3 Plants That Keep Wasps at a Distance

There are more than 75,000 kinds of wasps in the world. Nearly all of them are not only harmless, but also highly beneficial because they prey on other insects, including disease-carrying mosquitoes and almost every crop-destroying garden pest you can name. But, zowie! Their stings really pack a punch. So plant any of this trio of repelling heroes wherever you want to keep wasps away:

Citronella. This is most potent when you crush the leaves and rub them onto your skin (or use citronella oil, available in health-food stores). But dense groupings of the real deal also discourage wasp visits. NOTE: Citronella cannot survive temperatures below 20°F, so if you live in cold-winter territory, plant it in containers, and move them indoors for the cold months.

Mint. Both the oil and live plants repel wasps. Unlike citronella, mint will thrive in any climate. In fact, unless you grow it in pots, or confine the roots underground, you’ll need to clip it back frequently — otherwise, it’ll take over your whole yard before you know it!

Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). If you want a great-looking border to enclose a wasp-free zone, this is the plant for you. It’s a perennial with finely cut silvery-gray foliage. It’s hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8 and highly drought resistant. On the downside, the same aromatic chemicals that repel wasps (and scads of other insects) make wormwood poisonous to people and animals — so don’t plant it if you have small children or pets on the scene.