Plants That Repel Spiders


Dill grown from seed germination

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The number of spiders in your home or office lately has been alarming, but you don’t want to douse the eight-legged creatures in insecticide if you can help it. With the right houseplants, you can skip the chemicals and still repel spiders. What are some plants that repel spiders?

Here are some plants that repel spiders:

  • Chrysanthemum
  • Lemon verbena
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon balm
  • Dill
  • Citrus trees
  • Citronella
  • Onion
  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus 
  • Marigolds
  • Basil
  • Rosemary

Can you really keep spiders away with plants? That’s right, you can! In this article, I’ll tell you exactly how with care tips and other pertinent information on each plant species above. Your indoor garden is about to get a lot more efficient at repelling spiders!

13 Houseplants That Are Natural Spider Repellents

Chrysanthemum

The best part about having chrysanthemums in your indoor garden is that not only are they utterly beautiful but they’re functional at warding off spiders as well. 

I’m sure you’re wondering what a spider could possibly detest about the lovely blooms of a colorful chrysanthemum, right?

It’s not so much the flowers themselves that spiders don’t like, but the natural insecticide called pyrethrum contained within. If spiders, roaches, bedbugs, spider mites (yes, different insects), fleas, ticks, or ants get too close to a chrysanthemum, they could very well die.

To keep your chrysanthemums healthy for repeated seasons of preventing spiders, provide direct sun and temperatures as high as 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Water the plant when the soil gets dry, and be ready to do it often with the chrysanthemum’s penchant for sunny weather.

Lemon Verbena

The leaves of the lemon verbena plant have long been favored for treating everything from varicose veins to insomnia, hemorrhoids, and asthma. Even if you’re not into holistic medicine, you can always appreciate the lemony scent and flavor of this appropriately named plant.

It’s that very scent that makes lemon verbena a natural repellant. To you, the citrus scent of the lemon verbena plant can be very appealing, but to spiders, it’s overpowering and makes them not want to be anywhere near it. 

You will have to keep your lemon verbena’s leaves in tip-top shape so they release the strongest scent. To do that, select moist soil for the plant, and make sure the soil’s pH is between 6.1 and 7.0, which is somewhat acidic.

Give your lemon verbena full sun and always maintain its soil moisture.

As an FYI, pets like cats and dogs find this plant somewhat toxic, so put it in a place where your furry friends can’t reach. 

Peppermint

Did you know that peppermint is considered a hybrid? Indeed, it’s part spearmint, part watermint, and all delicious.

You can munch on the leaves directly, use them as a garnish, steep them in tea, or make them into an essential oil.

All forms of peppermint will keep spiders away, including oil, peppermint soap, and the leaves themselves. Use real peppermint over artificial whenever possible for the greatest effects on spiders. 

One of the key elements in caring for the peppermint plant is not letting its soil get too dry. This plant needs full sun as well, hence its increased water requirements.  

Lemon Balm Citrus Plant

Here’s another citrus plant to add to your indoor garden: lemon balm. This herb with its lemony flavor is popular as an extract, a supplement, or in tea. It’s supposed to ease digestion, put you to sleep, and relieve stress.

Every now and again, pluck a leaf from your plant and bruise the leaf. This means to press or bend on the leaf until you can see wet creases. The creases indicate that the cells within the plant have been damaged. 

You can then rub the lemon balm on your clothing or your skin. Spiders will keep far away from you, as will fruit flies and mosquitoes!

Keep the lemon balm’s soil moist but not soaking. Use well-draining soil and put the plant in full sun. Some periods of shade are okay as well. 

Avoid fertilizing or you could negatively affect this plant’s citrus flavor. 

Dill Plant

From one herb to another, the celery family member dill also has an aroma that spiders don’t like. Perhaps that’s because there are lemony notes in there as well as traces of anise and grass. It’s altogether a scent that we people love!

Each day, provide up to eight hours of sunlight for your dill plant. In the winter when you have less daylight, use artificial light. 

Maintain temps over 60 degrees and use well-draining soil. The soil should be acidic as well. 

Citrus Trees

You have your pick of citrus trees as a spider repellent. Lemon trees are a good option since I’ve established that spiders can’t stand lemon. Mandarin orange, grapefruit, and lime trees are other plants to consider. 

I won’t lie and say that taking care of a citrus tree is easy; it isn’t. These trees are mostly meant for outdoor growing, and although you can bring them indoors, they will require more attention than your average houseplant.

You’ll need artificial light for the citrus tree, as most require up to 10 hours of sunlight per day. Use well-draining soil and provide temperatures between 55 and 85 degrees. Maintain soil moisture through your watering habits.

