Last Updated on October 1, 2021 by Kimberly Crawford
When you have a vigorous garden and a backyard that gives a steady food supply to snakes, it is only a matter of time before you find snake burrow holes in your landscape. The tricky part here is that snakes have the ability to camouflage in the greens and browns making it dangerous for you to scour them in the soil.
The best solution to repel snakes away from the home and garden is to have plants around that they naturally hate because of their strong smells. In this post, get to know some of the most effective plants to repel snakes.
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What attracts snakes to your house?
Of all the places snakes could thrive in, you might ask, why my garden? There are a lot of reasons as to why snakes are niching around your home but two of the primary reasons behind this would be, one, your garden is teeming with a steady supply of prey like rodents, small critters, snails, and slugs. Or perhaps, you have left pet food open, or they have found where the leftovers are.
Another reason is that your garden or your vicinity is super moist. The natural habitat of snakes are cool and damp areas. So, if your home offers them a moist and protected space, chances are, snakes would be drawn into your home. Hence, poor yard maintenance and the presence of holes and crevices are also the reasons why you have snakes around.
What smell do snakes hate the most?
Generally, snakes hate strong scents or those that really penetrate through the nostrils or scents that stay around the house for long. As such, some of the most hated scents for snakes would be the following:
- Onion and garlic
- Lime or citrus scents
- Clove oil
- Gourd vine
- Sisal rope
20 plants that repel snakes
Let us dive right into the core of this post. So, what plants should you plant to scare off pesky snakes from your garden? Here are 20 of the best snake repellent plants that you should incorporate as border or accent plants in your garden.
This is one of the top choices when it comes to repelling snakes in the garden. The main snake deterring component of this colorful accent plant is its aggressive roots that carry strong odors that snakes, pests, and other critters hate.
The only downside is that it could also be used by rodents as a niche. And although they are snake prey, marigolds deter them. But let us save that for another talk.
2. Snake plant
What repels snakes more in the garden than the plant that bears it name, right? Snake plants repel snakes because of their sharp leaves and their higher-than-normal oxygen production.
Most of all, snakes are frightened by the look of the snake plant. Have a lot of these as border plants if you suspect snake infestation. They are easy to grow and are very low maintenance plants.
3. West Indian lemongrass
Generally, all citrusy smells are natural snake repellants, but this specific species of lemongrass has a more potent odor that snakes fear. Aside from snakes, they also deter mosquitoes and ticks.
If you have an all-in-one repellant plant in the garden like this one, you will not fear these deadly insects and of course of having snakes lurking around.
Aside from being a beautiful landscape plant, this is another frightening plant for snakes because of their lancing, sharp leaves. Just the sight of the yucca is already enough to shoo snakes away. If you intend to plant yucca at home, give each plant enough space in between as possible.
Some consider mugwort as weed while others consider it as herb. But the pungent smell of this plant (which by the way resembles the smell of beer), repels snakes away. The only concern for this one is that they are fast growers, and they need weed control every now and then.
6. Onion and garlic
Both spices contain a chemical called sulfenic acid which makes them smell like prey. As snakes become drawn to them, the smell causes mess in their smell and vision. Planting them in containers or making a garden spray out of them could be a good intervention.
A more famous name for this herb would be serpentina or devil’s pepper. This one is an herbal remedy in controlling high sugar levels. But its very bitter leaves makes it a natural snake repellent.
Once ingested by snakes, it would slow down their heart rate due to a chemical called reserpine. And just a fun fact, snakeroot is also used in curing snake bites.
8. Pink agapanthus
This one has an interesting common name which is society garlic. They are low growing, with leaves like scallions and small, pink blooms. Its foliage is actually edible for humans and is used as a remedy in the field. It is also used in treating sinus diseases and headaches. With its garlicy, pungent smell, snakes naturally hate them.
9. Andrographis paniculata
Like the snakeroot, this one is hated by snakes because of their bitter leaves. It is also called the King of Bitters and is endemic in Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. On the upside, it is a popular medicinal herb for humans, used in treating sinus infections and common colds.
10. Clove basil
Either as a plant or processed as essential oil, clove basil repels snakes because of their strong scent which leaves them confused. It has the same effect on snakes as garlic and onions. You can make an essential oil out of it, mix it in water and use it as a garden spray.
11. Kaffir lime
It also goes by the name of makrut lime, and it is used mainly in Asian cuisines. It has a strong citrus smell which snakes hate. If you intend to plant them for your salad and cocktail drinks, place them where they get full sun and on well-draining soils. Also, it needs regular watering.
12. Jimson’s weed
It is also known as the devil’s snare or thorn apple. It is fatal to snakes because of the chemical tropane alkaloid. This substance has a hallucinogenic effect on snakes making them crawl around it once they ingest a leaf or smell its foul odor. It is, however, an invasive plant so it must be controlled when planted.
The strong, musky scent of this plant is primarily the reason why snakes hate it. To use it as a snake repellent, you can dry the leaves, boil it, add garlic, and salt to the wormwood water and just spray it around the garden. It is also a beautiful accent plant, and it prefers sunny locations and well-draining soils.
14. Yellow alder
This one is another scary plant for snakes because of its odd shape and sharp leaves. As a plant, it is an attractive border plant because of its bright yellow blooms. You just must strategically plant it around the garden to repel snakes.
Spikes and snakes are never a match. Therefore, cactus is one of the best plants to fill the landscape with if you are suspecting snake infestation in the garden. Also, these plants are easy to grow and are very low maintenance. You would really want cacti around the home for this reason.
16. Black turmeric
This perennial herb is one of the most underrated snake repellant plants out there. It is endemic in India and is a natural snake deterrent because of its strong, spicy scent. As a landscape plant, it has an outstanding look with its deep purple flower and glossy leaves.
Found mainly in the Balkan region, this plant is hated by snakes because of their bitter leaves. Other benefits of rue are that its fleshy branches are used as food ingredients in some traditional cuisines. It looks like a weed but if you need a useful groundcover, this should make it to your list.
18. Indian birthwort (aristolochia Indica)
This is perhaps one of the most instant snake repellant plants out there. The leaves of this plant look like snake scales. It is native to India and Sri Lanka. The leaves and fruits of this plant are tied around the waist of farmers every time they tend to their farms. Snakes hate it because of their bitter taste and pungent smell.
19. Wild guava
The good thing about this shrub is that you can train it to grow as a bonsai and keep around the landscape. The berry of the wild guava repels snakes because its smell is naturally repulsive to snakes. It is also called the Ceylon oak tree or the Slow Match tree.
20. Senna plant
This one is found in the tropics and as a landscape plant, you would love it for its fiery yellow flowers and lancing, glossy, dark green leaves. During the blooming season, the flowers produce a strong and pungent odor that snakes just hate. It is a mixture of citrus and musk, so it is good to have a sure snake repellant plant like this along the yard.
Aside from these plants here, you should also employ the following tips around the home to make sure that your vicinity becomes snake-proof:
- Control moisture in and out of the home.
- Control rodents, and other snake preys.
- Do regular yard maintenance (check holes, crevices, and possible entry points for snakes).
- Stay vigilant when visiting the garden.
There are a lot of reasons as to why snakes are drawn to your home. Chances are, you have given them a steady supply of food without you knowing it. It might also be due to the comfy area that you offer around. Fortunately, there are plants that you can grow to stop them from infesting your garden, posing a risk to you and your family, especially pets and small kids.
The plants that repel snakes are not limited to those listed here. But as far as easy growing and low maintenance natural snake repellent plants are concerned, these are by far, the best choices that you could consider for your garden.