There are many benefits to growing spearmint in your garden or in your kitchen. Spearmint is very commonly used in toothpaste and in gum because of its light, cool, refreshing taste. It’s also used in cooking for the same reason.
Most people love the taste and smell of spearmint, but did you know that bugs hate it? That’s right, spearmint keeps bugs away because they’re offended by the strong odor and taste emitted by the plant.
If you’ve ever had trouble with pests in your garden or in your home, consider growing some spearmint.
Below, I cover why you might want to grow spearmint, whether spearmint repels bugs better in an oil and whether spearmint repels mosquitoes, bugs, mice and everything else that it deters. I also discuss how to plant spearmint to best stop pests.
Can Plants Control Bugs And Pests?
People commonly use herbs and other plants to help keep bugs and other pests at bay. Not all plants can repel bugs, but there are some plants that bugs and other pests hate. Most of these plants are going to emit a strong odor and/or taste that is offensive to the pest.
Plants commonly do this because it helps in their survival. If a bug tries to eat a plant and it emits a strong, unpleasant odor, the bug will leave the plant alone. If the plant doesn’t have to worry about buggy predators, it will live a lot longer.
Not only that, but plants that repel bugs can help the surrounding plants, too. Many gardeners will plant bug-repelling plants as companion plants with their other crops. The “companion” plants will help protect the others. Their scent will deter or confuse bugs so that they won’t come near any of the plants in the garden.
Of course, you can use spearmint as a companion plant, but it’s a bit more difficult. Spearmint will spread like wildfire and has the potential to take over your garden. Many people choose not to plant it near their other crops in case the mint kills the other crops. However, if you set up boundaries to keep the mint from spreading, it can still make a fine companion plant.
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Why Grow Spearmint?
Spearmint has a lot of practical uses. Most people grow it so that they can use it in their cooking.
Spearmint is used in a lot of South Asian dishes because it incorporates a nice cool and sweet flavor to the food. Spearmint has a lighter and sweeter taste to it than a lot of the other mints. This is why it is often used in toothpaste, mint, and ice cream. For people looking for more of a kick, peppermint is the stronger option.
People also love to use the smell of spearmint in their homes. The cool, sweet scent of spearmint is enough to brighten and refresh any home. To utilize the mint’s scents, many people will dry their mint leaves and use them as potpourri. The dried leaves can be placed in a dish by themselves or with other potpourri. Some people will also put the dried leaves in a cloth satchel and place them around the house.
Not only is the scent beneficial for brightening the household, but it also helps deter pests. Of course, this is the main benefit that I’ll be discussing today because it’s a great one.
Most people love the smell of spearmint and that’s why we keep it in our homes. However, bugs and other pests hate the smell of spearmint and will actively run away from the scent.
Although spearmint isn’t going to kill any pests, it can be used to prevent them from biting you or entering your home. For best use, you’re going to want to keep the spearmint at easy access points to your home. There’s a few ways you can do this.
You can use the satchel method that we suggested above. Not only will it help your home smell nice, but it’s an easy way to deter pests. The satchel method is a good one because the little bag of dried leaves can be moved anywhere in the home that you need it.
You can also use essential oils. Essential oils are a very concentrated and potent form of the herb. The bottles of essential oil are small, but you don’t need to worry because the oil goes a long way. You generally only need a few drops of the oil to successfully keep out pests. Again, there are a few ways you can use essential oils.
If you’re having a really bad problem with pests, you can try using the oil undiluted. Place a few drops around the area where the pests are coming (e.g. a windowsill). Because the drops are undiluted, they’re very strong and are more likely to keep pests away.
Another way you can use the oil is to dilute it. This is usually the best way to go because the concoction is still strong, but it lasts a lot longer. A good way to go is to place 10 drops of spearmint oil into a spray bottle and fill the rest with either rubbing alcohol or witch hazel. You can then use your spray around your house wherever you need it. You can even use the spray on plants in your garden to protect them from pests.
Does Spearmint Repel Better In An Oil Or Concoction?
Spearmint does repel pests better when its used as an essential oil. Whether you use the essential oil in its true form or in a diluted form, it’s going to be better than fresh mint.
If you’re using fresh mint, you can place pots at access points around your house. You can also place fresh or dried leaves at the access points or rub the leaves on your body. However, these methods won’t be as successful as using a concentration of mint.
Because essential oils and essential oil mixes are more concentrated, they’re simply going to be stronger and will work better to repel pests.
Does Spearmint Repel Mosquitoes?
Yes — spearmint does work to repel mosquitoes. You can use spearmint as a type of bug spray on your skin.
Just make sure you dilute the spearmint essential oil with some witch hazel or white vinegar to dilute it. Undiluted oil can irritate the skin. I love finding ways I can use my own mint from the garden in natural skincare thanks to sites like this.
Does Spearmint Repel Bugs?
Yes — spearmint is one of the best mints to use to repel bugs. It works well to repel critters like flies and spiders.
Does Spearmint Repel Mice?
Yes — it’s reported that spearmint can keep mice away, although peppermint will work better.
What Does Spearmint Repel? Everything Else
Spearmint leaves — not spearmint essential oil — can be rubbed over your pets fur to deter fleas. It can also relieve itchiness from a current infestation. However, it’s thought that pennyroyal works better for this.
Spraying a spearmint concoction around your home can prevent moths from contaminating your food and destroying your clothes.
Cabbage Loopers & Squash Bugs
These are harmful pests that will eat crops from your garden like broccoli, melons, cabbages, squash, and cauliflower.
Aphids are extremely harmful to your garden. They’ll cause stunted growth, wilting, and potentially death.
How To Plant Spearmint To Stop Pests
If you’re keeping spearmint in your home, you should place the pots in areas where you commonly see bugs. The best place is usually a windowsill because it’ll provide your plant with lots of light while deterring potential pests.
If you’re planting out in the garden, it’s a good idea to plant it on the outskirts of your garden. For one, mint can spread very quickly. Keeping it away from your other plants is a good idea. Besides that though, if you plant mint on the outskirts of the garden, it will deter pests from every entering the garden to come after the other plants.
Of course, if you plant your mint in a pot outside, you can place the mint as close to any plant as you like.
Spearmint is a great plant for repelling pests, but it’s best used as an essential oil. You can use the essential oil undiluted or in a concoction.
Either way, it’ll be better than using a regular spearmint plant. Still, if your pest trouble is occurring in your garden, spearmint can be planted in your garden to protect your other plants.
Want to learn more? Click here to learn if mint also repels bugs and here to learn how to dry spearmint leaves. You can also find all my guides to growing mint here or learn how to grow spearmint from seed here.