As you can probably tell from the photo above, flies are unsightly creatures. And not only are they not the prettiest peaches on the tree, but they’re also incredibly pesky.
During the warm months – the seasons when you and your family are looking to enjoy the days outside – flies are relentlessly landing on your food, buzzing by your ears, and running races on your face and arms.
In this article, we’ve made it our mission to save your picnics and family gatherings by bringing you 21 of the best plants that repel flies!
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
1. Venus Flytrap
Perhaps the most commonly used plants by homeowners to repel flies, the Venus Flytrap is a fly-eating machine. The floral red interior and rims lined with sensory hairs secrete sweet nectar that tricks flies into thinking they’ve found a treat.
Once the fly brushes against the sensory hairs, the mouth of the plant snaps shut in less than a single second, trapping the fly inside. Acidic fluids in the Venus Flytrap then bubble up, digesting the fly alive and slowly absorbing the nutrients from its body.
Placing a potted Venus Flytrap (or two) around your outdoor seating area is a surefire way to noticeably lower your home’s fly population. Plus, the Venus Flytrap looks incredibly interesting and will definitely add to your outdoor decor.
You can find Venus Flytraps at your local plant nursery or through Amazon.
2. Sweet Woodruff
This delightfully fragranced plant adorned with brilliant white blossoms smells of cinnamon, honey, and vanilla. Woodruff is quite the invasive plant and will take over your entire garden if you’re not careful. Although fastgrowing plants can be a nuisance, if you’re looking to repel flies, having Sweet Woodruff cover areas of your yard may be a positive thing.
Their fly-repelling properties are extremely potent – so potent, in fact, that simply sprinkling dried Woodruff around your home entrances is enough to ward off flies (and other insects).
Planting Sweet Woodruff near porches and decks is enough to keep the flies at bay. But, as we mentioned above, drying their umbrella leaves and hanging (or crushing and sprinkling) them near home entrances is also an effective fly deterrent.
You can find Sweet Woodruff seeds at your local plant nursery.
The bright yellow blooms of the Tansy plant is enough to make a fly’s skin crawl. Though vibrant and fragrant, the Tansy can be irritating to people and pets – and especially to children and those with sensitive skin.
This is also not an edible fly-repelling herb, as some of the options on our list. The Tansy should never be consumed (by your children or pets) and it’s best to avoid even brushing up against them.
We recommend planting Tansy’s in pots and placing them in higher up areas around your home or outdoor seating areas.
You can find Tansy seeds at your local plant nursery.
4. Bay Laurel Plant
Not only are Bay leaves delicious and great for flavoring Italian dishes, but they’re also excellent fly-repellers. The delectable scent of Bay is enough to make our mouths water – but to flies, the smell is overpowering and revolting.
Simply having these plants around will scare off flies. Bay plants work best to deter flies when multiple leaves are gathered and placed in close proximity to an outdoor seating area or home entrances and windows.
You can find Bay Laurel plants at your local nursery or online through Amazon.
Marigolds are gorgeous flowers painted with various reds, oranges, and yellows. Gardeners adore these flowers because they’re vibrantly colored and easy to maintain and grow. You’ll find that even the blackest of thumbs can turn bright green when Marigolds are involved.
Though gardeners love them, flies absolutely do not. Certain oils in a Marigold’s leaves – called terpenes – make the flower intolerable for flies and other insects, such as mosquitoes.
You can purchase Marigolds at your local plant nursery or through Amazon.
Don’t let the flashy orange flowers and large bundles of leaves fool you – Nasturtiums are wonderful companion plants that play nice with even the most delicate of vegetation.
Nasturtiums secrete a chemical into the air that is revolting to predacious bugs and flies. This plant would be perfect for planting near vegetable or fruit gardens to keep flies and other unwanted creepy crawlies away.
You can buy Nasturtiums at your local plant nursery or online through Amazon.
A chemical in mint (called mentha) is responsible for keeping flies from ever wanting to come near your home or garden. The Mentha compound is found in all varieties of mint, including Peppermint and Spearmint, and is what we recognize as the distinct minty scent of the plant.
Mints are hardy plants that will surely take over your yard if left alone, which is why we recommend that mints be planted in pots and placed near the home or outdoor seating area.
