Seeds for Natural Insect Repellent Plants and
A note from one of our customers:
"I am very pleased with the assortment of
fragrant and bug-repelling plant seeds I bought from you this
season. I had difficulty growing most of them inside, but have
had great success by seeding outside in midsummer. Even the
fleabane daisies have sprouted outdoors here in central New
Jersey, when I planted them during a hot spell in
I am pleased to have you as my exclusive seed source."
Michael, New Jersey
Synthetic pesticides are more of a threat to man than the
insects it would seem. As each generation of insects become
more immune the pesticide, stronger and more potent
insecticides are released. In the meantime we humans are
absorbing these chemicals as they permeate our homes, gardens
and lawns and in turn we are depleting the quality of our
health and the health of our pets. We hope that most American
gardeners will help reverse this trend by using natural pest
deterrents that have been used successfully for generations. We
offer the following seeds to aid them in their efforts.
Seeds for Insecticide/Pesticide Plants
IP184 Citronella Balm ( Melissa officinalis Citronella )
We love this herb! Simply crush a handful of the leaves for a burst of citronella fragrance and rub on exposed skin to deter pesky mosquitoes and gnats.
Citronella balm is a hardy perennial for Zones 5-9. It is more compact and more mildew resistant than the common lemon balm and grows 12 to 18 inches tall in ideal conditions.
The leaves are bright green and about 2 inches long with toothed edges. Although citronella balm is a member of the mint family, it is a less aggressive spreader. To the casual glance the leaves resemble spearmint leaves, probably why it's sometimes misidentified as lemon mint.
As with lemon balm, citronella balm is a favorite of bees. The botanical name "Melissa" is derived from the Greek word for bee.
Easily grown as a window sill or patio plant, it does very well in containers.
D7945 Citrodora Eucalyptus ( Eucalyptus citrodora )
Commonly known as Lemon Bush. This aromatic plant starts easily from seed. When grown in a container, it only reaches 3 to 4 feet tall. No matter where you live, you can grow this lovely plant from seed in your own home and enjoy the fresh lemony fragrance. Its fresh and lemony aroma is uplifting and simply brushing the leaves will release more fragrance that will remind you of the citronella candles sold to repel mosquitos. Outside in warm zones, it will grow into a small tree, but is most commonly grown as a container plant in cooler zones. It produces sword-shaped gray-green leaves, tiny white blooms, and a bit of red fall foliage change. For growing indoors, find a nice container and grow from seed in a bright window. It can also be grown outdoors, but bring it in before the first frost to winter it indoors.
Oil from the leaves is applied to the skin as a medicine and insect repellent. Citrodora Ecalyptus oil is used for preventing mosquito and deer tick bites. It is also an ingredient in chest rubs used to relieve congestion. The oil has a strong fresh citronella-like odor with a sweet balsamic undertone. Very effective insect repellent due to a higher citronellal content than citronella ( which is commercially harvested from citronella grass, a different type of plant and is used in many insect repellants ).
Eucalyptus Citriodora has good branching and makes an attractive container plant with wonderful citrus-spice fragrance. It is actually an herb, and its 3-inch leaves are bold and dramatic indoors, and the white summer blooms add another interesting dimension to this versatile plant.
The plants are winter hardy in USDA zones 8-11, but can be grown as a container plant or annual in any zone.
Trees bloom in winter in outside in warm zones, in the greenhouse they bloom in late winter to early spring. The white blooms are not very distinctive. The blooms are followed by woody urn-shaped capsules about 3/8 of an inch wide.
Eucalyptus citriodora need full sun with a well-drained soil mix for container growing. Most gum trees grow in very nutrient poor soils and fertilizer is not needed; however container plants should be feed once during the spring. To control the size of the trees in containers, do all pruning and repotting in late to early spring after flowering.
