Plants That Keep the Flies Away

Flies are a constant irritation in homes around the world, especially during the warm, summer months. Waging war on flies can feel like an endless process, whether our weapon of choice is bug spray, a zapper or the classic rolled-up newspaper.

Flies will wander in through any open window or door so, unless you’re willing to seal your house off entirely from the outside world, they’re bound to get in sooner or later. Fortunately, there’s an easy alternative to constantly chasing these buzzing, bacteria-laden bugs out of your house. There are several types of plants that keep flies away, and placing a few of these around your home can create an environment that flies can’t stand.

So, what are the plants that flies hate most, and how can you use them to make your home a fly-free zone?

Which plants and herbs repel flies?

There are several plants and herbs that repel flies, but which of them are most effective at keeping the insects away?


Peppermint oil strongly repels flies and other insects (including mosquitoes), so mint is a top choice for people hoping to reduce the number of bugs around their house. Even better, mint grows very easily and requires minimal care, leaving you with an abundant supply for repelling flies (and making tea).

If left unchecked, however, mint plants can take over your yard – to stop that from happening, keep your mint well pruned or grow your plants in spacious containers.

When choosing plants, opt for the mintiest-smelling ones you can find (either peppermint or spearmint) and install them around the outside of your house or in hanging planters.

Citronella grass

It’s well-known for its anti-mosquito properties, but will citronella grass repel flies, too? Citronella grass is the natural source of citronella oil, a natural product that is known to repel flies. Although typically used in candles, incense and reed diffusers, the scent of the plants themselves may be enough to deter flies from entering your house. Place a few plants around your house, either in the earth or in large pots, to help keep flies away. Remember, these plants grow best in full sunlight and with good drainage, so they aren’t a good choice for shady or waterlogged areas.


Lemongrass is a close cousin of citronella grass and contains lemongrass oil that is extremly similar to citronella oil. Therefore it, too, has fly-repelling properties that you can use to your advantage when trying to keep bugs out of your house. Like citronella, lemongrass grows well in sunny, well-drained areas and can reach up to four feet tall. Plant them directly into the ground or in large containers outside your house, where their scent can help to deter flies from the area.


Geranium oil is one of the more effective plant-based insect repellents out there and is another plant that could help to protect your home from flies. Another reason to choose the geranium as your fly-repelling plant of choice is for their colorful blossoms, which give them the added benefit of brightening up your yard. Besides flies, they also repel mosquitoes, so planting them can create a mosquito-free zone that you can enjoy in the evening.

Plant geraniums in flower beds, plant pots and hanging planters around your house and throughout your yard to keep your insect population minimal!


Basil is another herb that repels flies and has hundreds of culinary uses, too. Growing basil in your yard is, therefore, a great idea for the fly-phobic culinary enthusiasts out there. For personal protection against biting insects, like mosquitoes, you can also try crushing a few basil leaves and rubbing the juices on exposed skin.

This herb grows best in sunny, well-drained areas and can be planted in containers or straight into the ground. If you live in a place with lots of warm weather, you’ll have enough to deter flies and make up a batch of homemade pesto!


Catnip is an excellent natural, fly-repelling plant that your cats will also love. Catnip oil is a highly effective insect deterrent that can help to repel a wide variety of bugs from your house. Scatter catnip plants around your house and yard to keep flies out of the area.

How else can you keep flies out of your house?

The best way to keep your house completely free from flies is by implementing an integrated pest-control plan. Besides planting fly repellent herbs around your doors and windowsills, you can also reduce the number of flies in and around your home by taking the following steps:

  • Keep your kitchen clean and tidy. Flies usually come indoors in search of food, so make sure your kitchen is clean and crumb-free to avoid tempting them inside. Dispose of all food waste properly and make sure all opened food is stored away in airtight containers. If you have a pet, make sure to also store their food in sealed containers.
  • Install fly screens. If you live in an area that typically has a lot of flies, it may be worth installing fly screens around your doors and windows. This creates a physical barrier against the bugs so fewer of them can get inside.
  • Burn citronella candles. Citronella oil is usually used as a component in insect-repelling candles, incense and reed diffusers. These products can help to disperse the essential oil into the air, allowing them to repel flies more effectively.


No-one likes sharing their home with flies, and many of us spend far more time than we’d like shooing, swatting and spraying these eternally irritating bugs. Luckily, there are plenty of varieties of plants and herbs that can help to repel a wide range of insects (including flies) from your house and yard.

Geranium, mint, basil, catnip, lemongrass and citronella grass all contain oils that repel flies, and all give off aromas that these bugs hate. Planting as many as you can around the outside of your house and in your yard can help to ward off flies, and several also have extra uses in cookery and as personal protection against flies and other insects.

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published*