Garden Plants That Help Fight Fleas Naturally

April 21, 2011

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 itCat-Animated‘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

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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  1. Bonnie says:

    Our home was quickly filled with fleas many years ago when we moved from Anchorage AK to St Louis Mo. we were all miserable until I read about a flea trap. Put a glass pie plate in center of a darkened room with half inch of water and a drop of dish soap. Place a lighted goose neck lamp over the water in the pie plate and leave the room for a couple hours. I did this and caught hundreds of fleas in my living room. They were living in the carpet! After that I had to do this in every room, then vacuum every day at least once. We had a very small house. We did the plate/water/lamp treatment periodically when needed. Some times I just hung a flashlight from a curtain over a saucer in the bedrooms after dark. It often only caught one or two fleas after the first big catch, but it made a huge difference! This is a non chemical treatment that I needed because our children were very young.

  2. Bonnir says:

    Body powder smothers fleas. Commercial body powders are not healthy solutions do I have resorted to using cornstarch. My 17 year old yorkie has been tortured by fleas this year, even while using flea meds! He went from tortured biting and scratching to happy and ready for his nap after I powdered him with cornstarch everywhere below his neck.

  3. What can I use to kill the flees there eating my dogs up I have tried just about every thing

    1. G. Kelly says:

      Food grade diatomaceous earth.

  4. Donna says:

    Very helpful information here. Many thanks.

  5. Candicejo.phillips says:

    Thank you for this I found it great

  6. Dixie says:

    Chamomile, Lavender, and Lemon Grass are all listed as toxic according to the ASPCA (Link posted in an earlier comment). As for mint, just make sure it isn’t English pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), which not only toxic to dogs but also to people.

    1. Donna says:

      No one said the animals are eating them……the article is about flea deterrents.

  7. I just moved to the country with 2 fleabags and a fur ball. The area is bad with fleas and I hope this helps them. Thank you very much!:)

  8. Kathleen says:

    Chamomile is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. It is not a good plant to have if your pets like to nibble on plants in the yard. Check it out on the site:

  9. Lovejoy444 says:

    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!

  10. Shanna B says:

    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.

  11. Anonymous says:

    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!

  12. Anonymous says:

    the best flea repellent is the vacuum cleaner.

  13. Anonymous says:

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

  14. Anonymous says:

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

  15. This is great!! I love lavender. I’m so glad it’s cat friendly!!

  16. Mini wheat says:

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

    1. Chirpy Cats says:

      Great info about safe herbs for cats.
      For others who mention toxicity, from my experience I can say that lemongrass is perfectly safe for cats. I plant them in our catio to repel mosquitoes and the cats love the scent and chewing the leaves. The ASPCA mentions it is safe in moderation, obviously if your cat is ingesting too much it’s probably cause for concern.

      English Chamomile (Chamaemillum Nobile) is toxic to cats, so make sure you get German Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla) instead, which is a member of the daisy family.

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

  18. Bex says:

    Super helpful and interesting post, thanks!

  19. Mr Puddy says:

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

  20. terrepruitt says:

    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.

  21. Linda says:

    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.


  22. Kristine says:

    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!

  23. Marg says:

    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. Anonymous says:

      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.

    2. Ginger says:

      I got 10,000 spearmint seeds from for a few dollars. I also got 500 lemongrass seeds and free shipping. Take a look on there if you like and I’m pretty sure you can find something to interest you. So far my “cheap seeds” of MANY different types are growing fine. I just didn’t mention the ones I got that aren’t relative to this topic. 😀

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

  25. 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??