How to start seeds and grow:
Start seed indoors into a starter tray. ( We like to leave seed packet in the fridge for 30 days before sowing, this seems to enhance the germination ). Press the seed into the soil and cover lightly, about twice the thickness of the seed. Keep the seeds moist by watering from underneath. Once the seedlings are 4 to 5 inches tall, transplant into containers. Start with a 1 to 2 gallon container with potting mix and after a year or so, transplant into a larger 3 to 5 gallon container. Feed monthly during the growing season with water soluable plant food or mix granular 5-10-10 fertilizer with micronutrients into the soil each year.
GO72 Mosquito Plant
( Agastache cana )
This hardy perennial will
provide you with sweetly scented foliage and large 1" rosy-
purple flowers. It attracts hummingbirds, bees and
butterflies. The crushed foliage rubbed on the skin is said
to repel mosquitoes. Will flower first year if grown as an
annual, but best flowering is in second year in zones
TRN017 Achillea Moonwalker
Blooms easily the same year. It is a fairly compact plant growing to just 24 inches tall by about the same width. Keeping it slightly under-watered will keep the floral stems from sprawling. Cut it back after its first flowering for it to repeat later in the summer and divide it every couple of years to keep it vigorous. It looks good year round with tidy foliage and bright non-fading flowers which are numerously produced.
Works as an accent, specimen, or in mass planting. They are suitable for cut flowers production and make excellent dried flowers. Hardy to 20 degrees and drought proof, the plants will takes most climates and most kinds of soil as long as it is well drained.
This plant will attract many species of pollinating insects to your garden during the summer and certain species of birds will also use it to line their nests. An added bonus is it is both deer and rabbit resistant.
Its flowers attract many beneficial insects, including ladybirds and parasitic wasps that prey on garden pests, in particular aphids. Ants do not like the smell; crushed leaves can be used as a deterrent.
D1704 Mountain Tobacco ( Nicotinia Attenuata )
A graceful and ornamental species, small plants grow only 2-3
tall with yellow or green flowers. Has a very high nicotine
content. A very popular tobacco with the Navajo Indians. It is
an all purpose plant. I recommend using it as an ornamental,
filler and pesticide base and for making tobacco dust for the
To make the perfect garden pesticide, mix 1 teaspoon of powdered dried
leaves with one teaspoon of dishwashing detergent into one
gallon of water. Apply with sprayer.
D1708 Kentucky Coffee Tree ( Gymnocladus dioica )
A large shade tree with long leaves that are pinkish in spring,
green in summer and yellow in fall. The seeds can be roasted
and eaten like nuts or made into a coffee substitute, however it should be noted that unroasted seeds may be toxic, so seeds must be roasted.
In addition to use as a food, the seeds of Kentucky coffee tree were used by Native Americans for ceremonial and recreational purposes. Seeds were used as dice in games of chance that were common in eastern tribes. The seeds were also used in jewelry.
It has been noted that the bruised foliage when sprinkled with sweetened water will attract and kill flies. Can be raised in containers when young.
Zones: 3 to 8.
D1711 Black Locust, False Acacia ( Acacia robinia )
Beautiful ornamental loaded with white fragrant flowers. An
excellent shade tree with acacia type foliage. The fragrant
flowers can be smelled for hundreds of ft. in spring. The
bruised foliage mixed with sugar will attract and kill
D1717 Osage Orange ( Maclura )
A fast growing shrub often grown as a hedge. Pretty foliage with greenish flowers. Good as a background or border plant.
Recent research suggests that elemol, another component extractable from the fruit, shows promise as a mosquito repellent with similar activity to DEET in contact and residual repellency.
Notes:The Osage-orange is commonly used as a tree row windbreak in prairie states, which gives it one of its colloquial names, "hedge apple". It was one of the primary trees used in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Great Plains Shelterbelt" WPA project, which was launched in 1934 as an ambitious plan to modify weather and prevent soil erosion in the Great Plains states, and by 1942 resulted in the planting of 30,233 shelterbelts containing 220 million trees that stretched for 18,600 miles (29,900 km).