You can fertilize a citrus tree, but you want to use a slow-release fertilizer with less nitrogen than phosphorus and potassium. Yes, citrus trees don’t need as much nitrogen as many other houseplants. 

Citronella

Do you hate bugs? Like, really hate ‘em? Then citronella is one of the best houseplants you can grow. 

You already know from the many citronella candles you burn each summer that the smell is none too pleasing to mosquitoes, but it’s also irritating to spiders and flies.

And yes, citronella is a real plant that’s also known as citronella grass. It’s different from the Pelargonium citronellum, as the grass or Cymbopogon nardus is considered the real form of citronella.

Citronella grass needs moist, well-draining soil and roughly six hours of sunlight per day. You can fertilize the grass monthly if your houseplant isn’t as green as you’d like it to be. 

For more information on over fertilizing indoor plants, you’ll want to read my article: How to Fix Using Too Much Miracle-Gro on Your Plants

Onion

Why not add an edible plant to your indoor garden in your quest to keep spiders away? 

Onions have been a key part of a very enduring old wives’ tale. By cutting some up, soaking them in water, and placing the soaking onions near spiders, supposedly, the bugs won’t be able to handle it. 

Unlike some old wives’ tales, this one is true. Onions contain sulfur, which releases an odor that’s not too offensive to us but is to spiders. 

If you’re planting onion from seed, put them at least four feet apart from one another. Each row should have a foot of space (or double that) between them. Water your growing seeds generously, providing an inch of water weekly.

Although onions don’t grow quickly, when they’re ready, you should be able to pull yours right out of the soil. It feels very rewarding to do so! 

Lavender

When most people talk about lavender, it’s all about its calming scent, but did you know this plant is edible as well? Garnish dishes with it like you would thyme or rosemary. Its pretty purple color will liven up any meal!  

Lavender oil is a natural repellent to spiders, so you’ll have fewer creepy crawlies around your indoor garden. 

Choose well-draining soil, provide at least six hours of bright light, and keep temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees for the lavender plant. 

If you’re growing lavender from seed, keep in mind that it can take upward of a year for the houseplant to be ready for germination.  

Eucalyptus

Growing eucalyptus in your indoor garden is to your benefit, as ingesting its leaves could lessen stress, act as an anti-inflammatory, and even help you get over colds faster. 

As if all that wasn’t great enough, eucalyptus is a natural insect repellent against biting insects like mosquitoes. Spiders will also give you a wide berth.

Using eucalyptus oil topically with eucalyptol can work to repel bugs for as long as eight hours!

Okay, so how do you grow a eucalyptus plant? This plant needs well-draining soil since you’ll have to water it frequently. The eucalyptus also loves sun and demands around 10 hours of light per day. 

Marigolds

I talked earlier about growing chrysanthemums to ward off spiders, but that’s not the only pretty flower you can choose from. Marigolds are yet another one for your consideration. 

Like chrysanthemums, the smell that marigolds release will detract spiders from invading your home or office. Marigolds are also great at keeping mosquitoes and lice away. 

These colorful plants need adequate drainage. Choose a potting mix with organic amendments that will help with drainage. I’d recommend vermiculite, perlite, and even some sand. 

Then give your marigolds around six hours of light per day. When their soil is dry up to two inches deep, it’s time to water this houseplant. 

Basil

I don’t know about you, but I love growing edible plants. Basil is a must-have ingredient in pesto and Caprese salad, but you can also add it to teas as a garnish, pizza, or even a tomato tart. 

Oh, and did I mention how mosquitoes, houseflies, ants, and spiders dislike basil? Hey, that means there’s more for you!

You don’t need to fertilize your basil plant, but some indoor gardeners do so periodically. Always maintain soil moisture but prevent soaking soil. 

Once a month, pluck a third of the leaves on the plant. Even if you don’t use the leaves you’re harvesting, pruning encourages new growth. 

Rosemary 

The last indoor plant I’d suggest for repelling spiders is yet another herb, rosemary. This shrubby herb is like a pine tree in that it has long needles. 

No, it’s not the needles that keep spiders away, but rather, the scent that rosemary gives off. Lots of other bugs are none too pleased with that scent either.

Every day, your growing rosemary plant will require eight hours of light. Use well-draining soil and don’t water too frequently. This plant grows best when its conditions are somewhat dry but not bone-dry. 

Fred Zimmer

I'm a lover of plants, animals, photography, & people, not necessarily in that order. Currently, I'm focused on photographing indoor plants & chachkies. I write & rewrite articles about creating an environment where indoor plants can thrive. I'm good at listening to music but bad at shopping to muzak.

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