Plants That Keep Snakes Away

Snake in backyard

If you live in an area with snakes, eventually you might start wondering if there are any plants that keep snakes away. While snakes can be helpful to the gardener by ridding the area of rats, mice, and other pests, venomous snakes can be harmful, and even deadly to both people and pets. A great natural solution is to grow a variety of plants that keep snakes away from your garden.

What Types of Plants Repel Snakes?

Generally, snakes seem to dislike plants that give off strong odors and plants that have sharp leaves. The plants below can be easily found and have one or two of those attributes. They are all known to deter snakes from gardens.

Four Plants That Keep Snakes Away

Marigold blooms - planted to keep snakes away
Marigold blooms.

Marigolds are often used to deter pests. The roots give off a strong odor and grow deep and aggressively. This not only deters snakes, but also gophers, moles, and other digging pests. Common colors include white, yellow, and a variety of oranges. Marigolds are no fuss annuals that thrive in full sun in poor to average soil. They also are great at attracting butterflies, bees, and other pollinators to your flower garden. Marigolds are wonderful flowers for children to plant because they grow easily from seed.

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

Mother-in-law's tongue-plant
Mother-in-law’s tongue plant.

This low maintenance plant is particularly good at repelling snakes due to its sharp leaves. Oddly enough, it is also known as a snake plant in some areas. Some claim that just the sight of these plants is enough to deter a slithering visitor. It is best suited for warmer climates. The stiff and pointed leaves are usually green with darker bands running through them. The border of the leaves is typically yellow. They grow well in a variety of light conditions and prefer fast-draining sandy soil. Depending on the variety, they can grow from six inches to twelve feet tall. In zones 9 through 11 they can be grown outside as a perennial, and in colder zones are often used as a houseplant. According to the plant was even used by NASA in a study on how plants can be used for air purification.

Garlic as a Snake Repellent

Garlic plant as a snake repellant
Garlic plant with blooms.

Garlic is a plant that not only is great for cooking, but it is also one of the plants that keeps snakes away. According to the website, garlic was actually used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans to deter snakes. Apparently, snakes not only dislike the intense aroma of garlic, but it also disorients them. The plant also gives off an unpleasant residue when the snake slithers over it, increasing the negative experience. As a bonus, it tastes great on pizza!

Does Lemongrass Repel Snakes?

Lemongrass used in backyard landscaping
Lemongrass’ citrus smell is unpleasant to snakes.

Does Lemongrass repel snakes? As its name would imply, lemongrass has a strong citrus aroma that deters snakes. While the scent is pleasant to most humans, snakes detest it and will avoid it if at all possible. Citronella, a natural mosquito repellent, is made from lemongrass so you may also get the possible benefit of also repelling mosquitoes. Lemongrass is also used as an herb in Asian cuisine and is commonly used to make teas. It requires a warmer climate to grow as a perennial so it does best in zone 9 and above. It thrives in humid climates and full sun. The plant is drought resistant and easy to maintain. The West Indian variety works particularly well to keep snakes away.

Snakes in the Garden

Most snakes are beneficial to gardeners. They eat most of the pests that eat our flowers and plants. For that reason, it is actually advantageous to have snakes in your garden. Unfortunately, there are also dangerous venomous snakes that all of us need to avoid. Such snakes can injure not only gardeners, pets and children, but also be lethal. Luckily, we can choose plants wisely and create gardens that reduce that risk.

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