10 Best Plants That Repel Rats From Your Garden

Gardening with flowers and fruits is the best idea to provide green space as well as a water catchment area. However, this beauty will be disturbed if you deal with rat issues. These pests can damage your plants, leaving a mess behind. Not to mention their presence can also attract snakes to your property. What a double trouble! Therefore, our experts recommend growing plants that repel rats from your garden for good.

They have rat repellent abilities due to their intense and distinctive aroma that keeps rats out of the area. Some of them are peppermint, black pepper, rosemary, and other potted plants you can easily arrange around the yard.

Curious about these aromatic plants? Find out the details below!

What Attracts Rats To Your Yard?

Unlike pollinators that are attracted to nectars or humans that love sweet scents, rats are completely the opposite. Their favorite smells are stink, ew! They will be drawn to your garden if pet droppings are scattered in that area because it is one of their food sources.

plants that repel rats
Fallen Citrus Become A Favorite Snack for Rodents

Well, it sounds nasty, but rodents get nutrients from the poops. Apart from the feces, the compost bin with rotten aroma from the veggies and other food scraps also attracts the rats’ attention.

Furthermore, fallen fruits, especially citrus, also become a favorite snack for rodents if they are allowed to fall on the ground. Not only mice, but snakes can also visit your yard because prey roams around.

Apart from that, you also have to watch out for your dog or cat feeds as rodents can eat them. Drain or close the water source where they look for a drink!

What Time of Year Are Rats Most Active?

Rats love cool and humid conditions. For that reason, you must be aware from fall to early spring. In general, they will leave a trail when they invade your garden.

These signs can be droppings scattered in the area where they often roam. Besides, you can notice the holes they make as a way in and out of their nesting space. These holes can be displaced soil that looks odd compared to the surrounding settings.

plants that repel rats
Time of Year That Rats Most Active

In addition, you may expect squeaking and scratching sounds from rodents that roam around your yard. Moreover, these culprits also started building nests around the house to shelter when the cold air hit. Then, when summer arrives, these pests will happily have children.

One mouse can produce up to 60 pigs in one breeding season! No wonder they can quickly overrun your garden without proper maintenance and precautions. How terrible!

What Smells Do Rats Dislike?

The presence of rats becomes a serious problem when they start building nests in your area. Not only do their droppings dirty the pages, but their nature that loves to chew on everything–wood, furniture, fabric, and electric wiring–is extremely bothersome. Hence, homeowners try so hard to get rid of rats.

Besides using chemicals, such as ammonia and bleaching agents that smell sharp, people usually plant rat repellent plants to repel them naturally. Some outdoor plants to keep rodents cared for effectively are peppermint and citronella. Their intense and pungent aromas irritate their nasal system, thus making them uncomfortable and fleeing your garden.

Best Plants That Repel Rats

If you are wondering what kind of plants that deter rats, you can just scroll down and find some we’ve compiled! We also include how to take care of these plants in your garden. Interested? Check them out!

1. Amaryllis (Amaryllis Spp.)

Having bright red with strokes of white and creamish colors makes amaryllis a favorite flowering plant to repel rats. The flowers come between dark green leaves that offer a clean background. Moreover, Amaryllis grows from bulbs that can bear one stem, which produces 2 flowers.

Meanwhile, the larger ones can grow up to five flowers on three stems. This bulb makes this flowering plant a rat resistant plant because it contains alkaloid compounds that are toxic to rats.

plants that repel rats
Red Amaryllis Flower Blossom

You can grow Amaryllis with other plants that deter rats, including lavender and rosemary. To grow Amaryllis, you must ensure that the area where you live falls into the USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10, where the lowest temperatures do not exceed below 10°F.

This mouse repellent plant loves to soak under bright, indirect light with cool weather around 60°F to 65°F. As for the soil, Amaryllis is not as fussy as long as it is well-drained.

2. Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia)

You may be familiar with the shape of bergamot fruits because it belongs to the citrus family. However, the surface of the fruit is more rough and bumpy, unlike citrus, which is smooth. In addition, the fruit is dark green, like the leaves.

The aroma is strong, fresh, and distinctive citrusy, which makes rats lazy to approach this plant. Hence, it is recommended as rat repellent plants!

plants that repel rats
Citrus Bergamia

Bergamot can happily grow in the USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8, covering quite a large section. They like cool temperatures, ranging between 60°F to 70°F, for optimal growth.

However, ensure they get partial sun exposure to support their photosynthesis. In addition, this rat repellent plant favors rich, loamy, moist soil with a pH of around 6 to 8. You can plant bergamot with chamomile and catmint.

3. Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum)

Piper nigrum or black pepper is a type of spice widely used to add hot flavor to your dishes. They grow dark seeds that are covered with black wrinkled pericarp. These seeds will later be ground into ground pepper or black paper powder.

Moreover, this plant is loaded with piperine (hence the name), a toxic chemical compound for rats. Therefore, planting them in your garden can be an alternative to preventing rats from coming to this area again.

plants that repel rats
Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum)

But before that, you have to know the growing need for black pepper. Since the growing areas include USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12, it’s no wonder Piper nigrum loves bright, full sun exposure. It prefers rich, moist, loamy, slightly acidic soil to thrive best.

Our experts recommend growing it with herbs like basil to improve its flavor. Meanwhile, planting carrots and lettuce with black paper can help the plant inhibit weeds’ growth.

4. Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum Spp.)

If you consider plants that rats don’t like but are looking for flowers, Chrysanthemum is your best pick. It displays showy pink flowers that grow lush in clusters at the ends of the stems. Besides, this rat-repelling plant also bears alternate thin leaves along its tall spikes.

With such features, how is it possible that it belongs to plants that repel mice? It turns out that the flowers contain pyrethrin, which acts as a natural pesticide. Therefore, rats will naturally escape from your garden if you plant them.

plants that repel rats
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum Spp.)

Luckily, Chrysanthemum thrives in the USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. So, they can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Considering the growing areas, the flowers love to grow in sunny locations.

However, you must protect the blooms from excessive afternoon sun to prevent burning. Also, ensure the soil is rich with organic matter, slightly acidic to neutral, and moist but well-drained.

5. Daffodils (Narcissus Spp.)

Belonging to the Amaryllis family, it’s no wonder that Daffodils have a stunning appearance. Depending on the species, it features bright yellow petals with a hint of orange in the centers.

Their silvery green leaves are long, providing an exciting sight to your garden when you grow them. If you have a lettuce garden, you can grow daffodils next to this leafy green as a trick to keep rats out of your yard. It is thanks to the intense fragrance the flowers emit.


If you want to plant daffodils in your yard, prepare a site with at least 6 hours of sun exposure. Don’t forget about the soil! It favors fertile, loamy, loose, and well-drained soil to thrive. Ensure it is not soggy, as the ground triggers bulb rot. Moreover, you can grow them in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8.

6. Garlic (Allium Sativum)

Allium sativum, or garlic, is one of the most popular vegetables in the world. It is almost impossible to skip it from our daily meals as it can enhance the flavor and aroma. While we know garlic as a brownish-white bulb, it also grows clusters of white flowers on top of tall spikes.

Their bulbs are a strong reason why rats hate this plant. They have an extremely intense pungent, spicy aroma that bothers their sense of smell. So, planting garlic means saying goodbye to pests in your garden!

Garlic (Allium Sativum)
Garlic (Allium Sativum)

In case you are interested in trying growing garlic, you must save a spot with at least 6 hours of full sun per day. The bulbs and stems are prone to diseases. Hence, make sure that the soils are not constantly wet.

We strongly recommend providing moisture-retentive, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of about 6 to 7 to stimulate the best growth. In addition, garlic thrives better in the USDA hardiness zones 1 to 5. You can grow them with kale, cabbage, and cauliflower in your veggie garden.

7. Lavender (Lavandula Spp.)

Lavandula or more popular as lavender, may be one of the most lovely flowers on earth. The purple flowers to grow wrapping the stalks can easily adorn your garden with their beauty. They are not only beautiful but also give off a pleasant fragrance.

Contrary to popular belief (or humans’ perspective), rats don’t like the scent. And for that reason, we recommend growing lavender in your yard along with rosemary, basil, squash, onions, and many more!

Lavandula Spp
Lavandula Spp

Fortunately, growing lavender is not tricky! These blooms grow in the USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9 and are well-adapted to arid conditions. They will thrive under the full sun but appreciate partial shade if you plant them in tropical climates. Unlike other flowering plants, lavender prefers poor and dry soil with moderate fertility.

8. Onion (Allium Cepa)

Another flowering plant that can get rid of rats from your outdoor space: onions! They bear charming flower heads with a soft purple color that brightens up your garden. Not to mention the green stalks can balance up the settings.

However, it’s not the flowers that can drive mice out of your garden, but the bulbs! They have an intense, harsh scent that can irritate their nasal system and eyes. That’s why those culprits won’t dare to get closer to your garden if you grow onion plants.

