Thursday, April 21, 2011

Garden Plants That Help Fight Fleas Naturally

By Linda Cole

It's that time of year when pesky fleas begin popping up in the home and on your pet. Planting certain garden plants around your home and in the areas where your pets wander can help deter and repel those little pests. Now is the time to plan your garden to include some plants that can help control fleas naturally.

Many of the same herbs used in cooking, baking and teas work well to help deter and repel fleas. However, not all plants are safe for use around dogs and cats. Tansy, Wormwood, Eucalyptus, Fleawort, Pennyroyal (also called Fleabane), Rue, Citronella and Sweet Bay are garden plants that can help repel fleas and they are suggested for use as natural flea control, but all of them are toxic to dogs and cats. Since most gardens are visited by neighborhood cats or dogs, it's best to avoid using these plants in gardens or around the yard.

Mints are one of my favorite garden plants because they can be used in baking, cooking and teas, and they have a wonderful smell. I have chocolate mint growing around my dog pen and the foundation of the house. All varieties of mint work well to repel fleas. One thing I love about my chocolate mint is when one of the dogs wanders through a patch of mint, they have a minty smell that clings to them for awhile and at the same time, it repels some of the fleas on them. And if one of the dogs decides to munch on some of the mint, I know it's safe and won't hurt them.

All of the mints are invasive plants, so if you don't want a yard full of mint, plant them in pots that can be buried in the ground so you can contain this plant in one area. You should plant different varieties away from each other to keep them from cross pollinating. Mints are perennial plants and inexpensive to buy. They're hardy, easy to grow and can withstand harsh winter snows and cold.

Catnip: anyone who shares their home with a cat can't go wrong with catnip in their garden. A member of the mint family, this plant is a natural repellent for fleas and safe for both cats and dogs. You might want to carefully choose where you want to plant catnip because it will attract outside cats. Placing this plant alongside your prized flower beds may not be the best choice.

Sage is thick bush that grows up to three feet tall. It's the largest member in the mint family.

Rosemary is also a member of the mint family. Be careful when planting Rosemary, however. You want to make sure to get the herb plant, which is safe for pets and not Rosemary Pea or Rosemary Bog because they are toxic for dogs and cats.

Chamomile is a good plant to have in gardens because it not only repel fleas, but it's believed the Chamomile plant can help keep other plants in the garden healthy. I've never tried it myself, but it's been said that if you have a sickly looking plant that's not growing well, plant a Chamomile next to it. This plant has little daisy like flowers.

Lavender is another member of the mint family. This plant is safe for pets and not only repels fleas, but moths and mosquitoes too. Lavender is a good plant to have in the area of your yard where you like to gather for outside outings with family and friends and where your pets play.

Lemon Grass is a perfect companion to Lavender because it too will repel mosquitoes and fleas. And yes, it does smell like lemon.

When you plant any of the above plants around your home's foundation and in areas where your pets spend time when outside, these plants can help repel fleas and other pests. You can take dried or fresh leaves and sprinkle them in your pet's bedding and across entryways into the home to keep fleas from entering through a door. Dried leaves can also be used in sachet packets that can be placed around the home or you can sprinkle dried leaves on carpets, under furniture and around baseboards to help repel fleas.

None of these plants will kill fleas; they only repel them, but by placing the plants in the right areas of your yard, you can use their unique ability to help keep fleas away from your pets and your home. When dealing with fleas, we need to use every weapon we can find. Julia Williams’ article, “Debunking Seven Myths about the Mighty Flea,” gives you an idea what we are up against when it comes to this annoying little pest.

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. This is a truly WONDERFUL post!! I have some Apple Mint growing near the house. I may get some MORE and also Divide what I have to get even coverage. EXCELLENT ... THANK YOU!!!

    QUESTION... What about TICK repelling plants??? I don't know of any. do you??

  2. Thank you so much for this information. I will for sure use it and purchase some of these plants. Hugs

  3. This is a great post. I am certainly going to try and find some of these plants. We have red clay here, so I probably will have to put them in pots, then figure out a way to keep the cats out of the pots. Thannks.

    1. As a professional gardener, I can tell you the mint will grow in just about any soil. I have lots of clay on my property. If you use Catmint, like Walker's Low that is a gorgeous plant that blooms from spring till snow. It is not invasive like other kinds of mint either. You just have to cut it down 2 or 3 times per season to revive it. Also it does not require very much watering either. The perfect plant.

  4. I had no idea there was such a thing as plants that help repel fleas. We have been through a total flea nightmare these past few months. At this point I will do anything to keep them away, even if I need to plant an entire mint forest all around my house.

    Thanks so much for such awesome advice!

  5. Hi Frankie,

    The research on plants that repel ticks hasn't been as extensive as it has been for fleas and mosquitoes. But, plants in the the mint family should help repel ticks as well as lavender. Lemon grass is also believed to be a good choice to help with repelling ticks.

    I'd be happy to do some more research on the topic to see if I can find other plants that would help that are also safe for dogs and cats.

    And thank you for your comment.


  6. Awesome. We get a lot of other critters visiting our yard so anything that can help them with fleas too is great.

    I love this picture of the dog. I don't know that I have ever seen a dog with such a long tongue. That is hilarious.

    Thanks for the info.

  7. This is awesome post, I din't know some plants can help us fight Fleas..This is cool.
    Thank You

  8. Super helpful and interesting post, thanks!

  9. Your post is very informative. Like in all other things, natural remedies are as effective as the synthetic ones at even lower prices.

  10. Wow, I just happened to be looking into planting some indoor herbs, I had no idea about helping fight flees. Great post. Thanks

  11. This is great!! I love lavender. I'm so glad it's cat friendly!!

  12. What about brewing any of the herbs you mentioned,then using the water to bathe your dog after it has been cooled?

  13. Cat nip is mint and Jack and the pulpit will kill fleas.

  14. the best flea repellent is the vacuum cleaner.

  15. Wow, thank you so much! I can't control what my neighbors do as far as treating their dogs, but I now can control my backyard to repel the fleas from infesting my yard and dogs.
    This is a wonderful article!

  16. Absolutely excellent information. We recently moved from a cold.climate to the south. We now have a flea battle on our hands. I found your post and site just in time, as I'm planning my garden. I was hoping to find some kind of plant that would help the problem naturally.

    Thank-you so much for sharing.

  17. Fantastic article, and just what I was looking for. I am wondering, though, which varieties of the various plants you recommend would work best. Lavender, for example, has DOZENS of varieties... which one(s) work best? Will ANY mints work, or are some more effective (and more cat-safe) than others?

    Thanks for the good stuff!


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