Don’t know about you, but I don’t know a lot of people who like cockroaches. While I try not to kill the ones I found, I’d like to not have to deal with them at all.
And I also don’t like to hire exterminators. They use harsh chemicals that contaminate my home and can be dangerous for my family and pets.
Dealing with a similar problem? Let’s together see what remedies Mother Nature has granted us to prevent roaches from invading our space.
Planting any or all of the following 8 plants is a sure fire way to repel cockroaches and ensure they don’t come crawling in. Let’s get to it!
1 – Bay Leaves
Many herbs repel cockroaches due to their strong scent. Bay leaves are by far the most effective herb at keeping away these creepy bugs.
Bay leaves have a compound called eucalyptol, which is most commonly found in eucalyptus. In addition to flavoring mouthwash and soothing coughs, eucalyptol also repels bugs and is even used in some veterinary medicine to treat parasites.
Even though bay leaves have a mild flavor that most humans barely notice in soups and other aromatic foods, cockroaches despise it. Even a few leaves are enough to keep those critters away.
2 – Catnip
Plant catnip and you’ll make your cats happy and keep roaches away.
Catnip is extremely effective against cockroaches. In fact, researchers at Iowa State University discovered that catnip is even more effective initially at repelling cockroaches than DEET!
The best part is that catnip manages to repel cockroaches by completely natural means, without any of the harmful side effects contained in DEET. That is because its essential oils contain the chemical compound nepetalactone, a naturally occurring roach repellent.
Catnip is also effective against other pests, such as ants and weevils. Even if you don’t have cats, you may still want to grow catnip to protect your home against crawling invasions.
3 – Chrysanthemums
Chrysanthemums can add a lovely pop of color to your garden—but they don’t just look pretty, they’re also a natural cockroach repellent. And the reason why chrysanthemums are anathema to roaches is because they contain pyrethrum.
Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide that occurs in several flowers in the pyrethrum family, which includes chrysanthemums.
Chrysanthemums are also useful because they offer long-lasting protection. Their growing season is relatively long and stretches into October, covering most of the periods when cockroaches tend to be active.
4 – Cucumbers
Although cucumbers have a mild scent to humans, there is something about their odor that cockroaches hate. Scientists are still unsure why cockroaches are repelled by the scent of cucumber or what compound makes them behave that way.
But we don’t really need to know why cucumbers repel cockroaches – just that they work.
Pro tip: Growing cucumbers may not be enough to keep cockroaches away because the scent of the whole plant is too mild even for these very sensitive bugs.
The odor of a cucumber really shines when you peel it. So, strategically placing a few slices or even leaving peelings in the trash bin will keep the bugs away.
5 – Hedge Apples
Hedge apples, also known as osage oranges, are neither apples nor oranges. This distant relative of the mulberry tree is not edible at all, despite its fruity nicknames.
However, hedge apples have other uses besides food. Both the tree and the fruit are strong cockroach repellents.
Some grocery stores sell hedge apples because many people like to use this knotty green fruit as decoration. If you cannot find the individual fruits, you can try planting your own small tree.
Some people believe that hedge apples can also repel other bugs, such as spiders and mosquitos. In fact, the same researchers from the catnip study isolated Osage orange essential oils and found that they do have repelling properties.
6 – Aromatic Plants
Cockroaches are repelled by certain chemical compounds mentioned above, such as pyrethrum and eucalyptol. They also have strong aversions to certain odors.
You can repel cockroaches with many common household herbs and kitchen plants. Here are a few that are the most effective:
- Garlic: Garlic’s pungent odor sometimes repels humans, so it will be even more effective against cockroaches who have a stronger sense of smell. Planting garlic in your garden, crushing cloves and leaving it around the house, or sprinkling garlic powder will repel cockroaches.
- Mint: Mint, particularly peppermint, is another cockroach repeller with a potent smell. Planting a few sprigs of peppermint or using essential oil will keep cockroaches out of your garden and home.
- Rosemary: The fresh odor of rosemary is too much for cockroaches. A pot of this plant or even a few sprigs keeps these bugs away.
7 – Lavender
Lavender has such a pleasant smell to us, so it’s no wonder roaches hate it. The plant is rather giving as it does more than just repel roaches, too. It helps promote a good night’s sleep and can be used in many recipes.
Lavender is also incredibly versatile. You can use lavender-based cleaning products, for instance, and make sure your house stays smelling nice and roach-free.
Try to fill up pouches with dried lavender flowers, for example, or planting lavender-oil-soaked cotton balls around entry points as well.
If that all sounds like trouble, the lavender plant is easy to take care of and looks insanely pretty. Just plant a few around your space to keep the roaches away.
8 – Lemongrass
Lemongrass, much like hedge apples, repels not only roaches, but other bugs and crawlies too – like pesky mosquitoes, for instance. But unlike the awful-smelling hedge apples, the scent of lemongrass is divine.
I usually like to add a few drops of lemongrass essential oil to some water for an all-natural pesticide. I might add other essential oils to that if handy, such as mint or lavender. You end up with a fragrant solution that keeps the home fresh and with no roaches around.
How to Use Plants to Keep Cockroaches Away
Besides keeping whole plants, there are a few ways you can prepare natural cockroach repellents using the plants listed above.
One of the most effective is to keep living, growing plants around. Whether you plant osage orange or chrysanthemums in your garden beds or keep a few strategically placed potted herbs in your kitchen, they will keep roaches away without needing renewing.
You can also strategically place leaves of certain plants such as catnip in areas that attract cockroaches. Or, crush up plants using a mortar and pestle and sprinkle that powder along baseboards or other areas where bugs congregate.
Finally, you can make a liquid repellent out of some plants, such as mint, by boiling it into a tea. Pour the liquid in a spray bottle and you have a natural insecticide.
I can safely tell you that planting or keeping around any of the 8 varieties above will keep the creepy crawlers at bay. If you’re like me, you don’t want to deal with harsh chemicals and put yourself or your loved ones at risk.
Simply buy your home one of the plants above (I suggest the herbs because they benefit you on two levels) and watch as no roach dares enter your space again!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.