Plants that repel yellow jackets will allow you to enjoy a peaceful picnic without getting stung. Unfortunately, the painful sting of this insect can lead to extreme inflammation or even worse conditions, so it’s important to keep you and your family safe from these winged creatures.

Plants That Repel Yellow Jackets To Safeguard Your Garden

Luckily, our gardening team will suggest 11 yellow jacket repellents that can keep your garden safe and pest-free. These plants are known to either be intolerable, disgusting, dangerous, or even downright deadly to yellow jackets, so let’s jump right in and see the list!

List of Plants That Repel Yellow Jackets

1. Peppermint

Peppermint oil is a natural wasp repellent, so growing this herb near a nest will drive them away. Peppermint is grown for its medicinal and culinary uses and can be grown inside and outside the house, so it can be grown in a pot to keep pests away from your home. 

Peppermint oil is a natural wasp repellent

This is actually a hybrid of two types of mint, and since pests hate these strong smells, you can grow any type to repel wasps. The plant grows pink flowers, but they only last for a month in the summer. You can prepare a yellow jacket repellent for skin using the oils extracted from the leaves and flowers. 

– Growing Conditions

In general, this plant is considered to be maintenance-free once established. It can grow in the sun and shade, but exposure to the sun will make it healthier and more fragrant. The herb needs to be watered regularly, but the soil shouldn’t be too moist as this might lead to rot. It’s not a heavy feeder, and too much fertilization can actually affect its flavor.

2. Pennyroyal

The minty scent makes it one of the most potent repellent plants, and it can also be a good general pest deterrent, as gnats, fleas, and mosquitoes hate its smell. When the leaves are crushed, they emit a lemon scent that appeals to humans, but bugs find it highly repulsive. 

Pennyroyal most potent repellent plants

Also known as the stinking palm, this plant has upright stalks that carry the purple summer flowers. You can grow it if you’re a beginner gardener because it’s pretty easy to take care of. Plant it in spring when the last frost has passed, keep it in full sun, grow it in organically rich soil, and water it frequently.

– What To Look Out For

Also known as the mosquito plant, this can become invasive in your garden because new roots can grow from the drooping leaves. This plant has been previously used for flavoring, but consuming large quantities can lead to health issues, so you should keep it away from kids and pets as it’s highly toxic.

3. Mugwort

Common wormwood or Artemisia vulgaris is grown in gardens for natural pest control. It’s grown for culinary, medicinal, and ornamental purposes, thanks to its beautiful gray-green foliage. The yellow, orange, red, and pink flowers grow in the summer and are popular in dry flower arrangements because they maintain their look. 

Mugwort grow in gardens for natural pest control

The flowers attract butterflies, but not wasps, so they can be grown in your butterfly garden. This plant is pretty hardy and can grow in different types of soil, even alkaline soil. It can grow in the sun and shade and can’t tolerate overwatering.

– Why Yellow Jackets Dislike This Plant

The herb’s flowers and leaves emit a very pungent smell that irritates yellow jackets, so they will stay away from your garden. It also contains absinthe, which is toxic to these insects, so they won’t go near your garden if you grow it along the borders. Yet, it’s important to note that the roots of this plant can easily kill the roots of nearby plants, so you should pick the right spot to grow it.

4. Geranium

A lot of flowers attract yellow jackets, but not these ones. The crane’s bill plants or geraniums can repel wasps, thanks to their strong citrusy and floral smell, as they contains different types of esters and alcohols that wasps hate. However, butterflies are always attracted to this odor, so you can still have a butterfly garden without the danger of wasps. 

Geranium strong citrusy and floral smell

This is a popular border plant and can also be grown along the hedge, as it can deter pests away while adding a pop of color to your garden. In the summer, geraniums grow floating flowers that can be pink, white, purple, or blue, complementing the look of the pretty foliage.

