Which Cat Repellent Plants Work?

Have you been battling cats or other animals in your garden? Well, you are not alone. In fact, this is probably more of a common problem that you would even imagine. Of course, just because others are having problems it doesn’t make the situation any less troubling. Heck, if you go online and look at the number of people that are having problems and the solutions that they have tried with little to no success, you will probably want to rip out your hair. That’s why we’ve taken a close look at which cat repellent plants work.

There are a number of cat repellent plants that do actually work. Some of these plants will not only deter cats and other animals from entering your garden, but they will enhance the efficiency of your garden while adding to the overall appearance. Of course, this all really depends on choosing the right plants. Not every cat repellent plant actually works and it pays to know which do and which don’t before you litter your garden with them. Below, you will learn about the different types of cat repellent plants that actually work and how you and your garden can benefit from them.

Understanding Why Cats Like Your Garden

If you truly want to learn to repel cats from your garden, you must first truly understand why they are there in the first place. This probably seems a little self-explanatory, but the truth of the matter is that there are three main reasons that cats will come into your garden. First, it might be because they are looking for food. If you re growing some delicious tomatoes or corn then it will be vulnerable to a hungry predator like a cat or deer.

Cats also like to come into the garden to play and poop. Gardens give off a sandbox feel and this is just one of the natural pooping ground for cats. If your garden has sand or sandboxes then you are going to be in even more trouble because cats are overly attracted to these items. All that being said, your garden doesn’t have to the object of your neighbourhood cat’s desire. If you know exactly which plants to plant, where to plant them, and how to care for them, you won’t have a problem keeping your garden cat-free.

Plants Take Time To Grow

If you have made your way to this site then there is a good chance that you are currently battling cats or other unwanted animals in your garden. There is no denying that any plant or flower on this list has the potential power to deter cats as well as other animals. However, you do have to keep in mind that plants and flowers take time to grow. Yes, some grow fairly fast and some grow at immense rates, but this doesn’t mean that they will spring up overnight. In fact, most of the plants on this list will take weeks to months to fully grow. This is if you are growing from seed. You might have to look for alternative solutions in the meantime to keep cats away. Luckily, there are several commercial and home remedies available to you.

Coleus Canina

You can look up anything about cat repellent plants and you are always going to find some mention of the Coleus Canina. This is because this is not only an extremely popular plant that looks beautiful, but it actually contains the properties that can help deter cats. The first thing that you need to know about the plant is that there are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding the plant. The first and foremost being the name. The plant neither comes from the Coleus family or has nothing at all to do with canines or dogs. The plant, in fact, comes from the mint family. This is just one of the things that give the plant its powerful aromatic properties.

These plants are extremely easy to grow as they pretty much start growing as soon as their roots hit the soil. In addition to this, they prefer the shade, not the direct sunlight, so excessive sun exposure really isn’t much of a concern. However, they will need protection from frost if you are going to grow them year-round. Another thing to consider is that these plants smell pretty bad, which is why they deter cats in the first place. It might not be such a good idea to install these plants directly outside your front or back door or under a window. Some individual will even grow these plants in 5-gallon buckets to make them portable.

Ruta Graveolens

Another plant that does an exceptional job at repelling cats is the Ruta Graveolens or the Rue. This plant can grow to be anywhere from 2 to 3 feet tall with about the same width. It is also an extremely powerful plant that produces an odour, unlike anything you have ever smelled before. In addition to this, the plant is a semi-woody perennial plant that produces greyish-green colours with yellow flowers. There are also other species of the plant that will produce different colours, but there is no denying that whatever combination you choose, you will be adding beauty and elegance to your garden. That is if you can get passed the smell.

This plant is different from the Coleus Canina, as it is extremely hardy and likes full sun. This plant is usually found growing in areas with hot, dry climates. The plant will live and survive in part sun, but don’t be surprised if the foliage comes out different colours when exposed to less than direct sunlight. The plant alone will repel cats, but some individuals will spread the dried leaves on their flower beds or in their pots to deter cats. This is one thing that you can do if you do not want to go to the full lengths of planting and growing an entire crop of these plants.

Curry Herb And Lemon Balm

The Curry Herb and Lemon Balm Plants are two other plants that cats don’t like. They are also usually purchased in combination by most gardeners. This is because they not only go well together, but they can take you average garden and make it look like a professional one when paired together in such arrangements. The unique thing about these plants is that it is not just their odour alone that deters the cats. It is also their coarse texture that cats don’t like. In fact, if you grow the plants in tight bushes and place them around the perimeter of your garden it is likely that they won’t even enter the garden in the first place. This is because the coarse texture is so irritating on their skin that they just don’t like it.

