What Plants Keep Snakes Away? 7 Plants That Naturally Repel Snakes

Between the varieties of plants that add color to your garden to the ones meant for your kitchen, there are plenty of choices to add to your garden to aid in deterring venomous and non venomous snakes. As a bonus, multiple plants are dual at pest control against insects and other small animals.

We discuss ways to care for each of these plants and discuss their benefits. Almost all of the plants listed require minimal maintenance, but some have specific climate needs. Meanwhile, some just need to stay in your bathroom near the window. 

1. Marigold – most effective snake repellent

Marigold repels snakesMarigold is the “gold standard” of choice for garden pest control, as it releases an odor detested by most insects and small animals. In addition, since snakes smell with their tongue, it makes an excellent snake deterrent since the foliage has a bitter taste.

To humans, it has a spicy taste and has been known as the “poor man’s saffron”. But, taste aside, it adds beauty and protection to your garden; you can’t go wrong with marigolds!

  • Sunlight requirements: full sun to partial shade 
  • Soil type: their roots go deep, so a deep layer of soil is essential, and a well-draining substrate such as a mixture with sand or loam. 
  • Dietary needs: does well with a balanced trio of nutrients (15-15-15)
  • Misc: these you can water very deeply and allow them to drip a bit.

2. Snake Plant (a.k.a. Mother-in-law’s Tongue)

Snake plant repels snakesThe snake plant gets its nickname because it’s shaped like a sharp tongue. Snake plants are a favorite among homeowners due to their ease of care. They can survive a range of sunlight norms and can survive dry spells, so if you’re one of those people that forgets to water your plants a little more often than you should, this plant is for you.

Be sure to plant a few on your patio to release a scent that snakes hate – there’s that bonus in addition to their beauty and unique foliage!

Most commonly found in different shades of green, there are some garnish shades of deep violet and maroon. 

  • Sunlight requirements: an ideal exposure would be partial sunlight for at least 5 hours. However, snake plants can survive in more extended periods and shorter periods of sunlight if they are acclimated to their environment correctly, so ultimately, this is best kept as an indoor plant only, with very low maintenance needs. 
  • Soil type: light, loamy soil that drains well 
  • Dietary needs: this plant is very sensitive to nutrients and only needs to be fed light, even fertilizer, once or twice a year. 
  • Misc: native to rocky soil with little nutrients available to their roots

3. West Indian Lemongrass – natural snake repellent plants

lemongrass repels snakesThis lemony-smelling plant is of the citrus family. Its strong citrus smell will repel snakes from the area, and most insects and small animals, for that matter.

Lemongrass is ideal for any suburban home, particularly those near woods and swamps where there are plenty of pesky insects out and will be affected by its strong odor. In reality, any of the citrus family plants are excellent snake repellents.

Many homeowners enjoy the smell of lemongrass and have candles made from their scent. Personally, I love a mixture of lemongrass and eucalyptus. 

  • Sunlight requirements: best kept outdoors, it requires a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight to survive. 
  • Soil type: they specifically want nitrogen-rich soil, so not just the average mixture 
  • Dietary needs: nitrogen-rich fertilizer is required about once a month, but it can go six weeks or more without food. 
  • Misc: low maintenance but requires regular watering during the summer as best you can. Despite being considered drought-resistant, it is used to hot, wet summers and needs consistent watering as best as possible. The lemongrass is native to the tropical regions of Asia and is therefore not suited for outdoors in all climates.

4. Onions repel snakes

onion repels snakesA fantastic benefit to this garden addition is the cooking aspect! So not only are our serpentine friends against the smell of onions and any other onion family members, but we can also use them in cooking meals.

The sulfuric acid compound makes us cry. That is also why snakes avoid them, so this helpful hero is rather bittersweet.

There are recommendations to chop up onions and spread them throughout your garden for a natural pest control treatment to deter snakes and other garden pests.

