Plants that deter wasps - 10 plants to help rid your garden of these irksome creatures

Dine alfresco without wasps spoiling the party, thanks to these handy plants

Herb in planter
(Image credit: Getty)

Whether you're dining alfresco or simply relaxing in your favourite garden chair, the last thing you want is a pesky wasp buzzing close by. Knowing about the plants that deter wasps is a gamechanger for enjoying your garden without these irritable creatures.

Our garden ideas are unfortunately a hotspot for wasps, especially when you start eating outdoors. The reality of enjoying our dinner while admiring our patio ideas can quickly be spoilt by wasps, and whether you flap them away or stand rigidly still, they usually come back. Enter plants that deter wasps, which are a fabulously natural way of keeping wasps at bay. 

'Even when sunshine beckons, the thought of spending time outside and dining al fresco can be marred by an unwelcome visitor – the wasp!' says Daniel Carruthers, Grow Your Own Expert, Cultivar Greenhouses. 'Fortunately, there are some great plants you can choose which will deter wasps, while also smelling and looking wonderful.'

Adding plants that deter wasps to your garden has the double benefit of varying your planting ideas and keeping wasps away from the best outdoor furniture, so you can relax in peace. The question is, which plants will deter wasps effectively? We all know how persistent these creatures can be.

Plants that deter wasps

We've asked the experts to tell us about the plants that deter wasps, so you can lounge in your garden seating ideas without hearing an irksome buzz in your ear. Our list includes ten picks, and all of them are expert-approved.

1. Marigold

Marigolds in pots

(Image credit: Getty)

Top of the list of plants that deter wasps are marigolds. Aside from their beautiful yellow petals, the strong scent of marigolds keeps wasps at bay. Plant these in window boxes and wasps will be much less likely to come into the house through the window; just make sure to avoid the common window box mistakes when planting.

This Mixed Selection of French Marigolds, £24.95 at Amazon, come in a pack of 20, so you can spread these out in around any wasp hotspots.

2. Eucalyptus

eucalyptus plant

(Image credit: Hillier Garden Centres)

The fresh scent of eucalyptus might be pleasant for humans, but the experts say that wasps aren't a fan. 'Wasps generally don't like the strong scent of eucalyptus', says  Steve Chilton, Gardening Expert, LeisureBench. 'It's recommended to pot some eucalyptus plants, or even place some hanging eucalyptus branches near seating areas to help deter wasps.'

3. Mint

Mint plant growing in garden

(Image credit: Terry Winters)

If you've recently learnt how to grow mint from cuttings, the good news is that wasps will not want to come near if you plant these in your garden. The fresh, herby smell of mint will naturally deter the pests and keep them at bay. 

Regular mint, spearmint and peppermint will all do the job - browse the mint plants available at Amazon if you're yet to add this herb to your garden.

4. Basil

Basil plant in terracotta pot

(Image credit: Elho)

Like mint, basil is another of the best plants that deter wasps. It's the strong scent that will make them fly elsewhere, so place a couple of pots of basil around your garden and in your kitchen to stop the pests from bothering you. You can learn how to grow basil from shop bought easily enough, making this a cost-effective solution.

5. Geraniums

Geranium pink flowers

(Image credit: Hillier Garden Centres)

'Geraniums also have a strong scent about them, which acts as a natural wasp deterrent too,' says Grow Your Own Expert Daniel. 'Plant these in containers, window boxes or hanging baskets in key areas around your outside eating area to keep any unwelcome guests away.'

Learning how to grow geraniums will add a beautiful splash of pink to your garden, while keeping wasps away. It's a win-win. Try these Large Garden Ready Geraniums, £19.99 at Amazon, which are perfect for containers, baskets, patios and beds.

6. Lemongrass

Lemongrass plant

(Image credit: Getty)

The delicately fresh scent of lemongrass is something that many of us enjoy, but not wasps. These buzzy creatures won't hang around if you strategically place some lemongrass in your garden; we recommend planting it in pots around your outdoor kitchen ideas, so wasps won't be tempted to come near any food.