No matter if you simply have the plant hanging around your gathering places or if you use mint oils topically, mints are an effective fly-repellant.
You can find mint seeds at your local plant nursery.
If you have a constant problem of flies getting far too friendly with you, you can plant Wormwood in your yard and use it as a completely safe topical insecticide.
Wormwood contains compounds in the leaves that ward off flies when crushed and rubbed onto the skin. You can also utilize Wormwood by hanging or placing the dried leaves near your doorways, windows, or in the rooms of your home to keep flies from intruding.
You can find Wormwood seeds at your local plant nursery or online through Amazon.
9. Rue Plant
Rue is a strongly aromatic plant that will keep flies away just by being planted. These plants do incredibly well in soil that isn’t the best, and after they’re planted, they’ll reseed themselves after the first year (which means less work for you)!
With Rue, there is no need to apply its oils topically for it to act as a fly repellant. Simply grow these plants near your home or outdoor gathering place and watch as the flies disappear.
You can find Rue seeds at your local nursery or on Amazon.
Lavender is known for smelling up homes and gardens with its refreshing scent – and it’s that exact beautiful scent that tells flies to “buzz off!”.
This plant can be grown either indoors or outdoors. If you mainly want to keep flies out of the house, you can place a few lavender plants inside your home or near the entrances. Lavender is also beneficial when planted next to porches to keep flies from wandering too close when you’re outside.
Lavender is also one of the many aromatic plants that repel spiders, which is wonderful news for the arachnophobe.
You can purchase Lavender at your local nursery or through Amazon.
A favorite in Italian dishes, Basil is yet another delicious herb that has fly-repelling effects.
Basil is a great pot plant and will thrive indoors. It will take over your garden if left to spread, but when maintained it is a great companion plant that will keep flies and other insects away from your edibles, your flowers, and you.
It’s best to keep the Basil from flowering, otherwise, the fly-repelling benefits may not be as potent. If you begin to see your Basil plant flowering, snip off the branches with the buds and everything should be fine.
You can purchase Basil seeds at your local plant nursery or through Amazon.
12. Carnivorous Sundew Plant
One of the greatest enemies of fruit flies, the carnivorous Sundew would make a useful addition to any fruit-filled kitchen, garden, or patio.
The Sundew secretes alluring nectar that immediately attracts flies. Once the fly is lured in, the Sundew intraps it with its sticky tentacles, killing the insect within 15 minutes. A Sundew will then begin to digest the buzzing pest, taking a week or two before its body is fully absorbed.
Not only are Sundews effective fly-killers, but they’re also unique to look at, making for an odd household plant that will grab your family’s and your guest’s attention.
You can find Sundews at your local plant nursery or on Amazon.
13. Fly-Eating Pitcher Plant
The final carnivorous plant on our list, the Pitcher Plant is a trusty fly-trapper. Unlike the Sundew, which sticks to and coils around its prey, or the Venus Flytrap, which snaps its jaws shut; the Pitcher Plant is quite the lazy carnivore. It doesn’t really do much, but sit, and wait.
Similar to its carnivorous buddies, the Pitcher Plant secretes sweet nectar that is irresistible to pesky flies. A digestive liquid lies in the pit of the plant. Once a fly lands on the sticky substance of the Pitcher Plant, they slowly fall towards the pooled liquid and are digested.
You can buy Pitcher Plants at your local nursery or through Amazon.
14. Clove Buds and Clove Oils
Among all the plants that repel flies, Cloves are one of our favorites. Their distinct smell reminds us of Thanksgiving and Christmas – a scent that warms our hearts and homes.
But to flies, the adored aroma of Cloves is nothing to reminisce over. Dried Clove buds and Clove essential oils are effective fly-repellants. Placing Clove buds in a slice of citrus fruit or in a bowl will deter flies from coming inside your home or near your outdoor seating space.
You can also dab a few drops of Clove essential oil onto your skin, or soak a thin rag and hang it wherever you’d like to repel flies.
You can purchase clean, organic Clove essential oil on Amazon.
Chives are great additions to salads, soups, and various other dishes. But did you know that they’re also wonderful companion plants for vegetable gardens?
These plants, with their ripe scent of onion, repel carrot flies and other vegetable-eating insects. They play nicely with all plants, so there are no worries when it comes to placing them near more delicate vegetation.
