Why People Use Herbs & Flowers To Repel Ticks Along Pathways (& Does It Really Work?)

Ticks aren't just annoying — they can also be vectors for serious illnesses like Lyme disease and anaplasmosis. Considering the dangers of having a yard full of ticks in the summer, it's no wonder many people plant herbs and flowers with possible tick repelling properties along their pathways. While many herbs and flowers including geraniums, rosemary, and lavender contain essential oils and other compounds that, once refined, have been shown to repel ticks, there is little evidence that these plants themselves are able to repel ticks directly.

However, the lack of evidence behind the tick-repelling reputations of many flowers and herbs doesn't mean that you can't use plants to help make your yard less hospitable to ticks. Ticks like areas with high humidity and often end up in your yard after hitching a ride on deer. Using drought-tolerant plants that rarely need water and opting for plants that deer dislike can help to keep ticks far from your yard. 

Using flowers and herbs to limit ticks

Ticks love humid environments, so keeping the surface moisture in your yard low can go a long way towards keeping ticks out. In addition to keeping your grass short and allowing for extra space between plants, use mulch to help lock moisture in while keeping your yard relatively dry, and opt for plants that can handle drier conditions so you don't have to water as often. While it's unclear if lavender or rosemary plants directly repel ticks, these drought-tolerant herbs and flowers can be ideal for creating beautiful summer landscaping without making it a haven for ticks.

If you avoid attracting deer to your yard, you may also be able to avoid the ticks that deer tend to carry along with them. Lavender once again comes to the rescue as it is one of the best deer-resistant shrubs to include in your landscape. You don't have to give up on big blooms if you want to keep deer and ticks away either. Including deer-resistant flowering plants like strawflowers, ornamental alliums, and calendula alongside your pathways should limit the number of deer, and by extension ticks, that visit your garden.