Ticks appear in ever increasing numbers in cities and in our gardens. They spread into our close surroundings through host animals such as mice, rats, hedgehogs, birds, and even our pets. Being carriers of dangerous diseases that also can infect humans, tick colonization in our yard and garden needs to be controlled. Fortunately, there are a number of plants that repel ticks.
The following plants do not only look beautiful in our garden, but also repel ticks and some other unwanted insects.
How do plants repel ticks?
Plants are a food source for many living organisms. But plants do not really want to be eaten. Since they can not run away, many plants use chemical weapons to repel attackers. They produce essential oils or even toxins. A well-known example is the tobacco plant and the powerful toxin nicotine that the plant produces. This kills most bugs that nibble on tobacco.
Many of the essential oils produced by plants effectively act as natural pesticides, keeping off many insects, mites and arachnids. The properties of the essential oils can be repellent, disturbing to the metabolism of the insect or even kill it. For most warm-blooded animals, these essential oils are harmless or often beneficial.
Some plants have antimicrobial feature, some others have anti-fungal features, and yet others have anti-parasitic feature. Using the properties of plants is a cheap and effective way to reduce tick populations. Here are some of the top plants that repel ticks.
Plants That Repel Ticks
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a useful plant that can be planted easily in your garden.
Besides finding many uses in your kitchen, the strong smell of garlic repels many many pests, including ticks from your yard. Simply plant garlic on several places in your garden. Apart from planting, you can also use crushed garlic cloves to help repel ticks in your garden.
Another plant against ticks is Catnip (Nepeta cataria). The intense smell of catnip deters ticks. It is a low growing plant that is easy to cultivate. Catnip has pretty flowers, which are similar to the lavender flowers. The ethereal oil produced in the flowers contains nepetalactone, a substance that can not be tolerated by many insects. Catnip is easy to grow and provides effective protection against ticks. Cats love the smell.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a well-known kitchen herb. It is an undemanding plant which is easy to cultivate in our gardens. It can even be grown in a pot on the balcony. Besides being used in the kitchen, Rosemary has traditionally been used as a healing plant.
The important property of Rosemary as one of the plants that repel ticks is its smell. The smell of this plant is pleasant for people and many animals, buts insects do not like the smell of rosemary at all. Other than ticks, this plant will also help driving fleas and mosquitos away. The oil from it has also tick repelling properties.
The next important plant in the list is the Rue (Ruta graveolens). This plant is an evergreen herb with metallic, blue leaves. This plant has many properties such as antimicrobial, antifungal, and insect repellent. These plants smell drive off bugs, fleas, ticks from your garden. Cats don’t like the smell of the plant. So if you also choose to plant Catnip in your garden, which cats like, you can drive them away again with Rue.
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is a bitter herb that has many traditional uses. Traditionally this plant was used to make tea but now, it is used as a perfect insect repellent. This plant can repel insects such as bugs, fleas, ticks, etc. This shrub grows up to three feet in height and has yellow colored flowers.
Chrysanthemum is one of the most popular gardens and balcony plants cultivated by many hobby gardeners for its pretty flowers, they belong to the daisy family. Over the years, thousands of varieties have been bred from single to multi-colored flowers.
Other than its flowers, the important feature of Chrysanthemum is its insect repellent property. This plant repels many insects such as fleas, ticks, bugs, moths, etc from your yard.
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) is another natural insect repellent. It is related to the mint family, it grows easy and spreads quickly. Just plant it in your garden in a couple of places along with other plants that repel ticks and you can reduce the number of unwanted pests. Pennyroyal is also quite effective in keeping mosquitos at bay.
To keep your yard safe from ticks and other unwanted pests, most of these plants have to flower first in order to produce essential oils that keep ticks away. Some plants winter over and will be effective also in the following years. Don’t just plant one kind of tick repelling plant but combine several plants to benefit from the various essentials oils these plants produce.
As much as those plants in your garden may help to curb the tick problem don’t forget to use personal tick repellent.