Monday, May 30, 2011

Garden Plants That Repel Ticks

By Linda Cole

Garden plants are a safe and natural way to control fleas and mosquitoes, but they can also be used to help repel ticks and keep tick carrying animals, like deer, out of your yard. I'd like to thank Frankie Furter, a very handsome black and tan dog, for inspiring this post. When I wrote my article on Garden Plants that Repel Fleas, Frankie asked if there were any plants that could help repel ticks. This article is especially for you, Frankie! I hope it gives you some ideas to help keep those nasty ticks out of your yard and your fur.

There hasn't been a lot of research done on ticks and garden plants, which is odd considering how much harm ticks can cause not only pets, but people too. Wild animals, especially deer, can carry ticks into your yard when they visit a garden for plants they are attracted to. Ticks can also be carried in the wind from a nearby grassy or wooded area, and they love moist and humid places. Finding just one tick, even on your pet, can give you that creepy feeling that something is crawling up your leg, into your hair.


There are many varieties of lavender. It's a perennial with a very nice smell that most people are familiar with. But as beautiful as this flower is, ticks, moths, mice, the pesky black fly, mosquitoes and fleas can all do without it.


Lemongrass is believed to be a plant that repels ticks. It's a good companion plant with lavender. You can eat lemongrass, and it's a popular ingredient in Vietnamese and Thai dishes. It does have a lemon smell, but depending on who you ask, the taste is a light hint of ginger for some or a mild lemon taste for others. It grows best in the southern U.S.; it can be grown up north, but will need to be taken inside during the winter.


Caution: All parts of this plant are toxic to dogs and cats. So if you have outside cats or have other cats that wander in your yard, it's best to not plant geraniums. Most dogs and cats will instinctively avoid plants that are toxic to them, but not all of them do. If you have a safe spot in your garden for geraniums, they are said to repel ticks. To help keep cats out of your garden, especially if you have plants that are toxic to them, you can plant rue. It's also a garden plant that repels fleas.

Members of the mint family

Catnip, sage and mints are all thought to help repel ticks from yards. The nice thing about catnip and all mints, like peppermint, chocolate mint or apple mint, is that they are perfectly safe to use around pets. They can be dried and spread in your pets’ bedding and around the house to help drive ticks and fleas out. If your pet eats part of the plant, it won't hurt them. Just remember, mints are invasive and will wander all over the yard if they aren't planted in pots, and you need to keep different varieties away from each other to keep them from cross pollinating.

Tips to help keep ticks out of your yard

Ticks like to hide in tall grass, so keeping your lawn mowed and tall grasses cut down around the areas where you and your pet like to hang out will help take away a tick's hiding spot. Creating a path of cedar chips around areas where your pet spends most of their time will stop ticks from getting in that area. Cedar chips are also good for repelling fleas, but they are toxic to pets, so if you use them, monitor your pet to make sure they aren't eating any chips. Planting catnip along the border of a cedar chip path is a perfect place for this plant, because it keeps it away from other garden plants that could be damaged if a cat decides to roll in the catnip. Lemongrass or any other of the above plants are also good border plants.

How to keep deer out of your yard

Not everyone wants a 10 foot fence around their yard just to keep deer out. However, planting the right plants in the right places can help keep deer at bay. They find their favorite food by smell, but you can place garden plants around the perimeter of your yard to help keep deer out. Good plants to use that repel deer include different varieties of sage, yarrow, oregano, lemon balm and black-eyed Susan. These plants have a strong odor that deer don't like, and they cover up the smell of garden plants deer like to eat. If they can't smell what they're looking for, deer will most likely avoid your yard. Keeping them out of your yard can help keep ticks out as well.

Photo: Audrey in the Garden, by Tapir Girl

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. Those are some good suggestions. I need to get started on planting things. My problem is that it is so hard to dig here since we have red clay and it is like bricks to dig in, so I have to put everything in pots. But I do want to try to get some of those things planted around my yard.