  • Sunlight requirements: 13-16 hours of full sunlight; this is not an indoor plant to grow unless supplemented with a growing bulb! Maybe you could get away with a sunny windowsill, but I think you’re pushing your luck unless you live in a warm, sunny climate. 
  • Soil type: slightly acidic soil that contains high levels of nitrogen 
  • Dietary needs: should be grown independently of other vegetables as onions require a massive amount of nutrients to thrive 
  • Misc: eating parsley will rid you of onion breath! Nice tip if you accidentally choose french onion soup on your next dinner date.

5. Garlic – snakes hate the strong smells

garlic repels snakesAn incredible effect of the pungent smell of garlic plants is that it (and onion) confuses snakes. Also, like onion, it’s another must-have among most gardeners and chefs.

Something is reassuring about growing garlic and knowing I won’t accidentally reach down and grab a snake’s tail instead of weed.

  • Sunlight requirements: 3-5 hours of direct sunlight 
  • Soil type: moisture-retentive soil is best for garlic 
  • Dietary needs: old manure is the ideal organic fertilizer for most vegetables, and garlic is no exception; this suitable old fashioned method 
  • Misc: Keep the soil evenly moist, and do not overwater.

6. Another natural snake repellent – Indian Snakeroot

Indian Snakeroot repels snakesNot only do snakes hate the smell of snakeroot, but the alkaline nectar produced by the plant is used to treat non venomous snake bites.

When used as an herb, it has been known to treat some effects of mental illness such as paranoia, schizophrenia, and even hypertension. I don’t know why I hadn’t heard of this herb early, given its many positive traits. 

  • Sunlight requirements: partial sunlight to shade 
  • Soil type: very adaptable to various soils and fertilizer conditions; prefers somewhat moist to dry soil. 
  • Dietary needs: any all-purpose fertilizer will suffice with this easy-going plant; you can even do one of those pegs that goes into the ground and slowly releases the nutrients over the summer and wears off around the cold of the fall. 
  • Misc: used to treat various mental and physical health disorders, including insomnia, hypertension, and paranoia.

7. Mugwort (a.k.a. Wormwood) – one of the best snake repellent

Mugwort repels snakesSnakes have to really work to pass through the tall mudwort that overgrows, so they tend to navigate away from it entirely. This makes it one of the most obvious choices for plants that repel snakes, but it is an invasive plant species.

Please check the plants you buy to ensure you’re not bringing home something more of a problem rather than just a lovely addition to your garden. 

  • Sunlight requirements: full sunlight – tolerates partial shade 
  • Soil type: very easy going; hence, its growth rate
  • Dietary needs: again, very versatile; can use any general mixture for food, as long as it is gentle on plant roots. 
  • Misc: There is a bit of maintenance involved in caring for this plant as it spreads very quickly; it should be contained in specific flower beds, and it requires regular garden care. In other words, it is an invasive species! It will grow quicker than you might think, so be careful when choosing this unique species for your home.

Frequently asked questions

Are snakes bad for the garden?

They can slither over young seedlings if they have been left to grow in the yard for themselves.

And if you are not walking 24/7 with the snake-proof boots, snakes can bite you, so yes, I would consider them a nuisance, a pest. 

Do mint plants attract snakes?

No, it’s one of the other plants that repel snakes. However, it grows out of control very quickly; it would need to be isolated to a garden box container. 

Does oregano repel snakes?

Oregano has been known to repel snakes, but not nearly as effective as the other options in this article at keeping snakes away. 

What else repels snakes?

Cinnamon and clove basil essential oil are also natural snake repellent plants, and their oils mixed with water in a spray bottle are the perfect snake repellent for any garden.

Mothballs and hemp rope have also been excellent at repelling snakes, likely due to their scents.

It seems that most of the smelly plants mentioned repelling mosquitoes and most snakes with their strong smell.

Does vinegar repel snakes?

You can read the in-depth answer to this question in this article.


There are many varieties of plants to choose from for snake repellents, ones that can suit your individual needs, such as adding color to your garden or being an edible plant, so it has cooking use. Your best options are marigold or lemongrass, although it sounds like you can’t really lose with either one of them.

Lemongrass has a powerful citrus smell, so you must consider that when planting a lot of it around your home.

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