Using garden plants to get rid of fleas the natural way takes some planning. Another flea season will soon be behind us, but that doesn’t mean fleas are gone from your home or pet. Next spring, pet owners will once again engage in a seasonal battle with fleas. Now is the time to plan your spring garden to include garden plants that can provide a safe way to get rid of fleas the natural way.
Mints– Peppermint, spearmint, orange, chocolate, banana or apple garden plants work well around foundations to help repel pests and fleas, keeping them out of the home. We have chocolate mint in front of the house and along sections of our dog pen. A minty aroma is released when the dogs walk through the patch. And yes, it does have a hint of chocolate and makes an excellent cup of tea. All varieties of mint can be used in baking, cooking, to make teas and as a natural flea control. If pets eat some of the plant, it won’t hurt them.
Mint is an invasive garden plant, so it’s best to put the plants in pots and plant pot and all to keep the mint contained where you want it to grow. Plant different varieties away from each other to prevent cross pollinating. Mints are inexpensive and easy perennial garden plants to grow and they are hardy enough to withstand harsh winters.
Sprinkle dried or fresh leaves in and around pet’s bedding. Place dried leaves in sachet packets and hang around the house or sprinkle in carpets to help get rid of fleas the natural way. Fleas hide in out of the way places under couches, chairs, along baseboards and beds. Mint doesn’t kill fleas, it repels them, but with dedicated use, you can drive fleas out of your home and off your pets.
Use peppermint oil to get rid of fleas. Peppermint oil is easy to come by because it’s used in candy making. Put 5-10 drops of peppermint oil into a cup of warm water or 10-20 drops for a stronger mix. Apply the mixture to your pet’s coat using a flea comb dipped in the water for each comb stroke you make. This gets the oil all the way down to the skin. It should repel fleas for about a week or a little more. Do this every week for at least a month. Fleas don’t like the smell of mint and it’s a natural way to control them that’s safe for pets. It can get rid of fleas as long as you’re consistent using this flea treatment along with treating the pet’s environment. Do not use peppermint extract because it has alcohol in it. Peppermint oil has the highest level of menthol of all the mints, but any mint will work for flea control.
How to make your own mint oil: Take 1 cup of fresh mint leaves, any variety will work. Rinse in cool water and pat dry on a paper towel to remove excess water. Pour 2 cups olive oil, canola oil or vegetable oil into a saucepan over medium heat. Add the mint leaves, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until you see the oil beginning to make small bubbles. This process only takes about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. When cooled, add another 2 cups of oil and stir. Pour oil (and leaves if you want) into a glass container and store in a cool, dark place away from sunlight. Warning: never put pure mint oil or any other pure oil on your pet. Always dilute first, regardless of which garden plant you used to make the oil from.
Other garden plants that get rid of fleas the natural way
Catnip is a member of the mint family and is a safe flea control on both cats and dogs. Besides being a natural way to repel fleas, most cats love rolling in it and some will even eat it.
Lavender is non toxic to pets and will repel fleas, moths and mosquitoes. Another member of the mint family.
Sage is the largest plant in the mint family. It grows to around 3 feet tall as a thick bush.
Lemon Grass smells like lemons and repels mosquitoes along with fleas.
Chamomile is a small daisy-like flowering plant that is said to help keep other garden plants healthy. Planting a Chamomile plant next to an unhealthy plant is suppose to help the other plant improve.
Rosemary (the herb) is a member of the mint family and is safe for cats and dogs. Warning: make sure to plant the Rosemary herb plant and not the Rosemary Pea or Rosemary Bog plant. These two plants are toxic to pets.
Wormwood, Pennyroyal (Fleabane), Fleawort, Tansy, Rue, Eucalyptus, Sweet Bay and Citronella are all listed as garden plants that can be used as a natural way to get rid of fleas, but all of them can be toxic to cats and some are toxic for dogs. I exclude these garden plants and stick with the ones I know are safe for pets. After all, that’s the whole idea to using natural flea control. A safe and effective way to get rid of fleas that won’t harm any pet, including ones that may wander into my garden.
Do not use essential oils on your pet. They are extremely potent and many, like lavender, eucalyptus, cedar, mint and tea tree, are toxic to pets even though they’re sold as a safe way to get rid of fleas. They are not safe for pets. Essential oils are different from the mint oil described above which is safe for use on pets.
Using garden plants for a natural way of flea control can work, but you have to be committed to winning the battle against fleas and treat pets and their environment, inside and outside the home, to get rid of them once and for all every spring and summer. As with anything you put on your pet, monitor them for signs of any adverse reactions even when using a natural flea control.
Mint, Sara’s Superb Herbs
Plants and Pets-Toxic Listing, Pawprints & Purrs, Inc.
Home Pest Control: Planting Mint Around Your Foundation, essortment.com