7 Houseplants That Repel Flies

Flies can be a real problem around the house. Aside from being a health hazard, they’re also pretty annoying and a pain to get rid of. That is unless you have houseplants that repel flies!

Not only do these plants have the ability to make your house inhospitable to flies, but some of them also have the added benefit of being delicious cooking herbs. Try planting Mint, Basil, Bay Laurel, Rosemary, Catnip, Citronella Grass, or Rue to control the fly problem you have.

So let’s get into each one of these herbal plants and how to take care of them while they take care of your house!

1.  Mint


Peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, sweet mint, or citrus mint? Doesn’t matter! That’s because all of these varieties of mint can safely and effectively repel insects.

Thanks to the aromatic compound called menthol that flies don’t like the smell of, you can keep your house bug-free, all while keeping it smelling nice and fresh.

Caring for a mint plant requires little fuss. It can grow in almost all soil types, but does require a lot of water to thrive. It does well in indirect light since direct sunlight can burn the delicate leaves.

Just be careful not to plant it in the same container as other plants. Mint has a tendency to take over the nutrients in the soil, suffocating other plants in the process.

2.  Basil

Basil plants are close cousins of the Mint family. They, too, have a strong, fragrant scent that attracts humans and repels flies with the same intensity. Sweet Basil, the most common variant for its culinary uses, is a staple in Italian cuisine.

You can get Basil plants that have a variety of shapes, colors, and scents. They can have smooth, shiny leaves, or dull, crinkled ones. Their colors can vary between bright green and dark purple, with some having deep or silvery green leaves.

Given the right circumstances, Basil plants can thrive and be ready for picking in about six months. You can do that by nipping the buds right off the stem to encourage more growth. Don’t discard those leaves! They make for an amazing addition to tomato sauce.

Basil does super well in warm, bright conditions. That’s why you should let it have at least eight hours of direct sunlight. Unless you live somewhere with temperatures exceeding 80°F, then partial shade is preferable.

Plant your Basil in rich soil with good drainage because you’ll need to water it frequently. If the soil gets boggy, you could face problems like root rot.

Related: 7 Houseplants That Like the Dark

3.  Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel is the source of Bay Leaves used for cooking. It’s also an excellent plant for repelling insects, thanks to the aromatic compounds, like eugenol, in the tree and leaves.

The Laurel tree grows outdoors as a large tree that can reach up to 60 feet tall. However, it responds well to pruning and can be kept as a three-foot houseplant. The leaves are tough and leather, with a beautiful shiny green color.

Caring for Bay Laurel requires sun exposure to help the plant produce the most flavorful (and potent) leaves. That said, it can do well in the shade. Just make sure it isn’t placed near a draft of hot air from heating or air conditioning vents.

The great thing about Bay Laurel is that it can grow well in all types of soil as long as it drains well. As for the plant’s water needs, try to let the soil dry between waterings, but be careful not to let it go too long. Laurel roots are quite shallow and can get too dry sometimes.

4.  Rosemary


As yet another fragrant culinary herb, Rosemary is an excellent choice for a fly-repelling houseplant. The gorgeous, needle-like leaves release their aroma in the air, letting everyone know there’s a new boss in town!

Rosemary plants are prolific and can get quite large indoors. That’s only the case if you provide the plant with enough sunlight, though. It requires at least six hours of direct light exposure for health, and even more for strength.

Since it originated in the desert-scapes of the Mediterranean, it does best in rather dry, sandy or loamy soil. To avoid overwatering them, just let the top few inches of the soil drain through before reaching for the watering can again.

5.  Catnip

Another relative of the Mint family is every feline’s best friend, Catnip. Aside from getting your cat mildly intoxicated, Catnip has the same aromatic compounds found in Mint that repel flies. That’s because they both belong to the Nepeta family.

Growing Catnip as a houseplant has some prerequisites. You should plant it in a larger container, at least eight x eight inches, to allow for root spread. Make sure the pot has enough drainage holes to prevent soggy soil.

Catnip does best when it receives a few hours of direct sunlight, otherwise, it’ll get weak and leggy. It can do well with any good-quality potting mix. Just make sure it’s not too dense and packed.

Water your Catnip plant when the top layer of the soil gets dry to the touch. Try to avoid overwatering, as standing water encourages root rot.

Also Check: 8 Houseplants That Like Coffee Grounds

6.  Citronella Grass

From the same family of culinary Lemongrass comes Citronella Grass, a plant mainly grown for its bug-repelling properties. The leaves contain citronella oil, which is used to guard against mosquitos after a lengthy extraction process.

You can get the same protection by rubbing the Citronella Grass leaves on your skin, or crushing them lightly to release the oil.

To get the best results out of your Citronella Grass plant, you should try to closely mimic its natural growing conditions. As a native of Sri Lanka, the plant is used to plenty of sun and rain, as well as high humidity.

Growing Citronella Grass isn’t at all complicated, though. All you need is direct sunlight for a few hours a day, a loamy, well-draining soil, and plenty of water. If your indoor air isn’t humid enough, mist your plant daily to keep it in good shape.

Remember not to let the plant sit in stagnant water, as this can make it rot.

7.  Rue


Rue is an ancient herb that was used for food as far back as Roman times. However, recent research suggests it’s less safe than it was once believed to be. That said, it’s excellent for repelling all sorts of pests, flies included.

Caring for Rue requires placing the plant in direct sunlight for at least six hours a day. It grows best in sparse soil with excellent drainage. So, soil add-ins like perlite, vermiculite, as well as sand, are all appreciated here.

It’s also quite drought-resistant once it’s established, so you only need to water it every now and then.

Just make sure pets and small children have no access to the plant, since they can get pretty sick from it.

Wrap-Up: 7 Houseplants That Repel Flies

Flies can be a problem that’s hard to get rid of, so looking for a natural repellent is a great idea. There are more than a few houseplants that repel flies out there. These include Mint, Basil, Bay Laurel, Rosemary, and more!

It’s no coincidence many of them have culinary properties. That’s mainly due to the fragrant aromatic compounds in the herbs acting as both flavor enhancement and insect repellent.

Luckily, though, even the most prolific of those plants won’t go to waste. You can simply snip the overgrowth of your Mint plant and make a delicious herbal tea. Should you choose Basil, you can make a wonderful pasta sauce.