9 Plants That Repel Mice Naturally (And Why They Work)
Since you’ve landed on this guide, I’d imagine you’re someone who prefers using natural methods to solve everyday problems – me too! Mice may be small, but they can be unwelcome guests in your home. Heck, I had a wonderful infestation in my basement not too long ago.
Like me, you’re probably wondering what you can do to send those pesky rodents packing in a (preferably) natural way. That’s where using plants that they find, well, repulsive, can be a helpful tool!
Have you ever thought about using plants like peppermint, lavender, or even garlic to keep mice away? These plants don’t just look and smell great for your eyes and nose; they serve some practicality too! Mice find certain plant scents unbearable, which means adding them to your home or yard can create a rodent-free sanctuary.
Lucky for you, there are a variety of plants that are both beautiful and effective in repelling mice. By strategically placing these plants in your home or garden, you’re showing mice the proverbial door – and adding a touch of beauty along the way!
- Using plants to repel mice is a natural, chemical-free method
- Many of these plants are attractive and a wonderful addition to your garden
- Can help to protect your garden, yard, and home from mouse damage as part of an overall pest control strategy
- Effectiveness may vary based on the specific plants and amount of mice present
- Some plants may require specific care or conditions to thrive
- Mice may still find their way into your home if other attractants are present (food, garbage, etc.)
- Many variables can affect success of using plants to keep mice away
Why Plants Repel Mice
What a mice day to learn about plants that repel rodents! Like that one? OK – I’m done now…
Below, we’ll explore why plants like peppermint, lavender, garlic, citrus, citronella, onions, eucalyptus, catnip, and daffodils can send mice scurrying away.
Plants have their ways of communicating, and some just happen to be scented signposts saying, “Stay away, mice!” When you plant these aromatic florae in your garden or near your home, you’re effectively creating an invisible fence that mice dislike crossing. Keep in mind, no plants can provide 100% mouse repellency, but they can add layers of deterrence. So how does that work?
Mice, as tiny as they are, possess an incredible sense of smell.
They can pick up on the scents that these plants emit, and oh boy, do they hate them! Your garden might smell like heaven to you, but these plants are downright offensive to the mice’s sensitive noses, which in turn helps prevent them from cozying up too close to your home.
Remember when you had a bit of a tear in your eye after smelling a powerfully scented eucalyptus (or any other powerful essential oil) candle for the first time? Well, the strong smells of these plants can make mice even more uncomfortable than that.
These are the all-natural, DIY force fields that keep rodents from exploring your garden and home.
But wait, there’s more! It’s not just the scent that repels mice. Some of these plants, like onion, are toxic to rodents when ingested, which is indeed an excellent motivator for them to stay away. So not only do the smells help protect your home, but they also ensure that if any mouse dares to take a tiny nibble, it won’t be a pleasant experience.
Through the use of these plants, you’re achieving two goals: beautifying your home and creating a rodent-resistant space. Imagine your garden filled with the vibrant colors of lavender, the refreshing scent of citronella, and maybe a few strategically placed daffodils – that adds quite a bit of charm to your property.
Here’s a quick table for you to reference, which we’ll go over in more detail shortly.
|Plant||Natural Compound||What It Smells Like||Repels Mice With Scent?|
|Peppermint||Menthol||Minty, cool, refreshing||Yes|
|Lavender||Linalool||Floral, sweet, herbaceous||Yes|
|Citrus||Limonene||Fresh, tangy, zesty||Yes|
|Citronella||Citronellal||Citrusy, lemony, slightly sweet||Yes|
|Onion||Allyl sulfide||Sharp, strong, sulfurous||Yes|
|Eucalyptus||Eucalyptol||Camphorous, fresh, minty||Yes|
|Catnip||Nepetalactone||Herbaceous, minty, slightly fruity||Attracts cats|
|Daffodils||Narcissus||Floral, sweet, slightly spicy, slightly musky||Yes|
The next time you visit your local nursery, keep this table in mind and remember –nature has your back!