Another great tactic is to grow both of these plants in movable containers. This will give you the ability to move the plants around to trouble spots. For instance, if cats there were popping in the garden start pooping on the pathway, you can simply move some of the plants to the pathway to deter cats from that area as well. This is a common tactic that many seasoned gardeners will apply and it has proven effective time and time again.

Both of these plants are probably preferable to the two mentioned about because they are also not only easy to grow, but the smell isn’t as repugnant. However, do not let this fool you because these plants are just as effective. You have to remember that cat’s senses are hundreds to thousands of times more powerful than that of the humans, so what you barely smell, a cat will smell tenfold. Another added bonus of the Lemon Balm plant is that you can use the leaves to make a tea or tonic to help battle common cold, stomach cramps, and the occasional headache. One thing to keep in mind is that bees and butterflies are greatly attracted to both of these plants, so you might just be replacing one problem for another when you opt for either of these beauties.

Use Rosemary to Deter Cats


Another perennial that can do wonders when it comes to repelling cats is the Rosemary plant. This plant is also great for seasoning foods and other dishes, so you will have an added little extra bonus just from taking the time to grow this plant. The only downside to this perennial is that it requires a warm and dry climate. This means that, unfortunately, in some climates, you aren’t going to get the best possible results. It is also recommended to grow these plants in containers.


You don’t have to be a gardener to have heard of Lavender. At the very least, you probably know what the plant smells like. After all, there are a number of aromatic products that utilize lavender like smelling oils and car fresheners. And, this is not to even mention the fact that these plants look amazing and smell even better. At least they smell better to humans. Cats will not like the smell of these plants at all. The tall varieties seem to work best because cats can’t jump over them and see where they are going to land. You have to remember that cats can jump pretty high. All that being said, another thing to keep in mind is that there are some species of cats out there that will actually like the smell of Lavender, so don’t be surprised if you find a cat snuggled right in your new crop of Lavender plants.

Hawthorn And Prickly Bushes

How many times have you bumped into a prickly bush and felt the consequences? Probably more times than you would like to mention. And, this is probably something that you don’t want to happen in your garden, but if you want to keep out cats and other unwanted animals, you might not have another option. Hawthorns and other prickly bushes are excellent deterrents for the same reasons that most humans don’t like them. They hurt when you rub up against them. Not only this, but their prickly nature makes them hard to tend for.

If you are going to go down this road your best option amongst the prickly family might be Hawthorns, Holly, Berberis, Blackthorn, and Blackberry. Blackberry plants are a great option because they are not only extra prickly, but they produce some of the sweetest edible berries that you will ever taste in your life. Make aw pie out of them and you will see that your extra added efforts were worth it.


If you have ever had a yapping dog that just won’t shut up or a dog that barks at everything he or she sees then there is a good chance that you have heard of Citronella. This plant basically produces that same scent they put in those bark resistant collars and it tends to grow in USDA zones five through eight. The flowers and leaves are the parts of the plant that actually produce the Citronella smell. It is this smell that will drive off those unwanted cats. This plant is actually a member of the mint family as well and it can grow to be as tall as six feet, which might be a problem for some individuals with restricted room.

However, if you do have the room then you cannot go wrong with this plant. In the early summer to late fall it will produce yellow flowers that grow on spikes located right above the leaves. The leaves can also be sued to make tea if you want to take this extra step.

Attract Cats To Other Places

There is simply no denying that cats can be nurturing and caring creatures. This is just one of the reasons that they make such good house pets. Of course, they probably don’t seem too friendly and nurturing when they are tearing up your garden. Well, just because cats are ruining your garden it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to start installing plants that will deter them. No, these plants are not harmful to cats and won’t give them any unwanted side effects, but why run off a neighbourhood car for just practising nature?

Sure, they can be pests and you probably don’t want to end up feeding them, but sometimes cats can be used as deterrents to drive off other creatures. One great way to keep cats out of your garden without running them off completely is to plant flowers and plants that they actually like. Of course, you will not want to plant these plants or flowers in your garden, but in a separate bed. Heck, even adding a small sandbox to the backyard might do the trick. Whatever the situation is, you have a variety of options available to you like Cat Grass, Lemongrass, Catnip, Cat Mint, or even Valerian.


Ultimately, we hope that you’ve discovered which cat repellent plants work well and which to avoid. However, it all really comes down to the types of cats that you are dealing with and the methods in which you are growing and caring for the plants. Plants that aren’t thriving might not produce the smell and properties that you need to drive away these animals. Make sure you are providing each plant with its required environmental properties to get the most out of them.

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