Flies are relatively harmless, but they can be quite annoying. We’ll show you which plants drive flies out in the open air and out of living spaces.
Flies can rob us of the last nerve, whether it’s the really big buzzers or just the tiny fruit flies. Sometimes you get the feeling that flies have a sixth sense of when they can bother and annoy us the most. In principle, flies are more annoying than harmful, but thinking about where flies get around can sometimes be unsavory.
Flies have a very fine nose and can be deterred by different smells. The essential oils of various plants in particular often have a deterrent effect on them. Here you will find plants that have a deterrent effect on flies and are said to help drive away these pesky insects.
Trees against flies
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Have you ever noticed that in parks, walnut trees ( Juglans regia ) are often planted around seating and that it is also common on farms to plant walnuts on the farm? There is a simple reason for this because the essential oils of the walnut repel insects such as flies, bed bugs, and moths. Notice how many insects are floating around when you stand under a walnut tree – you won’t notice many. The leaves of the walnut give off these deterrents and if you crush the leaves a little and rub your arms with them, mosquitos and flies are sure to leave you alone for a while.
Another tree that helps against the little pests is the horse chestnut ( Castanea ). More precisely: The fruits of the chestnut effectively keep fruit flies away and can therefore be used in the kitchen. So if you go for a walk in autumn and see the beautifully shiny chestnuts lying on the ground, feel free to pack some and take them home with you. Simply place the chestnuts in the fruit bowl and be amazed at their effect – the fruit flies will avoid the bowl. You can also put the chestnuts next to the organic waste to keep the fruit flies away from there too. Here you can find more information about fruit flies and the best way to get rid of them.
Herbs against flies
You can easily recognize nasturtiums ( Tropaeolum majus ) by their round leaves and bright orange flowers. The nasturtium is an extremely robust plant that can also be cultivated in shady places and that still grows quickly. She is also a real all-round talent, as not only does her smell make flies run away, but also lets snails off the plant.
We also count a variety of mosquitoes among the flies here. These little insects are best kept off your throat with a lemony smell. Herbs with a lemony scent are, for example, lemon balm ( Melissa officinalis ), lemon verbena ( Aloysia thryphylla ), or lemongrass ( Cymbopogon citratus ). These fragrant herbs are also particularly suitable for refreshing teas and for seasoning various dishes and have a practical repellent effect on small flies and mosquitoes.
Other herbs that can be helpful against flies are aromatic mint. These can also be used in teas and many different dishes. Catnip (Nepeta cataria ) is particularly effective because it not only scares off house flies but also mosquitoes. Do not be surprised if velvet paws suddenly frolic in your garden, because they are not deterred by the mint-like flies, but rather magically attracted. They love to wallow in the mint and eat it – the catnip didn’t get its name for anything.
With the mints, you can also use peppermint ( Mentha x Piperita ) to repel flies. This can be put on in a small pot on the windowsill, where it gives off its refreshing smell and thus keeps annoying insects away. The typical smell of peppermint only comes into the air when the plant is injured, so it is worthwhile to pluck a leaf from time to time and rub it between your fingers. But also dried peppermint shoots on the windowsill are ideal for repelling flies.
Soothing, pleasantly scented, and helpful against flies – that can only be lavender ( Lavandula ). The wonderful purple flowers magically attract bees and butterflies, but successfully keep pests such as flies away.
The essential oils of lavender are responsible for this effect. With the lavender, however, always make sure to put it in a sunny place where the herb is protected from the wind. The lavender is also perfect for the windowsill to keep insects away and always ready to hand for us.
Many useful herbs can be found among the Mediterranean plants, including basil ( Ocimum basilicum ), which is not only supposed to deter flies and mosquitoes but can also deter wasps. Basil is very sensitive to its water supply, on the one hand, it must not be too wet, on the other hand, basil does not like drought. Otherwise, a sunny, warm place is sufficient for the basil to grow well. To benefit from the scent of basil to drive away flies, place the pot plant either on your windowsill or on your balcony table to be left alone by annoying insects.
Ornamental plants against flies
The classic among the balcony plants is the geraniums ( Pelargonium ), which enhance our balconies with their colorful flowers. Regular watering and a sunny spot are often enough to enjoy the flowers of the geraniums. The smell of geraniums repels many insects, including flies. You can find more information on the care of geraniums here in our special article on geranium care.
Another effective ornamental plant for repelling flies is the marigold ( marigold ). Its yellow-orange flowers add value to every bed and keep many insects away with their smell. Unfortunately, marigolds attract snails. You can also use this property for yourself to attract snails specifically to this one plant and thus protect the rest of your garden. The marigold has a double effect: on the one hand, it scares off flies and other insects and, on the other, it acts as a lure for snails.
You probably know the yellow umbel flowers of the tansy ( Tanacetum vulgare) from the roadsides. But as pretty as the plant is to look at, the smell of the beautiful flowers is a deterrent for many pests. You can set up tansy bouquets in your living space and keep annoying flies away. Marigolds ( Calendula officinalis ) have a similar effect – together with marigolds in a vase you can use their effect against flies twice. In the garden, marigolds are not only suitable for repelling flies but are also extremely popular with bumblebees and bees. Many of us know marigold primarily as an effective medicinal herb for wounds or dry skin.
If you are interested in medicinal plants with natural effects, please read our special article.
Carnivorous plants against flies
Other plants that can also help combat pesky little flies are carnivorous. You don’t scare off the flies but eat them right away. Carnivorous plants work in different ways, either with snap traps, trap pits, or sticky traps. As a rule, they only eat smaller mosquitoes and cannot do very much with large houseflies, but they are extremely interesting, which is why many have devoured them.
One of the most famous of these plants is the Venus flytrap ( Dionaea muscipula ), which uses a folding mechanism to catch its prey. With their special catch leaf, they can catch insects such as flies or ants, as this catch leaf can snap shut very quickly when it receives a stimulus. That is why the Venus flytrap is particularly suitable for larger mosquitoes: if the target sits on the hinged trap, it snaps shut. The mosquito is trapped and is then digested by the plant.
Unfortunately, the plant can only catch one mosquito per trap and is not suitable for comprehensive control of insect pests – because, after a maximum of seven catches, the individual leaves of the Venus flytrap die. Another problem is that the prey must not be larger than a third of the trap, otherwise, digestion will take too long and the plant will die from an excess of nutrients. Here you can find out more about the Venus flytrap and how to properly care for this plant.
Another type of carnivorous plant is pitcher plants ( Nepenthes ), which use trap pits to catch their prey. There are around 100 different types, all of which form different “pitchers”. The insects fall into these jugs, which contain the acidic digestive fluid, which then breaks them down and supplies the plant with its nutrients.
The third way in which carnivorous plants can get their prey and free us from annoying insects is shown by the sundew ( Drosera ). He catches his prey with a slightly different system. Because its leaves are full of glue glands on which the prey gets stuck and is caught.
Vegetables against flies
Tomatoes ( Solanum Lycopersicum ) are a must in almost every garden. Because they are not only extremely delicious, their smell also repels various insects – including flies. Mosquitoes also don’t like tomatoes at all and are deterred by the smell of the plant.
Beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris ) (regardless of whether they are runner beans or French beans) give off an intense scent and thus repel insects. The legumes are good for our digestion and can either be grown directly in the garden, but are also suitable as container plants. Here you will find a detailed overview of bean types, from tried and tested to new bean types that you may not be familiar with.
Plants against flies at a glance
Here are all the plants that drive away flies with their scent:
- Walnut tree
- Lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemongrass
- Mint, peppermint
- Carnivorous Plants
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