Most Common Plants That Repel Mice
Next up, you might be interested to know about the most common plants that can help you in this regard. Below, we’ll provide an in-depth analysis of the plants you should consider growing. Get ready to make your garden both beautiful and mouse-free!
Lavender, with its lovely purple blooms, can be a great addition to your garden. Not only does it smell amazing, but it also helps repel mice!
The natural scent of lavender overwhelms the rodents’ sensitive sense of smell, making it an effective, natural way to keep them at bay. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that lavender is also calming for us humans.
To make it more effective, crush a bit of the lavender now and then to release some of the key mouse-repelling essential oils. You can also plant lavender in containers inside your home or around your garden to keep mice at bay and create a calming atmosphere.
If you’re growing lavender outside, keep in mind that it thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 5-9.
Peppermint is another plant known for its strong scent. Menthol is the main driver behind peppermints’ strong smell and minty taste.
And this scent, you guessed it, repels mice! Its fresh, clean aroma permeates the air, irritating those little rodents. Homeowners like you, who’d like to keep their space mouse-free, should definitely consider planting a few of these.
Bonus: it can also help keep other pests away.
For those of you planting peppermint outside in your yard or garden, you’ll find it grows best in USDA plant hardiness zones 3-11. It’s quite hardy!
Eucalyptus leaves have a potent, invigorating scent that mice find pretty unappealing due to the strong amount of eucalyptol and limonene, which are both compounds that help to repel mice away from your home.
For eucalyptus, you could plant it near your garden, or perhaps hang dried leaves near the entrances to your home to increase its strong aroma.
Not only will it help keep mice away, but it also adds a unique touch to your space. Can you smell the victory? Eucalyptus trees thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 8-11, so you’re a tad limited on where this one will grow.
Citronella: another plant that mice love to hate! The strong, lemon-like scent, a result of the compound citronellol, keeps rodents at bay. One study for instance found that when citronella oil was inhaled by rats, they saw a significant decrease in appetitite. Now of course this is the citronella plant and not the pure essential oil, so it will be less pungent.
Moreover, citronella has other practical uses, such as repelling mosquitoes. It grows best in USDA plant hardiness zones 9-11.
Add a few citronella plants to your outdoor area and see the results for yourself!
Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onions might not be plants you’d normally think of for repelling mice, but they’re quite effective.
The strong, pungent aroma of these plants can deter mice from entering your space. Simply incorporate them into your garden, and enjoy the dual benefits of a mouse-free space and ingredients for your favorite recipes!
Your best bet like the other plants on this list will be to cut the vegetebles up every now and then to really release their scent. These are pretty hardy veggies, luckily – garlic for instance grows well in USDA plant hardiness zones 3-8. Onions on the other hand grow best in USDA plant hardiness zones 3-9.
It’s well-known that catnip attracts cats, but did you ever consider how it affects mice? Interestingly, this plant can help repel those unwelcome rodents.
By planting a bit of catnip, you’re bound to have cats frequent your garden, which also means that mice will be naturally discouraged from hanging around.
This is my favorite option and can be the most effective on the list as it can naturally keep your cat near the edges of your home outside, stopping any mice before they even think twice about getting close.
Catnip grows best in USDA plant hardiness zones 3-9.
Ah, daffodils! These cheerful yellow flowers are another awesome mouse-repelling plant. They contain a compound known as lycorine which mice find repulsive.
Plant some daffodils, brighten up your garden, and discourage mice – all at the same time! Heck, you probably already have some of these started in your garden or near your entryway. Daffodils grow best in USDA hardiness zones 3-8.
Citrus fruits – like oranges or lemons – can also be used as a natural mouse-repellent. Though not technically plants that repel mice, the peels have a scent that these creatures dislike.
Simply scatter some peels around your garden or near potential entry points to your home, and watch those mice scurry off! You technically don’t need to plant these ones, you can just scatter your rinds in the garden and it’ll help with fertilization as a boost.
