5 Indiana Plants That Attract Wildlife & 5 That Repel Pests

Landscaping isn’t only about making your property attractive. It can also be useful science, too. You can actually use nature to attract the animals you want and repel the ones you don’t.

We know. It sounds like magic.

There are a host of trees and plants you can grow right here in Indiana that, when placed strategically, act as a natural, permeable barrier letting in only the most desirable members of the animal kingdom while keeping out the riffraff.

Below are just five of many examples of plants and trees that attract beautiful wildlife, and five that deter garden-destroying and disease-carrying pests.


1. Attract butterflies with the butterfly milkweed.

As its name suggests, butterflies love these red-flowered plants. The foliage is the food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars. The Perennial Plant Association made this its plant of the year in 2017.

2. Attract hummingbirds with trumpet vines.

The nectar at the bottom of the long, conical flowers is what attracts hummingbirds. The beauty of those flowers that bloom yellow, orange or red is what attracts humans.

3. Attract deer with black walnut trees.

You can create awesome photo ops with a few black walnuts on the ground. Just be sure to plant these trees far away from your vegetable garden.

4. Attract cardinals with dogwood trees.

It’s not just food that attracts birds. Dogwoods are a favorite nesting tree of Indiana’s state bird. Plant it near some berries and you’ll make cardinal friends in a hurry. Speaking of berries …

5. Attract lots of birds with elderberry bushes.

Their dark blue fruit not only makes great jam, it attracts all kinds of beautiful Indiana fowl from the northern mockingbird to blue jays to the red-winged blackbird.



The pests in the neighborhood are the ones that sneak into your vegetable garden, leave droppings in your home and can even be blood-sucking virus carriers.

1. Repel gophers with alliums.

Representing the onion family, alliums are visually attractive plants from bulbs that are smelly and unappealing to gophers. The flowers come in a variety of colors such as purple, white or yellow.

2. Repel rodents with lavender.

Lavender makes an attractive sidekick to other plants around the perimeter of your home and produces a pleasant aroma. To humans, that is. Mice aren’t fans. Neither are flies, fleas, and some other pests.

3. Repel roaches and ants with chrysanthemums.


These come in a variety of colors, and they are great both inside and outside the home for keeping some of the ickiest bugs at bay. Other bugs that don’t like them: ticks, silverfish, and lice, to name a few.


4. Repel skunks with crown imperials.

Plant these this fall at the perimeter of your property where wildlife is likely to enter. These 3-foot stalks, with bowing flowers in warm colors at the top, are lovely, but too stinky even for skunks.

5. Repel mosquitoes with citronella.

You’ve probably heard of citronella candles? The main ingredient is a perennial grass that grows five feet high or more. These make wonderful potted outdoor décor in the summer, indoors for winter.


Knowing what to plant is just a start. Before you put anything in the ground, research these plants to learn as much as you can about them. Find out how tall they get, how fast they grow and when they bloom. Think about placement, what creatures you’ll attract and what you’ll repel.

Spring is almost here. Make your plan now. Of course, if you’d like help from a professional landscape architect, Clean Cut Lawn & Landscape is always here for you.

Happy planting!

Clean Cut Lawn & Landscape
7415 W Jackson St
Muncie, IN 47304-9759
(765) 759-8575

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