Springtime brings blooming flowers, wet and rainy showers, and something you don’t want to see — fleas and ticks. While fleas are a nuisance for humans, they can be a detriment for cats and dogs. Meanwhile, ticks pose a large threat for both humans and pets and can easily ruin your summer fun. 

While flea and tick medication can help protect your furry friends, there is an alternative to help keep these pests out of your home and garden. There are certain plants that repel ticks and fleas, making your springs and summers more enjoyable. Keep reading for a complete list of these helpful plants. 

1. Chamomile


Besides being a relaxing component in your favorite tea, chamomile is a great plant that repels ticks. Chamomile produces a strong scent that is slightly earthy and has many health benefits, such as calming digestive issues and reducing inflammation. This yellow flower with white petals will look beautiful with the existing herbs in your garden. 

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

2. Eucalyptus


Having a eucalyptus plant in your garden is a great way to keep ticks and fleas at bay. Although this plant will naturally produce strong bug-repelling oils on the leaves, you can also crush and boil the leaves to create a spray to fully cover your yard. 

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

3. Lavender


Lavender can offer so much more than just calming properties; it can also help you with flea and tick problems. This is a common plant that repels fleas due to its strong scent. With many varieties to choose from, you’ll be sure to find one that’s perfect for your growing climate.

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

4. Rosemary


Rosemary is used for cooking, but did you know that it’s also a great insect repellent? This can be grown inside or outside in a garden and can provide a few feet of protection around each plant. For added flea and tick protection, you can crush the plants and rub the oil on your pet’s fur. 

  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to both dogs and cats

5. Catnip


If you’re asking yourself, “what smells do ticks hate?” Well, look no further than catnip. Catnip has an intense minty smell that ticks and fleas, among other bugs, dislike. Cats love the smell of this plant and you’ll be sure to love the attractive flowers that resemble lavender. While catnip can be easy to grow, it can quickly take over a garden bed, so do prune when necessary.

  • Toxicity: Can be toxic to cats in excessive quantities

6. Sage


Sage is another example of an herb that doubles as a natural pest repellent. Boasting a familiar strong scent, the sage plant enhances its smell the moment you walk by. Consider planting it in your herb garden or along walkways to keep ticks and other pests out of your yard and home. 

  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to both dogs and cats

7. Thyme


Thyme is related to oregano and is a great option for a tick repellent plant. The sweet lemon smell that you enjoy for cooking is a deterrent for fleas and ticks. Consider planting it in your herb garden or along walkways to transfer the scent onto your clothes when you walk by.  

  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to both dogs and cats

8. Lemon Balm

lemon balm

Lemon balm is generally used to fight off stress but can also be used to repel most insects, including ticks and fleas. As the name suggests, this plant emits a lemon scent that grows in intensity as it matures. For added flea and tick protection, you can crush the leaves of this plant to rub on your clothes or your dog’s fur. 

  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to both dogs and cats

9. Mint


Growing mint in your garden has many advantages. Not only does it help cure nausea but it’s also a great ingredient for your kitchen. Even better, if you rub the leaves of the mint plant, you can keep pests like mosquitoes, ticks and fleas away from your yard. To use as a spray, feel free to boil mint leaves in water and spray over the entire yard.

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

10. Lemongrass


Lemongrass is a great option to repel bugs such as ticks, fleas and mosquitoes as it’s closely related to the citronella plant. This lemon-scented plant can also be used in soups and salads. Be aware: Don’t consume lemongrass if you’re an expectant mother, as it can potentially cause birth defects.  

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

11. Rue


Rue is another herb that is a great addition to your garden as it is an excellent tick repellent. These low-growing plants grow well both indoors and outdoors; if growing indoors, consider planting with catnip. Cats notoriously don’t like the scent of rue so if you plant with catnip, the cats will be sure to leave it alone. 

  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to both dogs and cats

12. Holy Basil

holy basil

Another plant that has medicinal value, the holy basil shrub has a strong, sweet smell that pests do not like. Because this bush’s leaves are sensitive, its scent will transfer to you if you brush against it. You can also crush the leaves to release the oils for a stronger release of the pest repellent. 

  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to both dogs and cats

13. Yarrow


Yarrow is another herb that works wonders for pest control. This non-toxic plant is actually considered stronger than DEET when it comes to mosquito and tick repellents, making it one of the best options for your garden. While the most common color of yarrow is white, these flowers also bloom in yellow and red.  