Plant Placement Strategies
Strategically planting your mice-repellent plants outdoors is key. Your garden becomes a fortress against those pesky mice with this simple trick: create a perimeter using your preferred plants.
Not only will your garden look lovely, but mice will be less likely to venture in for a nibble.
Make sure to plant these aromatic plants throughout your garden, providing a second line of defense against mice after initially planting some near the perimeter of your garden. Mixing these plants among your produce and flowers can deter mice and make your garden smell amazing.
Plus, add in a little cedar mulch to boot!
Indoor Plant Arrangement
Now, let’s focus on your home’s interior – the last place you want to find a mouse scurrying about. First things first, you’ll want to become best friends with eucalyptus. Place a couple of eucalyptus or citrus rinds near entry points, like doors and windows, to keep mice at bay.
To make your home even less mouse-friendly, consider keeping some catnip (bonus: your feline friend will love you even more) and daffodils in various rooms. Not only will these plants add a touch of beauty and fragrance to your space, but they’ll also make mice think twice before moving in. The catnip will help keep your feline friend in that specific area for longer, thus helping to keep mice away.
In general, you can really utilize peppermint, lavender, garlic, citrus, citronella, onions, eucalyptus, catnip, daffodils, and lavender (yes, we mentioned it twice because it’s just that great) to create a mouse-repellent haven anywhere you choose!
If you’d like a more powerful indoor option, take a look at Grandpa Gus’s Extra-Strength Mouse Repellent, which contains a base of cinnamon and peppermint oil. Mice steer clear of both peppermint and cinnamon, so this can help quite a bit.
You can also get your own sachets and fill them with any dried plant on this list to help keep mice (and really other insects) away using scents.
Maintaining Your Mice-Repelling Plants
Pruning your mice-repelling plants helps keep them healthy and ensures their effectiveness in warding off those pesky rodents. Here are some general guidelines for pruning specific plants:
- Peppermint & Lavender: Snip off the flower heads once they start to wither. This encourages more growth and enhances the plant’s scent, which keeps mice at bay.
- Garlic & Onions: Remove any yellow or dried leaves to ensure proper growth and increase their pungent aroma.
- Citrus & Eucalyptus: Trim dead branches and leaves to allow for better air circulation, making the tree more resistant to pests.
Maintaining the health of these plants takes just a little “scent-sibility” on your part!
Ensuring Proper Growth
To keep your mice-repelling plants working their best, it’s critical to make sure they’re growing properly. Here are some tips to ensure their success:
- Soil quality: Mice don’t stand a chance when your plants are thriving, so make sure they’re growing in well-draining soil. Most of these plants, like catnip and citronella, require this type of soil for optimal growth.
- Sunlight requirements: Almost all of these plants prefer full sunlight, so don’t be too shady when choosing their spot – you’ll be hiding their power!
Here are the optimal growing conditions for each plant:
Can you see a pattern?
Remember, meeting these requirements ensures effectiveness in repelling mice while keeping your garden attractive and fresh! Plant them in a sunny area and you’ll be golden.
By maintaining the mice-repelling plants, your domain will remain rodent-free, and you can take pride in taming the powers of nature to defend your home. So go ahead, enjoy the sights and scents of your fortified garden, and say so long to unwanted critters!
Limitations and Considerations
Efficiency of Plants
It’s important to consider the efficiency of using plants. While peppermint, lavender, garlic, citrus, citronella, onions, eucalyptus, catnip, daffodils, and lavender are known for their repelling properties, their effectiveness may vary.
Peppermint and lavender are famous for their lovely scents that we find pleasing, but don’t expect mice to agree! However, keep in mind that different rodents may have varying tolerance levels, so results may not be 100% reliable.
If you’re thinking of planting an army of garlic and onions, remember that not all mice will turn away in disgust. Just be cautious not to overestimate the power of the stinky duo. Similarly, eucalyptus should be seen as supplementary repellents rather than foolproof solutions.
