14 Indoor and Outdoor Plants That Repel Spiders

What to Grow to Keep Spiders out

Herb plants on a deck repel spiders
Herbs on a deck repel spiders

Gallo Images / Getty Images

Plants, especially strongly scented plants such as herbs, are a natural way to deter spiders from invading your home. Spiders move indoors especially with the onset of cold weather in search of a warm place and insects to feed on. Spider webs are unsightly and once the spiders abandon them, they collect lint and dust. Nobody enjoys having a spider walk across the kitchen floor.

Plants that spiders don’t like can be houseplants or outdoor plants, and you can grow them either in containers or in garden beds. For the plants to work as spider repellents, place the plants in key locations where spiders are likely to enter your home, such as near doors, windows, and other entryways. If you live in a cooler climate, you can keep potted frost-sensitive plants outdoors during the summer and overwinter them indoors. 

Here is a list of plants that spiders don’t like.

  • 01 of 14

    Basil

    Basil
    Basil

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    All basil (Ocimum basilicum) varieties—Genovese, cinnamon, lemon, and Thai basil—have a strong scent that deters spiders. It is a cold-sensitive herb that can be grown as a perennial in warm climates and indoors.

    • Size: 12–24 in. tall and wide
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10–11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained
    • Water: Deeply and regularly
    • Fertilizer: If harvesting continuously, fertilize about once a month with an all-purpose fertilizer

    Tip

    All of these watering instructions are for plants growing in garden soil, unless otherwise noted. If grown in containers outdoors, plants need more frequent and deep watering due to direct sun exposure and increased evaporation.

  • 02 of 14

    Lavender

    Lavender
    Lavender

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    If you are using lavender (Lavandula spp.) primarily to repel spiders, choose English lavender because it has the strongest scent of all lavender varieties. Lavenders are perennials but they must be overwintered indoors in cooler climates.

    • Size: 2-3 ft. tall, 2-4 ft. wide
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, alkaline, dry
    • Water: Once established, water only sparingly
    • Fertilizer: Not needed
  • 03 of 14

    Mint

    Mint
    Mint

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    Peppermint is not only the cold-hardiest of all mints (Mentha spp.), but also the mint with the strongest scent so it’s the best suited to repel spiders. Note that mint is toxic to pets when ingested.

    • Size: 12-18 in. tall, 18-24 in. wide
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-11 depending on variety
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, moist, well-drained
    • Water: Only during dry spells to keep soil slightly moist
    • Fertilizer: Not needed unless grown in poor soil
  • 04 of 14

    Rosemary

    Rosemary
    Rosemary

    Kirill Rudenko / Getty Images

    In most climates, rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) will only survive as a perennial if it is overwintered indoors. But if you give it plenty of light, you can also grow rosemary exclusively indoors year-round.

    • Size: 2-6 ft. tall, 2-4 ft. wide
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Sandy, loamy, well-drained
    • Water: Only sparingly, soil should be moist at maximum
    • Fertilizer: Not needed unless grown in poor soil
    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14

    Lemon Balm

    Lemon balm
    Lemon balm

    -lvinst- / Getty Images

    Even people with a yard often grown this hardy perennial in a container as it tends to spread. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) needs plenty of sunlight to do well indoors. Fertilizing it will reduce the strength of its scent so fertilizer is counterproductive to growing lemon balm as a spider-repelling plant.

    • Size: 1.5-2 ft. tall, 1.5-3 ft. wide
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-7
    • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
    • Water: Once established, only needed sparingly
    • Fertilizer: Not needed
  • 06 of 14

    Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum
    Chrysanthemum

    StephanieFrey / Getty Images

    Despite being perennials, the mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium) found in garden centers in the fall often don’t make it to the next year (starting them in the spring yourself is a better way to grow them as perennials). The fall, when potted mums are sold and promoted is perfect because that’s when spiders seek out a warm, cozy place for the winter. Placing mums around your entrance door is not just pretty but also works against spiders.

    • Size: 2-3 ft. tall. 1-2 ft. wide
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Fertile, moist, well-drained, slightly acidic
    • Water: Deeply and regularly
    • Fertilizer: For mums grown as annuals, feed every 7-14 days with an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer
  • 07 of 14

    Citronella Grass

    Citronella grass
    Citronella grass

    Kcris Ramos / Getty Images

    Because it won’t overwinter in most climates, citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus) needs to be grown as a perennial, needs to be brought indoors during the winter. The lemon scent of the blades not only deters spiders but also mosquitoes and other insects.

    • Size: 6 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-12
    • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full sun
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, moist, well-drained
    • Water: Amply and regularly, in some conditions daily
    • Fertilizer: High-nitrogen fertilizer once a year at the beginning of the growing season in the spring
  • 08 of 14

    Lemon Verbena

    Lemon verbena
    Lemon verbena

    insonnia / Getty Images

    Like many of the plants that repel spiders, lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora) is also a delicious culinary herb that you can use for drinks, desserts, and jams. The plant is a perennial, native to Argentina and Chile, that needs indoor overwintering in cold climates.