The sharp-thorned trees were also planted as cattle-deterring hedges before the introduction of barbed wire and afterward became an important source of fence posts.
The heavy, close-grained yellow-orange wood is very dense and is prized for tool handles, treenails, fence posts, electrical insulators, and other applications requiring a strong dimensionally stable wood that withstands rot. Straight-grained osage timber (most is knotty and twisted) makes very good bows. In Arkansas, in the early 19th century, a good Osage bow was worth a horse and a blanket. Additionally, a yellow-orange dye can be extracted from the wood, which can be used as a substitute for fustic and aniline dyes. When dried, the wood has the highest BTU content of any wood, and burns long and hot.
Today, the fruit is sometimes used to deter spiders, cockroaches, boxelder bugs, crickets, fleas, and other arthropods.
Leaves turn bright yellow in fall, thorny branches, bears inedible round fruit 3-5" in diameter. The fruit is prized for it's ability to repel insects and spiders when scattered around home foundations. The crushed fruits of this plant are said to attract and kill cockroaches. Can be raised as container plant in northern states.
The wood is sought after for recurve bow making. Both male and female plants are needed to produce fruit. The ratio of male/female plants the seeds produce is up to mother nature, but a pack of 10 seeds always produces a mix of male/female plants in all of our previous field trials. Can be grown in zones 4-9.
HR123 Catnip ( Nepeta cataria )
A very easy to grow plant for pots, baskets and gardens.
Catnip is a perennial herb from the mint family. It has a square, hairy stalk with typically gray green colored heart shaped leaves that have scalloped edges. Flowers grow in spikes, reaching 1/2 inch in length.
It is best known for its ability to get cats high.
Native to Europe and Asia, catnip became naturalised in North America and Canada after being introduced by the colonists in the 1600s. The name Nepeta is believed to have come from the town of Nepete in Italy, and Cataria is thought to have come from the Latin word for cat.
The active ingredient that causes a high in cats is an essential oil called nepetalactone, which can be found in the leaves and stems of the plant.
Because cats affected by catnip roll on the floor, which mimics a female in estrus, it has been suggested that the plant acts as an aphrodisiac, but this is unlikely, as males react the same way as females. What is probable is the cat is reacting to similar feel good pheromones released during sexual courtship/activity. However, non sexual behaviour including playing, chasing, and hunting can also be observed.
Around 50 to 66% of cats are affected by catnip, and to differing degrees. Kittens younger than eight weeks old aren't able to enjoy its effect; in fact, they show an aversion to it. The response to catnip is mediated through the olfactory system. When nepetalactone enters the cat's nasal passages, it binds to olfactory receptors located at the olfactory epithelium. This stimulates sensory neurons, which trigger neurons in the olfactory bulb to send signals to the brain. The response to catnip is inherited as an autosomal dominant gene, which means the gene only needs to be passed on from one parent.
It's not just domesticated cats who enjoy the effects of catnip; many other wild species of cats also enjoy it. Cats can smell 1 part per billion in the air. Males and females, fertile or desexed there appears to be no one group more readily affected by catnip than another.
A typical response includes sniffing, chewing, licking, head shaking, and chin, cheek, and body rubbing (in that order). Additional responses may include stretching, drooling, jumping, licking, aggression, and hyperactivity. Sniffing that produces the high; it is believed that cats eat catnip to bruise the catnip, thereby releasing more of the nepetalactone. The high produced will usually last between five and ten minutes, followed by a one hour refractory period.
Interestingly, researchers say that nepetalactone is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, which is the active ingredient in most insect repellents. It was also discovered that catnip repels cockroaches! Plants aren't alone in containing nepetalactone; some insects and ants also contain it. It's been speculated that this protects them from other insects.
Rats and mice are also believed to have a strong dislike of catnip and will avoid places where it grows.
