There’s something about spiders, isn’t there? No matter how much people tell you they’re benevolent little house guests who keep flies and other bugs away. There’s that unshakeable urge to flee when you see them scurrying your way.
Over the years, I’ve got slightly better at dealing with them, and I can take them outside if I absolutely must. But I’d really rather they weren’t in my home in the first place.
Luckily, there are quite a few house plants that can naturally help keep spiders away.
So my fellow arachnophobes, here’s a list of plants you can grow indoors to help repel spiders. Experiment with a few in different rooms to see what works best – or grow them all if you’re terrified!
1. Eucalyptus – heaven to koalas, kryptonite to spiders
Unlike koalas who adore the stuff, spiders can’t stand the menthol scent of eucalyptus.
Now you probably have to be pretty spooked by spiders to try this, as it’s technically a tree. And just like a tree, it grows large and fast.
But you can keep it in a pot indoors until it gets too big for the space. Growing it in a smallish pot (around 20cm wide) will help to keep it in check for at least a season.
As it’s native to Australia, eucalyptus absolutely loves sunshine, so is best grown near a sunny window (preferably south facing).
Use a rich free-draining soil and keep it well watered, especially in the summer months.
2. Peppermint – the minty fresh taste of spiders’ nightmares
Yep, there’s no danger of spiders running off with any stray Polos or Tic Tacs you leave lying around. The little critters hate mint.
For that reason, you’ll often see peppermint oil used as an ingredient in home-made spider repellent sprays. Perhaps you’ve come across a few recipes on your way here. But a strongly scented fresh peppermint plant will have a similar effect.
Fortunately, mint is a prolific easy grower and makes an invaluable herb for an indoor kitchen garden.
Give it plenty of indirect light and water often enough so soil doesn’t dry out completely, but isn’t too wet. Keep it snipped to stop it getting too leggy and use the leaves to add pep to your potatoes.
3. Basil – turns out spiders aren’t big fans of pesto
Growing basil won’t just complement the mint in your indoor kitchen garden. It’ll also turbo boost your spider-repelling efforts. Its aromatic oils will send spiders running for the hills.
When grown indoors, a basil plant needs sun and lots of it. Place it in direct sunlight on a sun-soaked windowsill and keep it well watered.
I always water into the saucer underneath rather than the pot, so it can control its own uptake. The plant will let you know when it needs a top up as the leaves will visibly wilt.
Periodically pinch off any dead, dry leaves to keep the plant healthy, strong and looking great in your kitchen.
Are there any flowers that repel spiders?
Why yes, there are. I was hoping you’d ask me that. Because I was just coming to…
4. Lavender – soothing and comforting, unless you’re an arachnid
Beautifully scented lavender is another potent fragrance that spiders can’t abide. It’s a little tricky to grow indoors, but it can be done with a little effort.
Make sure to choose your variety carefully, as not all will take to life indoors. French Lavender is one that should be fine when grown in a pot inside.
As it hails from sunny Mediterranean climes, it loves heat and light and won’t take kindly to overwatering. Plenty of direct sunlight, good air flow and letting soil become slightly dry between waterings are the most important things to keep it happy.
As the plant will grow toward the light, turning the pot once a week will ensure even growth. To give it an extra boost, apply fertiliser once a month when growth is strongest in spring and summer.
5. Chrysanthemums – a secret weapon?
You might consider this cheating, in that they’re not specifically known to repel spiders. However, chrysanthemum flowers do contain a naturally occurring general insect repellent.
Pyrethrum, a chemical sourced from the dried flowers, makes its way into lots of natural insect repellent sprays.
So keeping a vase filled with cut chrysanthemums may just be a secret weapon in your spider-defeating arsenal.
As spiders seek out habitats where food is plentiful, they naturally gravitate to where there’s lots of other insects around for them to eat.
But if you introduce a general insect repellent like chrysanths, it may encourage all your other insect inhabitants to up and leave. And if they know what’s good for them, savvy spiders will follow suit.
How to get the best out of spider-repellent flowers and house plants
Though these plants will go a long way to keeping spiders away just by being there, your best defence against spiders is to take a more holistic approach.
Decluttering rooms that spiders usually frequent and sweeping out any dark, dusty corners will give them fewer places to hide. And place your plants or flowers in or as close as you can to these spider hotspots.
A really good clear out combined with strategically placed spider repellers should give you a tangible improvement.
And you can increase the effects by periodically tearing, pinching and bruising the leaves of your plants to release more of the scent.
Get growing and see how you get on
You’ve nothing to lose by growing one or more of these spider-deterring plants, and they’ll add colour and scent to your home to boot.
You can even use a couple to help you make delicious meals. What’s not to like?
As they say, prevention is better than a cure. Stopping our spider friends (and I use that term loosely) from moving in is kinder than killing them, and easier than catching them.
They’re an important part of the ecosystem so they deserve respect – and just like any other creature, they have to live somewhere.
If you’re terrified of them, the best thing for all concerned is if they just decide to not live where you are. Simple. So gentle persuasion by means of the right plants is an eminently sensible approach.
To increase their reach, you can also use all of the above to make your own repellent sprays. You can then apply them with gusto whenever the mood takes you.
Just infuse a generous quantity of leaves or flowers in water in a suitable spray bottle. Give the corners of rooms and other known spider haunts a regular spray to keep them away.
But if all else fails…
To really be on the safe side, I’ve another tip just in case some bold spider is undeterred by your horticultural efforts.
Do what I did, and instantly felt better about any spider run-ins I might have in future. Make doubly sure you never have to get up close and personal with our eight-legged friends, and get one of these.
Honestly, life will never be the same again!
As ever, I’d love to hear about any of your success stories (or otherwise) with using these. Leave a comment to let me know how they worked (or didn’t) for you.