    • Size: 2-3 ft. tall, up to 6 ft. tall when grown outdoors year-round 
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 8-11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, loamy, moist, well-drained
    • Water: Regularly and deeply
    • Fertilizer: During the growing season. fertilize about once a month with an all-purpose fertilizer
    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14

    Sage

    Sage
    Sage

    Daniela Duncan / Getty Images

    All sages are fragrant but if you want to plant one specifically for its scent, Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii), a native of California, or musk sage, a naturally occurring variety of Cleveland sage, are the most aromatic ones.

    If you grow ordinary garden sage (Salvia officinalis), do not fertilize it, as it weakens its scent.

    • Size: 2-2.5 ft. tall, 2-3 ft. wide
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, sandy, well-drained
    • Water: Only during dry spells
    • Fertilizer: Not needed
  • 10 of 14

    Dill

    Dill
    Dill

    Nicholas Kostin / Getty Images

    This annual herb does not like transplanting so it is best to start it from seed. Dill (Anethum graveolens) grows fast but stops producing its aromatic green fronds after the bloom, about eight weeks after sowing. For a constant supply of dill, reseed it about every four to six weeks from spring to late summer.

    • Size: 3-5 ft. tall, 2-3 ft. wide
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 2-11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained
    • Water: As needed to keep soil moist at all times
    • Fertilizer: No fertilizer needed
  • 11 of 14

    Chives

    Chives
    Chives

    Ana Luiza Serpa / Getty Images

    A low-maintenance perennial herb whose onion scent works as a spider repellent. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum), like other members of the onion family, are toxic to dogs and cats.

    • Size: 10-15 in. tall and wide
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun, light shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, loamy, sandy, well-drained
    • Water: Only during dry spells
    • Fertilizer: If you are harvesting the chives, fertilize in the late spring with a high-nitrogen fertilizer
  • 12 of 14

    Catnip

    Catnip
    Catnip

    Akchamczuk / Getty Images

    A hardy perennial that grows and spreads fast. For better control, catnip (Nepeta cataria) is often grown in containers, either outdoors or indoors. If the plant gets unruly as a houseplant, start with a new seedling.

    • Size: 2-3 ft. tall and wide
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-7
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, sandy, well-drained
    • Water: Only during dry spells
    • Fertilizer: Not needed unless grown in poor soil
    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14

    Marigolds

    French Marigolds
    French Marigolds

    Virtaa / Getty Images

    The strong scent of marigolds (Tagetes spp.) makes these vibrant flowers a potent insect and spider repellent. Of all the marigold varieties, Mexican marigolds (Tagetes erecta) have the strongest scent and they are also the tallest. Note that the scent is all in the foliage, marigold flowers have almost no scent, which means that the leafy parts of the plants act as repellents not just when the flowers are in bloom. Marigolds are grown as annuals in all hardiness zones.

    • Size: 4-36 in. tall, 6-18 in. wide depending on the variety
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 2-11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Any soil, above ph 6.0
    • Water: Regularly until established, then only during dry spells
    • Fertilizer: Not needed unless grown in poor soil
  • 14 of 14

    Eucalyptus

    Eucalyptus
    Eucalyptus

    © Cyrielle Beaubois / Getty Images

    The menthol-smell of bruised eucalyptus leaves is what makes the tree attractive to humans but unappealing for spiders. When grown indoors as a houseplant, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus cinerea) grows to a height of only 6-10 feet.

    The tree is toxic to humans and pets; the bark and leaves can cause skin irritations and are highly toxic when ingested.

    • Size: 6-60 ft. tall, 2-15 ft. wide
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 8-11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Any type, well-drained, slightly acidic)
    • Water: Although it is drought-tolerant, water when the soil feels dry.
    • Fertilizer: None needed for outdoor plants; for houseplants, apply a low-nitrogen fertilizer about once a month during the growing season.

Spiders in Your Yard

Not all spiders are a nuisance, it depends where you encounter them. Take the necessary steps to keep them out of your home but give them leeway outdoors. Garden spiders are an excellent biological pest control for insects that can bother or harm you, such as mosquitoes or flies, or that can wreak havoc on your plants, such as aphids, beetles, wasps, and stink bugs. Beneficial spiders in your yard include orb weavers, jumping spiders, and sac spiders.

Note that spider mites and spiders are both arachnids but spider mites, unlike spiders, are not at all beneficial; they cause significant damage to all kinds of plants.

Article Sources
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  1. Mint. ASPCA.

  2. Chives. ASPCA.

  3. Eucalyptus leaves: more than a delicacy for koalas. Office for Science and Society, McGill University.