7. Mugwort

Mugwort plant

(Image credit: Getty)

'A powerful deterrent against wasps is Artemisia absinthium, more commonly known as wormwood or mugwort,' says Robert Collins, Pest Expert, MyJobQuote. 'Wasps are repelled by its astringent and bitter scent, as are many other insects.'

Mugwort is a great filler plant for larger gardens, as it can grow quite large in height and width. Plant in garden border ideas to keep wasps out of your outdoor space.

8. Thyme

Thyme in plastic pot

(Image credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole)

Thyme can go beyond adding earthy flavour to your dishes. It's another of the plants that deter wasps thanks to its herby scent. Learn how to propagate thyme as a cost-friendly solution to keeping those pesky wasps at bay. Plus, you can cut it back so it keeps on growing, then add the herb to your dinners. 

If you're wondering where to buy this plant, check Amazon's selection of thyme and you're sure to find something suitable.

9. Lavender

Close up of lavender plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

'While lavender does attract bees, it's believed to discourage wasps,' says Steve from LeisureBench. 'The calming aroma of lavender is pleasant to humans but it’s not preferred by wasps.'

This beautiful purple flower is a popular choice for both the home and garden, and its calming scent makes it one of the best plants for the bedroom. Learn how to grow lavender in your garden and wasps will no longer treat your outdoor space as a hot spot.

10. Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal

(Image credit: Getty )

The distinctive lilac flowers of the pennyroyal plant can be a strong deterrent for wasps and other insects. Again, it's the scent that puts them off, particularly the mentha scent, which is similar to mint and spearmint. 

You can buy pennyroyal seeds for just £2.55 from Amazon. Plant these around your garden and the number of wasps in your garden will be limited; around the perimeter and in front of garden fence ideas is best, to discourage them from coming in in the first place.

Now you know all the plants that deter wasps, which will you be planting up in your garden?

FAQs

What smell do wasps hate?

Aside from the scents from the plants that deter wasps - marigolds, geraniums, mint, lemongrass, basil etc. - there are other smells that wasps aren't keen on and will avoid. Gardening expert Steve Chilton lists the scents below as the top smells that wasps hate:

  • Citronella
  • Citrus
  • Pepper 
  • Cinnamon

Citrus in particular is a smell that wasps - and other insects - are not fond of. 'Wasps tend to dislike the strong, acidic scent of citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges', Steve explains. 'The smell of citrus peels or essential oils can be effective in deterring them. You can try placing citrus peels around areas where you want to keep wasps away, or use citrus-scented essential oils as a natural repellent.'

How do I keep wasps off my patio?

If you love eating out on your patio but wasps are currently spoiling the experience, there are some things you can do to reduce the problem. Be aware though that wasps are attracted to food, so it's difficult to stop them from coming to your patio completely if it's a spot for alfresco dining. 

'When you're enjoying meals or drinks outside, cover them with lids or use mesh food covers,' Steve says. 'This will help prevent the enticing aroma from attracting wasps. Be especially careful with sweet or sugary foods.'

You can also try placing some of the plants that deter wasps around your patio area. 'Common thyme has a strong scent that wasps hate,' suggests Pest Expert Robert. 'Other plants such as mint, spearmint, rosemary, basil and sage also have smells that wasps are repelled by.'

Finally, you can try hanging a fake wasp nest to repel the pests. 'Wasps are territorial and avoid areas that seem occupied,' says Steve. 'Hanging fake wasp nests, which you can find online or at garden centres, can help deter them from building nests near your patio.'

Katie Sims
Contributor

Katie Sims has been writing for Ideal Homes since spring 2022. She qualified from her Master’s in Media and Journalism in 2021 and has been writing freelance since. She has worked on Ideal Home’s ecommerce team where she researched the best home products on the market, and on the news team, researching the latest trends for feature pieces.