May 03

Plants for repelling Ticks in your yard

The snow is melted, and now it’s time for yard clean up and gardening! As gardeners everywhere in the North East delight in this time of year, we also wonder “how bad are the Ticks going to be”? It was a rather mild winter here in Maine, so I am anticipating many. Don’t let it get you down… there are many flowering plants that ticks don’t like; and you can use them to your advantage.

Perennials are nice, because as soon as the snow melts, they’re already beginning to grow. Over time, many perennials will increase in size, and therefore give more coverage as well. I like native plants that can be naturalized into the woodland landscape, and those that can be cultivated in rows or beds. It just depends on your layout, the type of growing conditions, and your own personal preference. So, as your planning this years plant purchases, these are some you will want to consider.

Antennaria spp., aka Pussy Toes. Field Pussy Toes are wild and grow throughout much of the eastern United States. They create masses of white flowers as they spread via seeds, and root system. Makes a great ground cover in naturalized rock gardens and requires little to no maintenance. This plant emerges in early spring, and grows to a height of 4″-6″; flowers May to July.  It likes to grow where ticks like to hang out – on ledge and in lawns. This plant also deters other insects (fleas), small rodents, rabbits, and deer. Perfect for any New England Door Yard!

Pussy Toes grow well in rocky soil, or mingled in with the lawn.


Biokovo Pelargonium, aka Cranesbill Geranium is hardy to New England winters, and spreads nicely, creating drifts of greenery and flowers. It omits a strong odor, especially if the plant is touched. It often stays green in winter, and grows quickly as soon as the spring thaw begins. This is a wonderful feature, as ticks begin to move as soon as the ground is clear of snow, and the temperatures are just above freezing. These Geraniums grow well in most soils, and rock gardens. Flowers bloom late May to early July.  Many pests do not like this plant, and it is great for repelling insects (mosquitoes and ticks), deer, and rodents.

Cranesbill helps to repel many pests in the garden, including insects, and small rodents.


Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium, aka Pyrethrum Daisy. Pyrethrum Daisy is a wonderful addition to any garden as a ground cover or border plant. It can also be grown in pots, and window boxes. Pyrethrum is a compound contained in the plant that adds to the fragrance of the leaves and flowers. Pests don’t like it! This includes fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, and rodents. Some bloom in summer, and others late summer to autumn. This plant is green as soon as the snow melts, and is nice as a ground cover, or cascading over ledge. These plants are also deer resistant.

Pyrethrum Daisy repels many pests, including ticks!


Salvia officianalis, Common Sage can be grown in flower pots, and in the garden, or intermingled among landscaping. It likes well drained soil, and lots of sunshine. This plant is wonderful for repelling insects (fleas, mosquitoes, moths, ticks) and deer. It grows up to 24″ in height, and flowers mid to late summer. The flowers are a deep purple color, and a nice contrast to the green foliage. Cuttings from this plant can be dried, and used in sachets, and around the home to help repel unwanted guests year round.

Common Sage is great for repelling pests around the yard, including ticks!


These are plants I have chosen from my own personal experience, and extensive research over the years. I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can use plants in your own environment, and helps you achieve a tick free garden experience. Happy gardening!