herb gardens. You can even crush the fragrant leaves and sprinkle them around picnic areas and patio furniture to keep wasps away.

Plant these 12 plants to help keep away wasps!

1. Cucumber

Bees and wasps dislike the bitter skin of cucumber plants. You can plant cucumbers up a trellis near seating areas to keep wasps away or place cucumber peels around your garden to deter bees and wasps. Cucumbers are hardy to USDA Zones 4-12 but are usually grown as an annual. You can buy cucumber seeds in just about any grocery or garden store.


Bees and wasps dislike the skin of cucumber so planting them near where you sit or scattering the peels around your garden is a good deterrent.


2. Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal is a creeping ground cover plant with a strong minty aroma. Since it only grows about 6 inches tall, it is a great choice to flow over the side of a window basket, trail along the ground under a tree, or mix in with other bedding plants to suppress weeds. Pennyroyal has the added benefit of keeping wasps away. Pennyroyal is hardy in USDA Zones 5-10. It is sold as an ornamental plant in most commercial garden centers.

Pennyroyal plant Pennyroyal plant is a flowering plant with a mint odor.

The minty odor of pennyroyal can help keep wasps away.

©iStock.com/Kanjana Wattanakungchai

3. Eucalyptus

Wasps do not like the smell of eucalyptus. This plant needs a great deal of sunlight, so it is best suited to southern climates. Eucalyptus can be successfully grown in a sun porch or greenhouse and placed outside in the garden during the summer. The strongly scented leaves of eucalyptus will help keep wasps away. Plus, cutting a sprig of eucalyptus and putting it in a vase indoors is one easy way to make your whole house smell divine. Eucalyptus is hardy in USDA Zones 8-11. You can buy seedlings from plant nurseries.


The strongly scented leaves of eucalyptus can help deter wasps.

©iStock.com/Marina Denisenko

4. Mint

Most humans love the smell of mint, but most wasps hate it. Remember that mint is a fast-growing plant and will overtake your entire garden if not kept within bounds. It is best to plant members of the mint family in containers or garden beds with brick or concrete edging. Place a container of mint near the porch or patio to keep wasps away. Mint is hardy in USDA Zones 6-12. It is sold as an ornamental plant in most commercial garden centers.


Mint is a fast-growing plant that is best planted in a contained space and can help with efforts to prevent wasps.

©Paul Maguire/Shutterstock.com

5. Geranium

Red geraniums, in particular, are disliked by wasps; apparently, they aren’t fans of beautiful red flowers with very little pollen. Geraniums also have a scent that wasps dislike. In the spring and summer, you can find geraniums in nearly every garden center and nursery. Geraniums are very versatile plants that will help keep wasps away. Geraniums is hardy in USDA Zones 9-12 but are usually sold as annual bedding plants at nurseries.

Red geranium flowers in a pot.

The color red in geraniums as well as the scent are disliked by wasps.


6. Wormwood

Wormwood contains a compound called absinthe, which has a highly aromatic scent hated by wasps. Absinthe isn’t very friendly to other plants and can kill them, so wormwood is best planted alone. If you take the proper precautions, wormwood is a powerful wasp deterrent. Plant it in a large pot near an outdoor kitchen or dining table to keep wasps away. Wormwood is hardy in USDA Zones 4-9. It isn’t the easiest to find and sometimes has to be ordered from a specialty online nursery.

closeup wormwood plant

Wormwood contains a compound called absinthe which can harm other plants but is also a powerful wasp deterrent.

©iStock.com/Larysa Lyundovska

7. Basil

The delicious-smelling basil plant is not a favorite of wasps. Basil will actually help keep wasps away. Plant it near your kitchen door for easy herb picking when you need a quick pesto or pasta sauce. Basil needs eight hours of sun per day, and when temperatures start to fall, you can bring it inside to grow during winter. Basil is hardy in USDA Zones 10 and 11 but is usually grown as an annual crop. It is sold as seeds or seedlings in the spring at most commercial garden centers.

Basil plant also known as Ocimum basilicum

Wasps are put off by the fragrance of Basil.

©David Jalda/Shutterstock.com

8. Marigold

Marigolds are good at keeping many pests away, including wasps. Bees do like marigolds, but wasps do not. These easy-to-grow and inexpensive flowers come in various colors and heights and can be planted in many locations throughout the garden to keep wasps away. Marigolds are fast growers and are a good choice to grow from seed packets, which can usually be purchased for less than one dollar. Marigold is hardy in USDA Zones 2-12 but is most often grown as an annual bedding plant. They are inexpensive bedding plants sold at every garden center.

Orange yellow French marigold or Tagetes patula flower on a blurred garden background.Marigolds.

Marigolds are a beautiful and inexpensive means of keeping wasps away.


9. Citronella

Most people know about the mosquito-repellant properties of citronella, but surprisingly, citronella will also keep wasps away. It is also easy to grow and has a lovely lemony fragrance. Citronella needs six hours of sun per day and prefers cool morning sun. It also likes to be pretty moist, so water it when only the top one inch of soil has dried. Citronella also makes an excellent houseplant, so feel free to put one inside to keep wasps away. Citronella is hardy in USDA Zones 9-11. You can find seedlings in garden centers in the spring, usually at the same time kitchen herb seedlings are sold.

Citronella is a natural repellent

Citronella is an easy to grow plant with a lemony scent that wasps prefer to avoid.


10. Pitcher Plant

This plant doesn’t keep ants away with a fragrance; instead, it eats them! Pitcher plants are carnivorous and consume insects to get nutrition. Pitcher plants are not the easiest to grow, but if you live in a tropical climate with plenty of direct sun and rainfall, they can help keep wasps away. The pitcher plant is hardy in USDA Zones 6-8. You usually have to order this plant online from a specialty grower.

Carnivorous pitcher plants

Carnivorous pitcher plants consume insects for nutrition.


11. Common Thyme

The scent of thyme is a favorite of many herb gardeners, but wasps do not like it. Thyme is easy to grow in almost any climate, especially in hot, dry areas. Thyme is an excellent choice to crush and sprinkle around the garden to keep wasps away. You can also rub thyme leaves against your skin to keep wasps away from you. Thyme is hardy in USDA Zones 5-9. It is sold in the spring at nurseries with all of the other kitchen herb seedlings.


Thyme can be crushed and sprinkled around the garden or rubbed against your skin to repel wasps.


12. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is an excellent choice to keep wasps away if you live in a warm area. The bright, citrus fragrance of lemongrass is lovely to have near your outdoor seating areas or planted along pathways where you can smell it as you walk through the garden. You can bring lemongrass indoors to overwinter if you live in a temperate region. Lemongrass is hardy in USDA Zones 9-10. You can find it from many online retailers.


Planting lemongrass is a great way to add a pleasant citrus smell to your garden and keep wasps away.


Summary of 12 Plants that Keep Wasps Away

Any of these beautiful, fragrant plants will repel wasps naturally.

10Pitcher Plant
11Common Thyme

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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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