– Plant Care

There are different types of geraniums, so you can easily find the suitable cultivar to grow in your garden. Most of these plants are pretty hardy and don’t need much maintenance, so they’ll work for you if you’re a beginner gardener. 

The plants appreciate full sun exposure to feature more blooms, but some partial shade can be tolerated. More watering is needed if they’re grown in a hot climate or if they’re kept in a sunny spot in your garden. Make sure that the soil you use is well-draining, and keep it moderately moist.

5. Trumpet Vine

The trumpet vine can extend for up to 40 feet, with dark green leaves and trumpet-shaped red or orange flowers. These flowers are attractive to hummingbirds, but wasps struggle to reach the nectar, so they’ll avoid them. 

Trumpet Vine attractive to hummingbirds

The attractive foliage turns yellow in the fall before falling off the vine, but new shoots can start appearing away from the mother plant. The vine is tolerant of different soil conditions and needs moderate soil moisture. It can survive in sunny and shady locations, but full sun exposure will boost flowering.

– Special Features

This is a fast-growing vine and can quickly become invasive in your garden. It’s best to grow this plant supported by a wall or a trellis to control its growth because it quickly affects nearby structures and plants. 

It’s considered a high-maintenance plant because it can quickly damage your landscape if you don’t monitor it closely. The plant contains toxic compounds that can harm pets and humans, so you should be careful about where you’re planting it. You can pair the vines next to marigold flowers and grow them close to yellow jacket nests to disturb them.

6. Clove Tree

A clove tree is an effective wasp deterrent that keeps them away from your garden because the spicy sweet smell can be too overwhelming for these bugs. This is a slow-growing tree, but it will easily last for more than 100 years in optimal conditions. Cloves have a strong scent that is used to flavor dishes and drinks, and the trees grow white flowers in the summer

Clove Tree effective wasp deterrent

The tree will start blossoming six to ten years after it has been planted, and harvesting should be done carefully, as the cloves will be damaged if the branches are broken. The oils are extracted from the seeds, and people massage these essential oils to repel yellow jackets.

– Growing Conditions

The clove tree reaches its full maturity and provides its best yield 20 years after it’s been planted. It thrives in well-draining, organically-rich soil, and enriching the soil with a potent fertilizer will help it stay healthy. It needs regular watering and can survive in full sun or partial shade.

7. Thyme

Fragrant plants easily push wasps away because they have sensitive noses, so growing thyme will keep the garden free of these stinging bugs. You can also grow it as a patio plant to prevent them from getting into your house. 

Thyme Fragrant plants easily push wasps away

Thyme is grown for culinary and medicinal purposes, and it matures fast, being ready to harvest in a few months. It can be an excellent addition to your butterfly garden because butterflies and bees are fond of its white and pink flowers. Growing it near wasp nests will push them to find a new home somewhere else. 

– Care Tips

Thyme can be grown at any time of the year, but it thrives in dry weather. Multiple varieties have different growing patterns, so it can be a ground cover or grow in a cascading pattern. Thyme plants thrive in full sun, and once established, they can become drought-resistant. However, too many nutrients will affect the growth of this plant as it prefers to grow in inferior soil.

8. Eucalyptus

This plant is the source of a potent oil that is extremely efficient at repelling yellow jackets and other wasps. So if you’re wondering how to deter yellow jackets from picnic, you can use this oil on your skin as the smell pushes them away. Moreover, the relaxing fragrance elevates the mood and helps relieve tension, so using it will allow you to enjoy your picnics to the maximum. 

Eucalyptus extremely efficient at repelling yellow jackets

It grows to be ten feet tall in your garden, although it can reach 60 feet tall in its natural habitat. This plant is also known as the silver dollar tree, with blue-green leaves and red and white flowers that appear in the summer.

– What To Look Out For

This plant isn’t suitable for beginner gardeners because it needs to grow in very specific conditions. You should grow it in a sunny spot away from taller trees that might block the sunlight. The trees should be moderately watered, and the plants should be spaced to allow the roots to spread properly.

