Buzz Off - Plants That Repel Flies

Flies bothering you incessantly? There are actually plants that are great at repelling flies here are some of the best.

17 February 2015

Over on our Facebook page, I was asked for some advice on what plants are best to plant in order to repel flies. Whilst I knew of a few including Lavender, Mint, Bay and Basil, I thought I would ask our Facebook fans for their opinion as well. The response was brilliant and a lot of people have plants they swear by so here is a list of plants that can help you to deter flies.

Lavender is known to repel flies


What a beautiful plant and they smell delightful too. Whilst they repel flies they do attract bees. Bees are great pollinators and are invaluable to a garden. My grandmother had lavender planted all around her patio and the bees never bothered us during BBQs however you might not want to plant them too close to doors and windows so that the bees don’t get lost and stuck inside.

Bay Trees are known to repel flies

Bay Tree

Bay is a slow growing shrub, which can grow into a medium sized tree if not trimmed. It’s very tolerant of tough conditions and is also useful in the kitchen, especially for bolognaise.

Basil is known to repel flies


I have basil in a recycled tin can on my kitchen windowsill it gets watered every time it starts to look limp, it’s amazing how quickly it will perk up again. It is regularly snipped with scissors for use in my cooking and I wouldn’t be without it. I also never have flies in my kitchen even though the window is always open.

Mint is known to repel flies


Another herb in a recycled tin can on my windowsill. Mint is so very easy to grow that it is recommended to keep it in a pot to prevent it from invading your garden. It has the added bonus that you can use the leaves in your cooking and your tea.

Rosemary is known to repel flies


This is another easy to grow herb that is useful in cooking, it suffers more from too much attention than it does neglect. It can easily be grown from a 2 inch cutting and that way it will be true to the plant is came from.

Tansy is known to repel flies


Seems to be a favourite fly repellent of our Facebook fans with several swearing by it. It is quite an invasive plant so keeping it in pots or hanging baskets is highly recommend. It is also toxic if ingested in sufficient quantities raw.

Citronella is known to repel flies


This one repeatedly crept up on our Facebook post as being reliable for deterring flies. The true citronella is a grass that looks much like lemon grass and is used in many mosquito repellent formulas.  

Marigolds are known to repel flies


A colourful flower which is often grown from seeds. Relatively easy to grow and they love the sun, which is just as well in Australia. They are ideal for edging, borders and hanging baskets.

Venus Fly Traps don't repel flies but are know to eat them

Venus Fly Trap

This was mentioned by one fan as a solution to a fly problem, I suspect this comment was more in jest than anything. Whilst venus fly traps are awesome plants and pretty unusual in their food trapping methods, they don’t actually eat that many flies per week. They also don’t provide any fly repelling benefits either.


Mosquito repellent plant or pelargonium citrosum doesn't repel flies

Mosquito repellent plant (pelargonium citrosum) aka Citronella Plant

This is a geranium that is not related to the true citronella and is often sold as a mosquito repelling plant because it contains some of the same essential oils. However research carried out in the US and Canada found that it was ineffective and mosquitos were often seen landing on the leaves.

I hope that you have found this list useful and that the plants bring you success in repelling flies from your home. Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

Happy Gardening!


N.B. This article has been written for Australian gardens. If you're reading this from around the world, we do hope you've found it a useful stepping stone for your own further research.

Comments (4)

Great but... where to buy?

Hi, Great article but where do we buy these plants (or better still, seeds)? I live in Trafalgar, Victoria and I cannot find anyone that stock Citronella grass, Catnip, Tansy and many others. Do you know where these plants/seeds might be available please? Thank you. Kind regards, Garry French
, 12 June 2017

native plants please?

Like the majority of fly species that came with cow dung, festy redcoats, maggot infested salted beef, white man and other agents of environmental devastation of our ancient land, all the species you list here are feral, colonial, invasive European species that have no place in this country outside of an arboretum. Can you please list some species that aren't going to cause any more habitat loss? Hasn't enough of this continent been destroyed since Dr Germ (Sir Smallpox Banks) planted his Sybilic Imperial Roman elms, oaks, planes and rowans in 1770? Patterson's Curse, anyone?
, 6 November 2016

climbing plants that detract flys

Hi I'm looking for a climbing plant that will grow in full sun and cope with wind and sea air that will not attract flys, is there such a plant available? Regards Nicola
, 20 August 2016

Hoselink Response
Without knowing your climate it's hard to say, the best thing to do is talk to your local nursery. Also take a look at what your neighbours are growing, if they are growing a climbing plant successfully you'll know it's suitable for your conditions and then a quick Google search can tell you more about it's fly repel/attraction.

fly and mosy reppelers

Work great. Thank you.
, 14 February 2016
  • 1