Is catnip harmful to cats? Catnip is not harmful to your cat. They won't overdose on it. Most cats know when they've had enough and will refuse any further offers.
A perennial best suited for zones 4-9.
D1714 Chinaberry Tree ( Melia azedarach )
A handsome and dense tree. The profuse berries are used to make
necklaces and insecticides. Also called Lilac Tree, Pride of
India and Bead Tree. To make flea repellent for lawns, mix 1
tablespoon of dry, powdered berries with on teaspoon of
dishwashing detergent to a gallon of water and spray on lawns
with a sprayer. This will also repel flying insects as
Best suited for zones 7-9.
D1719 Shoo-Fly Plant ( Nicanda Physalodes )
A vigorous bushy annual to 2-5 ft. tall with sky-blue bell
flowers a inch wide, followed by unusual, papery 5 wing pods
that are excellent for dried arrangements. A beautiful
ornamental that is raised around greenhouses for its possible
fly repelling and killing properties. Said to attract and kill
D1721 Blazing Star ( Liatris spicata )
A beautiful plant often raised for its ornamental appeal. Has
rosy purple spikes of flowers up to 15" long. The dried roots
of the plant have a soft vanilla smell and will repel moths
when placed among clothes. A hardy perennial that is easy to
grow from seeds reaching 3-6 ft. tall.
3469 Gopher Spurge ( Euphorbia latyrus )
While we realize the gopher is not an insect, we have had many requests for these seeds. The plant is said to produce a acrid milky juice in its roots that gophers cannot stand. It is said one should plant several of these plants in the yard and garden to discourage the pests.
Gopher Purge or Mole Plant contains a latex like milky sap that is found in the roots, leaves and flowers which can cause skin irritation in sensitive people. This caustic substance is not a repellant but a contact irritant.
The varmint must chew the roots to become ill or die. In order to protect plants from gophers or moles, a thick stand of Gopher Spurge planted in the gopher's main tunnel is necessary. And, because it is a biennial, it dies every two years, but it does reseed itself very well so you should have new plants springing up each year.
All parts of the plant, including the seeds and roots are poisonous. Handling may cause skin irritation as the plant produces latex. While poisonous to humans and most livestock, goats sometimes eat it and are immune to the toxin. However, the toxin can be passed through the goat's milk.
HR183 Rosemary ( Rosmarinus officinalis )
Evergreen aromatic shrubs from the Mediterranean. Grows 2-6 ft.
with pale blue 1/2" flowers and attractive foliage. Powdered
Rosemary leaves are used as a flea and tick repellent. Simply
dust the powder onto the pet or areas where the pet sleeps. A
very effective and safe repellent.
D1727 Wormwood ( Artemisia absinithium )
A hardy perennial to 3-5 ft. with gray, silky foliage and leafy
spikes of small flowers. Hardy throughout the US. Easy to grow
from seeds. Has many uses as food seasoning and medicinal
plant. Powdered dust from the plant sprinkled on plants and the
soil will deter many insects. Not because it is toxic, but
simply because they do not like its fragrance. Cannot ship
to ND, SD, MN
D1729 Pennyroyal ( Mentha pelugium )
A small leaved perennial herb that has spikes of lavender,
fragrant flowers. Ground pennyroyal is one of the most
effective tick deterrents available.
As a flea deterrent, dried pennyroyal leaves can be scattered around pet's bedding area.
As a pest repellent, crushed pennyroyal stems stuck in your hat and pockets really will repel gnats and mosquitoes. Dog owners often see their dogs rolling in pennyroyal patches, and dog instincts can usually be trusted.
HR350 Lemon Basil
An aromatic tender annual with small pretty flowers and lemony
fragrance. An attractive plant that is easy to grow. When
planted in the garden close to tomatoes, it not only improves
the taste of the tomatoes but deters white flies as well.