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

14. Wormwood


The wormwood plant, while not initially known for its insect-repelling powers, has come to be known as a very effective way to keep pests and ticks out of your yard. This can grow to be up to three feet high, which makes it a perfect option for planters or as a border. Outside of pest repellents, wormwood has medicinal properties when taken properly and can help with an upset stomach and loss of appetite. 

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

15. Garlic


You may not realize it, but your favorite cooking ingredient is also a great way to keep ticks out of your yard. The strong, familiar smell is a deterrent for garden pests, and growing your own garlic is a great way to incorporate it into your cooking. 

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

16. Pennyroyal


The pennyroyal is a relative to the mint plant. Although it’s small in size, this purple flower repels garden pests such as ticks and mosquitoes. This is an easier plant to grow, but ensure that you watch out for overgrowth. 

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

17. Beautyberry


True to its name, the beautyberry has beautiful purple berries that make for a great addition to your garden. This is an exceptional tick repellent plant and can also aid in warding off mosquitoes. The beautyberry can grow pretty quickly so you might need to prune it more often than other bushes. 

  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to both dogs and cats

18. Rose


Roses are a surprising addition to this list, as you might not think that they provide anything other than beauty. Roses provide excellent tick protection when they are in full bloom. When roses bloom, the sweet smell they emit is an instant deterrent for insects, keeping your garden pest-free. 

  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to both dogs and cats

19. Chrysanthemum


Chrysanthemums can be planted in your garden or grown in a planter. This fall plant provides a chemical that shuts down flea and tick nervous systems, keeping them at bay while you enjoy your time outdoors. For maximum effectiveness, try planting along the borders of your yard; they come in many different colors so feel free to plant a few different ones!

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

20. Fleabane Daisy

fleabane daisy

The tall fleabane daisy is an excellent addition to the back of flower gardens. When mature, this plant emits a mild scent that deters fleas, ticks and gnats from your yard. If you’re out and about in the yard and need extra protection, feel free to crush the leaves and rub them onto your skin.

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

21. Sunflower


Sunflowers can grow large — over ten feet tall. Besides the “wow” factor that these bring to your yard, they also provide vitamin B1 within the seeds. Crushing up the sunflower seeds to release the natural oils is a great way to keep pests away. In addition, you can add sunflower seeds to your diet to ensure you’re receiving the essential B1 nutrients that ticks don’t like, making them less likely to bite. 

  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to both dogs and cats

22. Geranium


Smelling of lemon, the geranium blooms in bright colors with large blossoms. Because they contain some citronella oil, these not only keep ticks and fleas away but also help with mosquito control. Feel free to grow these in hanging baskets or in your garden, as they can thrive in either.

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

23. Marigold


Marigolds are the perfect flower for beginner gardens as they are naturally easy to grow. Fun fact: They’re also the October birth flower! Marigolds emit a soft, sweet scent that helps keep ticks, fleas and even lice away from your yard. Unlike some plants, these naturally produce this effect; feel free to grow indoors and outdoors for full protection. 

  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to both dogs and cats

24. Pansy


Pansies don’t have a strong scent but still have a large enough impact to keep pests away. These bright flowers can grow practically anywhere — containers, baskets or flower beds will all be a great place to plant pansies. These do have to be regularly trimmed to maintain their health, so keep an eye on their growth. 

  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to both dogs and cats

25. Hosta


Hostas are a great perennial plant option for your yard for a few reasons. These tall bushes are easy to maintain and attract wildlife like hummingbirds. There’s no real smell associated with hostas, but be assured that ticks generally try to keep away from them. These are low maintenance, making them perfect for beginner gardens. 

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

26. Citronella Grass

citronella grass

Citronella grass, similar to lemongrass, has a very noticeable lemon fragrance that fleas and ticks hate. In addition to keeping these pests out of your yard, it can also help keep mosquitoes away from your summer fun. While this does best in warmer climates, you can easily grow indoors when the temperatures fall. 

  • Toxicity: Toxic to both dogs and cats

27. Venus Fly Trap

venus fly trap

Venus fly traps can be intimidating to grow but can be very helpful to have around the house. These plants dissolve insects like fleas and ticks that come in contact with sticky substances on their mouths after trapping them. Make sure to put them in a spot that gets plenty of sunlight and to give them plenty of water to keep pests out of the house.  

  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to both dogs and cats

While these plants that repel ticks and fleas will be a great addition to your home and garden, there are other steps you can take to ensure a pest-free spring and summer. Keeping your lawn short is a key way to make certain pests stay out, as they typically thrive in longer grass. In addition, keeping your yard clear of debris and too much water will help keep you outdoors enjoying the sunshine without the worry of tick or flea bites.