Instead, think of using these plants as part of an integrated pest control strategy like:
- Properly storing food
- Sealing any gaps or cracks in walls
- Limitng brush piles and shelter spots near your home
Alternative Natural Mouse Control Methods
If you’re living in a house or apartment, you probably already have several items in your pantry that can deter mice from your home.
Things like steel and copper wool can be used to fill gaps in your home to keep mice away, or perhaps you have some caulk or spray foam from a previous job that could be an even better solution?
Mice can easily fit inside 1/4th in gaps with their small, agile frames. It’s important to seal any holes that small. You can also try using bring lights outside that will shine when mice cross their path, making it easier for YOU to spot them and possibly startle them once they run across.
Natural oils, such as peppermint and citronella essential oils, are particularly effective in keeping unwanted mice away:
- Peppermint oil: Dilute 30 drops in 10 ounces of water, and spray the solution in the areas where you suspect mice activity. Make sure to refresh the solution every couple of weeks.
- Citronella oil: This oil extracted from lemongrass plants not only deters mosquitoes but also repels mice with its strong odor. Simply dab cotton balls with the oil and place them near entry points and corners frequented by mice.
These natural essential oils deliver aromatic fragrances that you might find pleasant, but mice simply cannot tolerate them.
Using Scents That Mice Hate
Besides using household items and essential oils, be aware that there are a few specific plants you can add to your yard or indoor areas that mice find repulsive.
Peppermint is one of our favorite natural remedies for keeping mice away. We’ve noticed that mice can’t stand the minty aroma of this essential oil, which makes it a perfect choice for homeowners looking to deter these unwanted guests. You can place a few cotton balls soaked in the oil around your home in areas you’ve seen mice frequent
When it comes to spices, both cayenne pepper and black pepper are scents that we found to be quite unnerving for mice.
These tiny creatures are not fans of spicy things – quite the opposite of some of us who love to indulge in hot dishes! If you want to add some zest to your home while keeping mice at bay, simply sprinkle some cayenne or black pepper in areas where they might enter or hide out.
Vinegar is another smell that mice dislike, and we’ve noticed how potent it can be against these little intruders. Simply mix some white vinegar with water and spray it where mice might roam. Caution: avoid spraying it on hardwood floors or fabrics, as they might get discolored.
Some other scents that mice hate include:
- Cinnamon: It’s not just for baking anymore! Mice genuinely dislike the warm, inviting scent that most of us love.
- Dryer sheets: Besides keeping our clothes static-free, their aroma discourages mice from paying a visit.
- Clove oil: A fantastic choice if you enjoy the rich scent of cloves while keeping the critters away.
Here’s a quality peppermint oil on Amazon that could help you in your mission to keep mice away from your home. Remember, it’s essential to reapply these scents periodically, as they tend to fade away over time.
If you’d like to learn more, I highly encourage you to take a look at our popular guide on repelling mice using scents! It details the above scents (and more) in-depth.
Wrapping that up, there are several scents that mice abhor, and by using these natural remedies, we can keep our homes rodent-free in a safe and pleasant-smelling manner. So spice up your life and keep those pesky rodents at bay with a little help from some of our favorite scents!
When to Call a Pest Control Professional
We all understand the struggle of living with mice – whether it’s just one or a full infestation. Sometimes the battle against these furry invaders seems never-ending. We’ve compiled a list of instances where calling a pest control professional is your best bet:
- When DIY solutions fail
- When plants, household barriers and scents don’t work
- When your hilarious, yet disastrous, attempt at making a homemade mouse trap involving a bucket and some peanut butter doesn’t get any visitors
- Signs of extensive damage
- Mice can chew through your precious home environment, leaving shredded couches, gnawed wires, and nibbled-on food.
- When mouse populations multiply quickly
- One mouse can turn into five, and before you know it, there can be an entire colony taking over your home. At this point, contacting a professional became a necessity.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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