And if you don’t mind smelling like onion, you can also rub these plants on your skin to keep flies (and maybe even people) from coming near you.
You can purchase Chives at your local plant nursery or through Amazon.
Lemon-scented anything is almost always an effective insect repellant. Which is why Lemongrass works so well to scare off flies.
This lemony plant is perfect for gardens and landscaping, as their bushy leaves can fill up any vacant spaces. Planting them in beds around your home is a great way to ensure that flies won’t come near or make their way into your personal space.
You can purchase Lemongrass at your local plant nursery.
17. Cinnamon and Cinnamon Oils
Yet another plant to remind us of the holidays, Cinnamon (though commonly used to fight off ants) is an excellent fly-repeller.
Placing Cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon in a bowl inside your kitchen or on your patio is sure to keep flies at bay. But more effective than that is Cinnamon essential oil. Cinnamon essential oil is more concentrated, making the scent stronger and irritable to flies.
Pour some Cinnamon essential oil onto a thin rag, place it where you want to deter flies, and voila! You’ve got yourself a wonderfully working fly repellant.
You can purchase clean, organic Cinnamon essential oil through Amazon.
Eucalyptus has been praised for centuries for its healing properties and since the 1940s, it’s been recognized as an effective insecticide.
The strong scent from the Eucalyptus tree leaves is enough to deter flies on its own, however, Eucalyptus essential oil is much more concentrated and potent.
Applying a few dabs of the oil onto the skin can prevent flies from coming in close proximity to you.
You can purchase clean, organic Eucalyptus essential oil through Amazon.
19. Cayenne Pepper (As a Spray)
Cayenne Pepper is an extremely spicy pepper. When used in dishes, only a small amount is utilized to add a bit of heat. This pepper is so irritating, in fact, that flies can’t stand it.
The best way to use Cayenne as a fly-repellant is with a spray. Simply mix powdered Cayenne with water and spray it near your porch or around the outside of your windows and doors. The strong odor will deter flies and other insects.
Be careful not to inhale the solution or get the solution in your eyes or on broken skin. Always wash your hands after spraying.
You can purchase organic ground Cayenne Pepper through Amazon or at your local health food store.
20. Cucumber Slices
Yes – Cucumbers can be used to repel flies. Who knew?
Simply slice a few cucumbers and place them in any place that you don’t want flies to feel welcome. This will ward off the buzzing pests and turn your property into a no-fly zone.
(Did you catch the double meaning?)
If you’d like to grow your own fly-fighting Cucumbers, you can purchase seeds at your local plant nursery or through Amazon.
21. Fresh Orange (Peel)
Previously, when we covered Cloves, we mentioned that Cloves could be placed inside a slice of citrus fruit to repel flies. That’s because citrus fruits, such as oranges, are too potent for a fly’s senses.
Cutting up and placing a fresh orange peel near you when you’re outside can deter flies from landing on your food or your skin. You can also place orange peels on your window sills to prevent flies from flying through the open entrance.
Let’s Talk Fly Prevention
Now that we’ve covered the plants that repel flies, we’re going to go over some other precautions you can take to keep flies from making your home, theirs.
Firstly, flies love trash. This is a no-brainer, as we often see flies swarming our garbage cans or food that’s been left out for more than 5 minutes. So if you want to keep flies out of your home as much as possible, remember not to leave exposed food out or trash in the bin too long. Always take the day’s trash out to avoid flies finding their way to your kitchen.
Flies are also attracted to animal waste. If you have an indoor cat or litterbox, be vigilant to clean the box frequently. Also, clean under your kitchen appliances to get rid of any debris that may attract flies and prompt them to breed in your home.
Lastly, and possibly the most simple, if you’d like to keep flies out of your home be sure to not leave doors or windows open for extended periods of time. You can also place screens on your doors and windows to prevent flies from entering if you like to keep them open during warmer months.
Flies are gross and annoying, and having them swarm your home and garden is less than ideal. Fortunately, there are quite a few plants that repel flies!
We’ve covered 21 of those wonderful plants that repel flies, as well as some precautions you can take to prevent these unwanted visitors. Hopefully, we’ve given you a few ideas of how you can ward off flies in your own home effectively!