D1739 True Lavender ( Lavandula angustifolia )
A beautiful aromatic perennial that is hardy to zone 5 and can
be raised in tubs in colder climates. The most fragrant
lavender. Beautiful lavender flowers on long stems and narrow
green leaves. Sow in fall or spring. When planted in the
garden, it will deter pests with its fragrance. When dried and
placed in closets and drawers with clothes, it will deter moths
and lend its wonderful fragrance to the clothes.
D1745 Sage ( Salvia officinalis )
Every garden should have a little sage. Its use as a food
season, and its medicinal values have been known for centuries.
In the garden, it should be planted next to cabbage as it will
improve the taste of the plant and repel cabbage worms and
D1751 Pyrethrum Plant ( Chrysanthemum )
Also known as Tanacetum cinerariifolium. An amazing and beautiful plant grown throughout the world, it is hardy to zone 4 in the USA, makes a wonderful flower bed plant or container plant.
A beautiful daisy that is hardy and blooms throughout the spring and summer. The dried flowers are used to make probably the best natural pesticide available. Simply drying the flowers and making a dust or spray is a great way to control insect pests.
The plant is economically important as a natural source of insecticide. The flowers are pulverized and the active components, called pyrethrins, contained in the seed cases, are extracted and sold in the form of an oleoresin. This is applied as a suspension in water or oil, or as a powder.
Pyrethrum insecticide is one of the most widely used natural insecticides in existence. Pyrethrins work as a contact insecticide, the insect only has to be touched by the substance for it to take effect. When not present in amounts fatal to insects, they still appear to have an insect repellent effect. It will inhibit the biting reflex in female mosquitoes. Crucially, although pyrethrum acts quickly on insect pests, it is relatively non-toxic to humans and warm-blooded animals.
Pyrethrins are not persistent, being biodegradable and also decompose easily on exposure to light. They are considered to be amongst the safest insecticides for use around food.
An on-line resource for making your own pyrethrum at home.
It is so easy to do!
Sowing: Sow late winter to late Spring (Feb to May) or Late Summer to Autumn ( August to October)
Sow pyrethrum seeds in pots indoors or sow directly where they are to flower in a prepared bed in late spring once all danger of frost has passed. For the best results, choose a planting location that receives full sun and has very well-drained soil of average fertility.
For sowing indoors, sow in pots or trays containing good seed compost. Barely cover the seeds with a fine sprinkling of compost and make sure the compost is kept moist but not wet. Germination usually takes 30 to 60 days at 55°F.
Transplant the indoor seedlings when large enough to handle into pots and grow on. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Space 12 inches apart. Water regularly for the first two weeks of growth for container-grown plants to allow them time to become established.
Increase watering during times of drought or extreme heat.
TRN442 Jackpot Tansy ( Tanacetum niveum )
Sensational variety from England. Soft downy woolly grey leaves are soon overwhelmed by a shroud of white flowers, so much so that you almost cannot see the leaves. Has the same insect-repelling properties as other tansies. Not invasive.
Bright white, 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide, daisy-like flowers with a yellow center are produced in profusion from early through midsummer. Jackpot is extremely floriferous, up to 1000 blooms are produced at a time! If cut back after flowering, it may rebloom in the fall.
The aromatic, silvery-green, ferny foliage forms a nice mound similar to a chrysanthemum. The first year, it will grow to an approximate height of 18 inches. The second year, this vigorous grower may double in size.
Jackpot combines well with just about everything else in the garden. It is wonderful in mixed container plantings and can also be used as a cut flower.
A hardy perennial for zones 5-9.