Allium Cepa
Allium Cepa

Since onions love to grow under full sun, having a sunny site is crucial to allow six or more hours of sun exposure. Besides, they also prefer organic-rich, moist, but well-drained soil to thrive. You can add compost to increase the organic matter in your poor soil.

We also recommend growing onions on a raised basis if the soil is constantly wet. In addition, this veggie will thrive in the USDA hardiness zones 5 to 7.

9. Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

Some people mistake peppermint for mint. Well, they are indeed from the same family but are actually different. Peppermint has dark green, toothed leaves with red-purplish veins.

It has the strongest aroma and cooling effect compared to all Mentha members. And perhaps, for that reason, rats cannot withstand the odor and immediately leave the property if you grow them around. You can plant peppermint with cauliflower, cabbages, tomatoes, carrots, and almost all herbs to help deter pests.

Mentha x Piperita
Mentha x Piperita

It’s not wrong if peppermint is one of the favorite plants that repel rats because they are easy to maintain. They are not fussy about growing conditions as you only need to prepare organic-rich, loose, moist, and well-drained soil to grow them.

This sun-loving herb also tolerates clay and sandy soils as long as they are evenly damp. As it loves cool weather, peppermint thrives in the USDA hardiness zones 5 to 10.

10. Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus)

Who doesn’t know rosemary? Salvia rosmarinus or rosemary has needle-like, dark green leaves that are often dried for cooking. Besides growing leaves, rosemary also produces beautiful purple flowers in the middle of the greenery of their dense foliage.

Moreover, this herb can be found in almost all Western cuisines giving it a tantalizing aroma. But for rats, the scent is very piercing to the nose. Because rosemary produces an essential oil with a pungent odor, those pests don’t feel comfortable around this plant. Hence, planting them can be the most effective repel rats method!

Salvia Rosmarinus
Salvia Rosmarinus

For rosemary plants, you need to live in the USDA hardiness zones 7 to 9, depending on the cultivars. Since this herb loves full sun, a sunny site is crucial to allow proper development.

You must also ensure light, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH to grow rosemary. Luckily, they are adaptable to heat, drought, and salt and also grow well in flower pots. So, don’t worry about their maintenance!

Final Thought

Chemical substances, like bleach and ammonia, may be the quickest way to deter rats from your garden. But, they come with environmental consequences. Hence, planting plants that repel rats is the best idea to naturally deter them. For flowering plants, you can grow lavender and amaryllis. Not only are they stunning, but also help you deal with pest issues. If you want to also harvest herbs, rosemary and peppermint may be your ideal bet.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do you keep rats from eating in your garden?

Keeping rats away from your garden is relatively easy. Just ensure that you do not provide what they like. These culprits love to devour ripe fruits that fall on the ground. So, remove them to the garbage and close it.

And if you have a compost bin with food scraps, make sure to place it away from your garden. Otherwise, those mice will invade your compost in no time! In addition, store your pet foods in a closed space to prevent pests invasion in your area.

Will planting mint keep rats away?

Herbs, like mint, have a strong scent that we love to improve our food taste and aroma. Nonetheless, such odor is extremely hated by rats due to its intense pungent characteristic.

You can plant mint next to your veggie gardens to repel rodents and bugs that often become troublemakers. Incorporate this herb with peppermint and spearmint can be a great idea to get the best results! 

Will peppermint attract rats?

Like mint, peppermint is one of the herbs that make rats get into trouble. Its strong, pungent menthol aroma disrupts the sensitive smell of pests, irritating the system. Therefore, where peppermint grows, rodents are unlikely to come near this fragrant plant. You can plant herbs like rosemary with peppermint to ensure the mice go away for good from your garden.

Will rats return to the same place?

Rats, like most other pests, will return to the same place where they can get access to food and water. They also come back to the nest they build in the area. Hence, it will be best to remove what they love, such as fallen fruits scattered on the ground, to avoid their presence again.

Besides that, you can prevent it by planting rat repelling plants, such as lavender and amaryllis. These flowering plants will also adorn your garden with their beautiful blooms.

Does citronella deter rats?

Not only mosquitoes that don’t like citronella, but rats hate it as well! The plant has a strong, lemon-like smell that repels rats effectively. You can grow them around your house to prevent rodents from visiting.

However, it would be better to introduce citronella oils, which have a much more intense smell to keep rodents out of your property. Mix two teaspoons of citronella oil and one cup of water into a spray bottle. Shake it well, then use it around your garden.

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