9 Plants That Repel and Keep Roaches Away

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: October 8, 2023
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9 Plants That Repel and Keep Roaches Away
These plants provide a natural alternative to pesticides.

If you’ve ever dealt with pests in your home, you know how invasive they can be. And roaches are among some of the worst invaders. These bugs can carry diseases, contaminating food, surfaces, and even the air you breathe. But thankfully, there are ways to get rid of them and keep them at bay. If you want a natural solution to your pest problem, check out these nine plants that repel and keep roaches away.

1. Rosemary

Detail of fresh rosemary herb. Rosemary herb garden. macro view.

Rosemary is toxic to roaches, killing and repelling them.

©Hulya Poyraz/Shutterstock.com

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This aromatic evergreen shrub is known for its fragrant needle-like leaves used in cooking. But rosemary also has other uses in homemade health remedies and natural pest control. Rosemary is highly toxic to roaches and can be used in both plant and oil forms. Not only does rosemary kill roaches but the smell repulses them, driving them away. You can keep rosemary plants inside and make an oil spray to spritz on door and window frames.  

2. Catnip

catnip plant

Catnip can grow as tall as 3 feet.

©Attila Fedyk/Shutterstock.com

Despite its name, catnip isn’t just for cats. This plant is native to Asia and has been grown in medicinal gardens for centuries. Catnip is a natural herb that produces a calming effect in felines and humans and is even said to help with coughs. The chemical nepetalactone, which creates a sense of euphoria, naturally repels pests, like roaches. The catnip plant is from the mint family, and you can plant it indoors or outdoors. Place the herb inside satchels and place them around your home. While they don’t kill roaches, they do keep them away. 

3. Bay Leaf

Photo of bay laurel (Taurus nobles) which is the leaf most commonly used to make bay leaves.

Bay laurel is the leaf most commonly used to make bay leaves.

©H. Zell / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Grown as either a large shrub or small tree, the bay leaf plant is an aromatic evergreen native to the Mediterranean. You may know them as the fragrant leaves that flavor many savory dishes, but you can also use them as a repellent against cockroaches. Roaches dislike the smell of bay leaves, keeping them at bay. You can plant bay leaf trees or crush leaves and sprinkle them around your home.

4. Mint

Fresh green leaves of mint, lemon balm, peppermint top view. Mint leaf texture. Ecology natural layout. Mint leaves pattern spearmint herbs nature background

Mint is an aromatic herb the repels pesky bugs.

©Olesya Myzzz/Shutterstock.com

The mint plant is a perennial herb that you can plant inside or out. Mint is excellent when used in cooking or to help with skin problems, like acne and inflammation. But you can also use this aromatic herb to ward off pests, such as roaches, beetles, and flews. The strong scent of the leaves repels these bugs, keeping them away from your home.

5. Chrysanthemums

potted chrysanthemum plants placed carefully in garden

Chrysanthemums are fragrant and brighten gardens.

©Savina Nataliia/Shutterstock.com

Mums are beautiful flowering plants native to Asia and Europe that produce brightly colored flowers. Not only do they brighten your garden, but they also repel many different bugs, like roaches, ants, beetles, bed bugs, ticks, and mites. These plants are fragrant and contain pyrethrins, which naturally repel insects.

6. Lavender

'Hidcote' lavender field

Lavender is one of the plants that repel and keep roaches away.

©gardendata/ via Getty Images

If you’ve ever been to a spa, you know that lavender is one of the main scents used in relaxation. Lavender calms your nervous system, and they look beautiful planted in your home garden. But thankfully, roaches hate the smell of lavender and will stay far away. This plant and essential oil can also repel fleas and flies.

7. Garlic

garlic heads

Garlic produces a strong odor, effectively repelling insects and mammals.

©Liubomyr Tryhubyshyn/Shutterstock.com

Closely related to onions, shallots, and leeks, the garlic plant is typically grown outdoors and produces a pungent odor when the leaves are disturbed. The strong odor from garlic has repellent effects on many insects, including cockroaches. Along with planting garlic outside, you can also crush the cloves and place them around your home (if you don’t mind the smell).

8. Osage Orange

Maclura pomifera fruit or Adam apple growing on tree. Mulberry family (Moraceae) used in alternative medicine joints sciatica.osage orange, horse apple tree copy space

Osage orange is bitter and produces a skin-irritating liquid.

©Victoria Moloman/iStock via Getty Images

The Osage orange is not like any orange you’ve probably seen. While edible, this unusual fruit is unpalatable due to its bitter flavor and skin-irritating liquid. However, they produce a strong citrus-like aroma. These trees repel everything from roaches and spiders to large mammals, who are repulsed by their fruit.  

9. Lemongrass

Citronella Grass

Lemongrass features insecticidal properties.


This ornamental grass gives your garden a tropical look while producing a sweet, fresh aroma. Lemongrass is a key ingredient in many Southeast Asian recipes, which also makes planting this aromatic herb tempting. Lemongrass is excellent at repelling cockroaches and other insects due to its insecticidal properties. The phytochemical limonene naturally repels cockroaches. 

Summary of the 9 Plants That Repel and Keep Roaches Away

NumberPlants That Repel Roaches
3Bay leaf
8Osage Orange

Other Natural Ways to Repel Roaches

Sprinkle these natural ingredients around your home as an additional way to repel or kill roaches.

  • Borax and sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Essential oils
  • Diatomaceous Earth
  • Citrus
  • Cayenne, garlic, and onion powder mixture

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Victoria Moloman/iStock via Getty Images

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Florida State College. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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