  2. Oh Miss Linda... thank you sooooooo much. I am fur sure gonna have my mom get some Apple Mint. She had that at the other place they lived and LOVE it fur tea and in some dishes. She did NOT know that it would help keep TICKS away!!! You are SOOOOOO very much Smart!! THANK YOU fur tellin this to us. SAFE fur US and GOOD fur Mom and Dad!! GRRRRREAT advice.

  3. Super handy info... thank you! I'm deciding what to plant in my yard and this is very helpful.

  4. Good to know and even better to know that I have every one of those planted in my garden!

  5. Remove a tick in less than 1 (one) minute.
    It’s now June of 2011 and it seems the ticks are plentiful this year in Ulster County New York. Whether it is because of the bountiful snowfall we had, providing plenty of moisture as it slowly melted, or the spring rains that are shortening our weeks to 4 days instead of 7, the tick population must be exploding. We have heard more reports of ticks on people and animals this year than we have in past years for an entire season.
    Did you know that ticks do not really have “a season”? Ticks can be active at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit even if it is in the middle of December.
    Do you have your “Tick Twister Pro”?
    Although the name can throw you off a bit the "Tick Twister Pro" does not twist anything. And it most certainly DOES NOT squeeze like tweezers. When used in the correct way the "Tick Twister Pro", distributed by Twist It Out of Port Ewen, NY, SPINs the entire tick. This spinning action stops the ticks anchoring mechanism, reverse barbs like that on a fish hook, from being able to hold the tick in place any longer. We have been using the Tick Twister and now the Tick Twister Pro since 2006 and have not had a "head" left in the skin, not even once. The ticks are also quite alive when removed making it very easy to have on hand when you decide if it needs to be tested for any diseases. SOME veterinarians will send ticks for testing at no cost to you. DO NOT put the tick between 2 pieces of scotch tape; instead put it in an empty pill bottle or the like. Anything you are not going to want to keep or reuse at some other time.
    In 2007 we went to Maryland and Assateague Island. We ended up with ticks all over our socks, sneakers, pants, legs and arms. Upon returning home we had our vet test one of the ticks, which we had kept in a tightly sealed, empty aspirin bottle. The lab called his office to find out why he, our vet, was sending a Lone Star tick to them from New York State. Travel trailers and camping equipment are great ways for ticks to move about and there were a lot of people camping, with and without pets, in Maryland when we went.
    Obviously we, at Twist It Out, do NOT recommend using tweezers to remove a tick.
    Why? Squeezing can cause the tick to move fluids from itself and into you (or your pet). This “regurgitation” is the substance which may contain the infectious diseases.
    We do not care how good a pair of tweezers claims to be or how fine the points are (finer is going to be weaker) TWEEZERS SQUEEZE. It isn’t any ones fault; it is just the nature of the way the tool was designed. So, please, don't use tweezers that squeeze the tick when you are trying to get one off yourselves or your animals.
    ANY swelling and redness, the dreaded “bulls eye” rash or flu like symptoms would warrant a visit to your own doctor.
    Be well and be safe everyone.
    Keep your animal loved ones safe too.

  6. Getting some lavendar today to place around my camper. Ticks are very bad this year.

  7. Most of the eco or petsafe sprays or lawn foggers contain some of these oils and always seem to contain rosemary, peppermint, and thyme oils.

    I can also say these oils have had no reactions from our dogs who tend to eat grass from time to time as I now use a mix of rosemary, peppermint, clove, thyme, and sesame oils which has removed mosquito/fleas/ticks/gnats/ants and possibly others but those were what I was targeting. Catnip and lemongrass grows around the back fence so they may also contribute.

    1. Where have you purchased your lawn foggers? Also u mentioned that you made a mix yourself I would love to know your recipe.... We have two children that love playing outside and ticks are everywhere! We just moved into this house and aren't allowed to have pets here which is unfortunate for us being that we love animals... I would really really appreciate it if you would share with me the mixture u use in your yard to ward off all these pests.... Thank you sooo much!

  8. That's a new one on me. We have 8 dogs, hubby collects them :)
    I need to get some of these plants for sure. thanks for the information.I also found out online that certain types of (chickens)Guineas eats over 600 ticks and day and hundreds of fleas too. They are so loud i hate to buy anybut it may prove to be worth it.


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