Wasp repellent plants: expert tips to keep wasps away


For many years now, I have been growing various vegetables as a hobby in my spare time, which is what ultimately led me to studying horticulture. I find it fascinating to watch as plants grow from seed to fruit and to then finally be able to make use of the literal fruits of my labour.

Favourite fruit: Strawberries and cherries
Favourite vegetable: Potatoes, tomatoes and garlic

Wasps can be quite annoying, especially in summer. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were plants to keep them away? Find out about the best wasp repellent plants.

Close-up of wasp on red apple
There are several ways to ward off pesky wasps [Photo: Zheltyshev/ Shutterstock.com]

Doesn’t everyone like to sit on the terrace with some fruit juice and enjoy the sun in peace? Very often however, you will probably be disturbed by the small striped insects known as wasps. When they sting it can be extremely painful and not to mention even dangerous for allergy sufferers. Needless to say, many probably wish to get rid of the wasps and to keep them away from the garden as much as possible.

How to get rid of wasps

The internet offers a plethora of tips and tricks on how to get rid of wasps, but how can you really tell which ones are truly effective in combatting these little beasts? First of all, it is important to know that there are many different wasp species. Some of them nest in the ground and others build their characteristic nests on eaves and similar places. Chasing wasps away completely from the garden is basically impossible, since there can always be a nest hidden somewhere out of sight. Nevertheless, there are specific smells and plants that can have a deterrent effect on the little animals. Unfortunately, in some cases completely removing the wasps’ nest is the only way of getting some peace. It should be noted however, that the repelling effect of plants often no longer suffices once strongly attracting scents, that come from desserts for instance, come into play. Besides, it is certain that simply placing particular plants or smells in your garden will not suffice for completely driving wasps out of their nest.

Wasp next to small jam jar
Even the best tips for keeping wasps away won’t help if there are strong, attractive smells about [Photo: BarneyPhotos/ Shutterstock.com]

Wasp repellent plants

Essential oils are amongst the smells that will help to give you some peace from wasps. Simply place herbs such as lavender (Lavendula), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) or mint (Mentha) in your garden as wasps will be repelled by the essential oils released from these plants. In order to be left alone while enjoying an afternoon coffee on the terrace, you can set up an aroma lamp and fill it with some water and essential oils. The latter can be extracted from the plants mentioned above and their intense smell should keep the wasps away. But unfortunately, as soon as the smell of the oils is masked by another scent, the effect of this method will diminish immediately. Basil (Ocimum basilicum), tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and garlic (Allium sativum) are also said to have a deterrent effect against wasps. Some chopped garlic cloves should give off enough smell to keep the little insects away. However, as already mentioned, if other strong enticing scents mask the garlic smell, the effect will not be long-lasting. Another way to make wasps feel uninvited is to place a potted basil plant on the table of your balcony for instance. On top of that, if you choose to plant tomatoes, it will not only have a deterrent effect on wasps but will also keep away mosquitoes and many other insects, since they can’t stand the smell of tomatoes either.

Essential oils next to essential oil burner
Using an essential oil burner with the right essential oils can help deter unwanted insects [Photo: ORLIO/ Shutterstock.com]

Geraniums (Pelargonium) or hyacinths (Hyacinthus), for instance, are amongst some of the ornamental plants that deter wasps. The scent of these beautiful flowers is excellent for driving wasps away. These plants enrich the garden with their beautiful colours and, at the same time, let you benefit from their repellent effect on wasps.

Extra tip: A decorative way to repel wasps is to use some sort of homemade scent balls. Simply cut open a lemon, a lime or an orange and then lard it with cloves. This little trick is not only supposed to be useful against wasps but it is also said to deter mosquitoes. However, it only works as long as everything is still fresh and emits the insect-repelling scent.

Further tips on how to deal with wasps in the garden

In order to be left in peace, consider these little tips and tricks when dealing with wasps. Behaving correctly is particularly important. This includes the following points:

  • Do not fidget around and try to avoid hectic movements
  • Do not try to hit the wasps
  • Dead wasps can still hurt you with their sting, so do not crush them
  • Fragrances in perfumes, sunscreen or aftershave can attract wasps and sometimes even make them aggressive, so use these products sparingly, especially when gardening
  • Sweat also attracts wasps, so shower immediately after sports or gardening activities
Close-up of wasp on flower
When dealing with wasps, it is important to behave appropriately [Photo: kim takhyz-sviridov/ Shutterstock.com]

It is not only your personal behaviour that can help to keep the wasps away but you can also take some measures in the garden in order to avoid unwanted visits from wasps. Here are some more tips that can be useful to ward wasps off:

  • Do not leave sweet food or drinks lying around
  • Always cover food and drinks if you intend to eat them outdoors
  • You should be particularly careful with drinks. It is very important to cover them and preferably use a straw in order to prevent from swallowing the insects accidentally
  • Wasps like to nest in rotten wood. Remove such pieces of wood from your garden
  • Wasps can be distracted by various smells. Sweet desserts and overripe fruit are very effective in this aspect
  • Fallen fruit is magnetic to wasps, so remove it immediately and do not let it rot on the ground