Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that can cause damage to a plant if left unchecked. Not only do they stunt your plants’ growth, but they can also transmit plant viruses to their plant host and cause your plants’ buds, leaves, and flowers to become deformed. Luckily, there are plants out there that can deter aphids, keeping your garden free from this pesky pest.
There are many different kinds of aphids, with around 4000 reported species, of which 250 are pests to ornamental plants and plant crops. Aphids will also attract ants into your area as ants like to farm them, milking them for a substance they produce called honeydew.
Luckily, various plants can deter aphids from coming into your garden and home. Most of these plants have pungent smells that the aphids can’t stand, and they will avoid them. So if you plant these deterrent plants between the aphids’ food source, they won’t be able to smell where their next meal is, and they will usually move on to more accessible food sources.
If you plan strategically and scatter these aphid deterrent plants throughout your garden, you could ultimately have an aphid-free home. Let’s peruse some of the aphid deterrent plants you can plant in your garden or keep in your home.
1. Garlic (Allium Sativum)
Garlic is an excellent insect repellent. Most insects can’t stand getting too close to it with its strong scent. This great insect deterrent will also ward off Japanese beetles, making them a great companion plant for roses, cabbage moths, Mexican bean beetles, codling moths, and peach borers.
Garlic is an annual herb, the best time to plant this herb is in the fall, and you can harvest whenever you notice that the lower leaves are starting to turn brown. Garlic grows best in hardiness zones 2 – 10 depending on the variant. It needs full sun and well-drained fertile soil to grow in.
2. Mint (Mentha)
Mint has a powerful scent that insects such as aphids can’t stand to get too close, making them an excellent aphid deterrent plant. Mint prefers hardiness zones 3 – 11 and will grow optimally in partial shade with slightly acidic rich soils.
One thing to keep your eye on with this herb is that it is a quick spreader, so you might want to just lay some sprigs down between your plants or keep your mint in a nice container. This herb will also protect your garden from cabbage moths, ants, whiteflies, flea beetles, and squash bugs.
3. Catnip (Nepeta Cataria)
Apart from being very attractive to the local cats in your area, catnip will deter aphids as well as slugs from your garden. Its pungent smell is unappealing to an aphid, and they will avoid it as best they can. Catnips prefer hardiness zones 3 – 7 and need to be in an area of full sun in sandy, loamy, well-drained soils.
Catnip grows in clumps and is also a super spreader, and you will need to ensure that you keep an eye on it to stop it from spreading uncontrollably. You can plant catnip in the spring after the last frosts have passed. This lovely herb will also attract pollinators into your garden, effectively keeping out the destructive insects and bringing in the good.
4. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Like many of the plants belonging to the allium family, chives are a great insect deterrent, including deterring aphids and Japanese beetles. This herb prefers hardiness zones 3 – 9, full sunlight, and moist, rich soils. Plant them in between the plants you want to be protected, and you should find that your aphid problems go away.
Besides deterring aphids from your garden, chives are a great addition to your kitchen. With their oniony flavor, you can add them to any number of your cooking dishes. Be sure to harvest your chives timeously as once they go to seed, they spread.
5. Onions (Allium Cepa)
Another plant from the allium family, onions, are a fantastic insect deterrent. Not only do they deter aphids, but they will also repel carrot flies, Colorado potato beetle, cabbage looper, and rabbits. Onions prefer hardiness zones 3 – 9, full sun, and well-drained, loamy soils. Great for companion planting, plant these bulbs between your at-risk plants for an aphid-free area.
Although these plants are notorious for being difficult for your average gardener to grow, anyone can achieve success with these plants with a bit of practice. One thing to keep in mind is not to overwater your onion bulbs as they can rot in the ground.
6. Rue (Ruta Graveolens)
Rue, also known as common rue and herb of grace, is intense enough to ward off aphids from your garden. Plant these herbs in full sun with well-drained soils, and they prefer hardiness zones 4 – 8. These herbs will also produce beautiful small yellow clusters of flowers in the summer, attracting a range of pollinators into your yard.
The rue herb is a great companion plant for roses, creating an aphid-free area for rose production. Another pro about this herb is that you can dry its flowers, place them into little bags and use these as deterrents for fleas and ants in your home. When harvesting the flowers, ensure that you protect your skin by wearing gloves, as the leaves are toxic to humans and animals.
7. Cilantro (Coriandrum Sativum)
Cilantro or coriander is an annual herb and prefers hardiness zones 2 – 11. Cilantro prefers partial shade to full sun and moist, light, well-drained soils. The scent that this herb gives off makes it a natural aphid deterrent, so you can plant this herb in your gardens to keep them aphid-free.
These plants are grown for two culinary purposes, their lovely pungent-smelling leaves and their aromatic seeds. If you harvest this herb frequently, it promotes new growth. Once this herb has flowered, it is no longer viable as a culinary plant, and you will need to plant a new plant in its place.
8. Common Chervil (Cerefolium)
The common chervil herb is a cousin to parsley and is often called French parsley. Common chervil prefers hardiness zones 3 – 7, partial shade to full sun, and light, well-drained soils. The scent of its leaves makes it a good aphid repellent, so plant it close to plants that you wish to protect from these annoying insects.
Common chervil is not readily available at most markets, so planting one in your garden is a great choice, as well as it being helpful to ward off aphids. Common chervil tastewise is a cross between parsley and tarragon and is an excellent addition to egg and potato dishes.