TPF062 Fleabane Daisy ( Erigeron speciosus )
An annual plant growing 16-24" tall with violet, daisy like
flowers. Good in full sun or partial shade. Roman naturalists
detected that this herb repelled fleas, hence the name. Grow in
your garden to control insects, and rub the green leaves on
your clothing or pets to repel fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, gnats
Z1517 Mother of Cocao "Madre de Cacao" ( Gliricidium sepum )
This legume is a deciduous tree to 30' with mimosa type
foliage. Flowers are pink to light pink in color, fading to
white with brown spots or faint purple with age. A rather
attractive small shrub when young, it has many uses. Flowers
are bee forage. Cooked leaves and flowers are used as a human
food. Gliricidia is used to make medicines, rodenticides and
insecticides. It is also used as a windbreak and ornamental.
Cut boles are used to propagate orchids.
Grown as a shade tree for both coffee and cacao plants but also
seen as a "living fence". Both seeds and bark are poisonous,
but the foliage is used as food for livestock. It prefers arid,
tropical conditions, but can be grown in tubs inside
greenhouses when young.
Gliricidia is used by farmers in some Latin American countries
to repel insects. The leaves are ground up and combined with
water. The animal is then bathed with the resulting paste.
In the Philippines, gliricidia is washed and pounded to extract
the juice from the leaves. It is then applied to the area
affected by external parasites once to twice a day for one
week. In Guatemala, the bark and leaves of gliricidia are used
to treat human skin diseases.
D1788 Deerproof Flower Border Mix
A beautiful mix of annuals and perennials including yarrow,
pimpernel, coreopsis, foxglove, poppies, blanketflower sweet
alyssum and others that deer do not like. 2 ounce pack of seeds
will plant a 500 square ft. area.
D1789 Beneficial Insect Plant Mix
A special blend of flowers and plants proven to attract
beneficial insects to your garden area. Makes a beautiful
border area or can be plant in beds nearby. Contains rye,
barley, clovers, alfalfa, fennel, coriander, allysum, yarrow,
buckwheat and others. 2 ounce pack of seeds will plant a 350
square ft. area.
How to make a homemade mosquito trap.
How to make a homemade fruit fly trap.
How to make a homemade flea trap.
How to make a homemade gnat trap.
How to make a different type gnat trap.
How to make a homemade carpenter bee trap.
THE SAFE INSTANT KILL INSECTICIDE
The most effective insecticide that instantly kills flying and
crawling insects on contact but does no harm to mammals or birds
is the dried and crushed flowers of the Pyrethrum Plant. This
brown powder will kill or stun the insects the moment it touches
them but does no harm to pets when sprinkled on their coats. This
member of the daisy family is a beautiful ornamental and will
compliment any garden or flower bed. While very effective, the
dried powder only lasts for a few days. You can prolong its use
throughout the year by freezing fresh flower heads in zip-lock
bags and drying and crushing them as needed.
THE GREAT MOSQUITOE REPELLENT
Mosquitoes are very sensitive to certain scents, Chamomile and
Citriodora especially. Both are easy to grow and both are used in
dry flower arrangements. Citriodora is also used in potpourri. To
make The Great Mosquito Repellent, take one oz. of green leaves
from both plants and boil in a gallon of water. Strain and place
in the refrigerator. Before going outside, splash the mixture
liberally over your face and exposed parts of your body. You will
enjoy the fresh, citrus smell but the mosquitoes will stay far
This is an old time remedy for deworming dogs and cats. Use
full amount on dogs and 1/4 amount on cats. Mix one teaspoon of
dried, powdered rosemary and one teaspoon of wormwood with 1/2
teaspoon of fresh ground garlic. Mix well and divide into 4
portions. Give pet a portion mixed in with food or pet treat four
times a day. Repeat this for 3 days and pet should be completely
Many gardeners have been making their own free insect
repellent for years using nature against itself. They learned
that many insects such as beetles will not feed on plants if they
smell the dead of their own species. This lead to the creation of
the term "bug juice". They collected as many different types of
bugs as they could find in the garden, then smashed them into a
paste, soaked this solution in water until the next day and
splashed onto the plants. To make the best bug juice, use an old
blender and add a little dishwashing detergent to the mix to make
it adhere better.