All the plant parts are toxic to humans and pets, so you should handle them with care. The fragrant oil can also cause serious skin irritation.

9. Spearmint

With more than 600 varieties, you’ll be able to find a suitable one to grow in your garden. It gets its name from the spear-like shapes, and it has long been grown for its medicinal and culinary benefits. As a matter of fact, this herb was considered so valuable that it was used to pay taxes. 

Spearmint strong minty aroma will deter wasps

Just like other members of the mint family, the strong minty aroma will deter wasps and yellow jackets and keep them away from your garden so you can enjoy a picnic in peace. It contains carvone, which gives it a spicy and citrusy aroma. It needs to grow in rich, moist soil and can tolerate sun and shade, but in sunny locations, the plant will be healthier. The plant is intolerant of overwatering and grows lavender flowers in the summer.

– Issues

Mentha spicata grows from rhizomes, and it can quickly spread in your garden to affect the growth of other nearby plants. This plant needs to be spaced adequately to allow the roots to grow. Monitoring it is crucial as it should be harvested before the flowers grow, and regular pruning is essential to guarantee a better harvest.

10. Lemongrass

A lot of people grow Cymbopogon citratus because it can increase their curb appeal and also be used to flavor many recipes. It’s a hot-climate plant, and it thrives in the full sun. Growing this plant in the shade will make it leggy and prone to various pests and diseases. It has gray-green foliage, and it turns burgundy in the fall, adding vibrant colors to your fall garden. 

Lemongrass hot-climate plant

You should grow it in rich, well-draining soil and water it regularly until it gets established. Once established, this plant will become drought-resistant. If you can’t maintain the necessary growing conditions, you can grow it in a pot on your patio or on the deck, as it will help deter pests and keep them away from your property.

– Why Stinging Insects Dislike This Plant

It has gray-green leaves that emit a strong citrusy smell when crushed. Yellow jackets and other pests find this odor to be too overwhelming because they have sensitive olfactory systems, so they will avoid your garden.

11. Purple Pitcher Plant

Yellow jackets and other pests will stay away from pitcher plants because these plants feed on insects. The plant takes about five years to mature and grows purple flowers that appear in late spring and early summer. Each plant grows one flower that measures three inches long and looks like a pitcher. This carnivorous plant typically grows in inferior acidic soil, so it tries to complement its diet by feeding on tiny bugs. This is why you need to manually feed it gnats and fleas if you choose to grow it as an indoor plant. 

Purple Pitcher Plant feed on insects

This is considered one of the best yellow jacket and wasp repellent plants because the sweet nectar and bright colors attract wasps, but the insides of the pitcher are waxy and hard to climb. Eventually, the bug will drown and die inside the pitcher, which collects rainwater. You should grow this plant in full sun and water it regularly.

– Planting Ideas

Picking the right spot to grow the Sarracenia purpurea plants can be a little bit tricky because this plant grows in wet habitats, so you can grow it in boggy soil where other plants will struggle to survive. It’s also a great choice to grow around a pond or as an edging plant to a water feature in your garden.


Yellow jacket attacks can be a real nuisance in your outdoor space, but luckily, some plants repel them and will keep them away from your garden. Here are some of the most effective yellow jacket repelling plants that we discussed in the article above:

  • Some plants like lemongrass emit a citrusy smell that these wasps dislike, and plants that emit spicy or pungent odors will also keep these pests away from your garden.
  • Mugwort’s flowers and leaves emit a very pungent smell that irritates yellow jackets.
  • A lot of these plants like the trumpet vine can still attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden, while simultaneously being intolerable to yellow jackets.
  • You can also grow carnivorous plants like the purple pitcher plant to keep yellow jackets away.

With these planting options, you can kiss these annoying yello jacket pests goodbye. So, which one among these plants do you want to grow next?

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