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These 7 Plants Are Natural Repellents to Keep Fruit Flies Out of Your Home

Fruit flies are perhaps the most annoying of household pests. They barge right in and make themselves quite at home. With a knack for gravitating toward ripe fruits, veggies and even stagnant drains, fruit flies are causing quite a nuisance this time of year. While not on anyone’s list of devastating catastrophes, fruit flies are downright frustrating, to put it mildly.

Learning how to get rid of fruit flies is one way to deal with this problem, but preventing them from entering your home in the first place is preferable.

There are measures you can take to deter them from your home in the first place — such as growing the right plants. There are certain, specific types that are harmless for humans but have repellent qualities for fruit flies.

Here are seven plants that repel fruit flies and help keep them out of your home. It’s a good bet that you can easily introduce a few of these into your home and yard to create a fruit fly-free haven.


One of the most popular herbs in everyday dishes like pizza and pasta, basil is useful in another way: to repel fruit flies. As a bonus, ants and mosquitoes also dislike the intense aroma.

Basil is nontoxic to both cats and dogs, so it is an especially good option if you’ve got pets.


While most find the scent of peppermint to be delightfully refreshing, not so for fruit flies. It is an odor that makes them turn around and fly away!

Mint is very easy to grow both indoors and outside. In fact, know that in the presence of sunny conditions with moist, well-draining soil, it will arrogantly take over not only where planted but surrounding areas — and I mean quickly! Your best bet is to plant mint in containers, then trim it back as needed to create lush, beautiful foliage.

While delicious when added to iced tea and other beverages, mint is toxic to both cats and dogs, so avoid this plant if you have curious pets running around.


When it comes to plants with distinctive scents, lavender may top them all. And fruit flies hate it! They hate it so much they will steer clear at every opportunity (as will spiders, rodents and even deer).

A hardy plant, lavender prefers full sun and well-draining soil. If you’re growing it outside and want to take advantage of its fruit fly-repelling qualities, cut bunches, tie them into bouquets and hang indoors.


Rosemary is easy to grow both indoors and outside, requiring full sun and regular water in well-draining soil. Planted nearby entrance points, rosemary can stand guard to send fruit flies away before you even know they’re in the area.

This plant is nontoxic to cats and dogs, which makes it all the better.


Eucalyptus leaves are rife with oil that is often used for medicinal purposes. This remarkable oil can help reduce symptoms of pain and prompt relaxation, so it’s a useful oil, to say the least. We humans enjoy so many benefits of eucalyptus. However, it is not a fan favorite for fruit flies. Growing eucalyptus outdoors or as houseplants inside will do its magic soon enough.

Warning: Eucalyptus, too, is toxic for cats and dogs, so keep pets away.


The Venus flytrap technically will not repel fruit flies. It produces a sweet smell that mimics fresh flowers in order to entice those pests into its “mouth.” When an unsuspecting fruit fly steps onto one of its tiny hairs, it will snap shut to catch the fly, turning the situation into a tasty meal.

This carnivorous plant is relatively easy to care for but will require a taller container because the root system can be deep and intricate. You’ll want a sunny spot for best growth with acidic, well-draining soil.

Venus flytrap is safe to grow around your pets as it is nontoxic.


Another naturally occurring plant that fruit flies can’t stand is the clove tree. The small, stick-like spice is actually dried flower buds from the clove tree that were picked before they had a chance to bloom.

If you want a steady supply of fruit fly-repellent cloves, you can grow your own clove tree outdoors, or even bring it inside as a houseplant.

Too much work to grow your own clove tree? Pick up a can of whole cloves at the supermarket or online.

Cloves are on the list of items that can be toxic to cats and dogs, so skip this if you have pets.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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