En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - April 18, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Medicinal Plants
Title: Plants good for repelling bugs in Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need help on what type of plants or herbs are good for keeping bugs away from the house and also something that would be good for in the house for bugs?

ANSWER:

Most plants have characteristics to attract insects to be pollinators rather than repel them. There are those, however, that do repel at least some insects. Generally, they require that the foliage of the plant be crushed to release the aromatic properties that repel insects. Here are the native North American plant species that are listed as Natural Insect Repellent Plants:

Nicotiana attenuata (coyote tobacco or mountain tobacco)

Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky coffeetree)

Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) [synnonym = Acacia robinia]

Maclura pomifera (osage orange)

Hedeoma pulegioides (American false pennyroyal) [synonym = Mentha pelugium]

Erigeron speciosus (aspen fleabane)

The following two are listed in the University of Michigan Native American Ethnobotany database as insect repellents:

Artemisia dracunculus (tarragon)

Rhus trilobata (skunkbush sumac)

 

 

More Pests Questions

Will cochineal insects washed from cactus plants harm adjacent Oleander?
June 11, 2015 - Will mealybugs (cochineal insects) power washed off prickly pear cactus harm adjacent oleander plants if the white fluff gets on the oleander? My neighbor asked me to power wash my prickly pears and t...
view the full question and answer

Dandelions in bluebonnets in Bastrop TX
May 31, 2012 - I have a 20'x60' front yard area where I planted bluebonnets. It has become horrifically inundated with dandelions. How do I eradicate the dandelions while preserving the bluebonnets ? Thanks ...
view the full question and answer

Mosquito problem from Mesa AZ
April 07, 2014 - We have a mosquito problem in our backyard, I think they're grass Mosquitos. I wanted to get lemongrass for a deterrent but both nurseries were out so I opted for rosemary. They're ALL OVER the rose...
view the full question and answer

Damage to cedar elm from Austin
August 16, 2013 - We have a cedar elm next to the corner of our house that has been dropping lots and lots of twigs with green leaves over the past 3 weeks, while our other elms have not. These rapidly pile up on the p...
view the full question and answer

What's invading my bermuda grass?
June 11, 2013 - Our grass is being totally overrun by this weed.(I don't know what the name is identify it by the description. It is in Bermuda grass and the only way to describe the weed is to say it looks like big...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center