Snakes in the Garden: Using Nature’s Repellents to Keep Snakes Away

Introduction to Snake Repelling Plants

Snakes are a common presence in many gardens around the world. While they play an essential role in the ecosystem by controlling rodent populations, not all gardeners welcome these slithering creatures. Utilizing plants that snakes dislike can be a natural way to deter them from your garden. This strategy aligns with an eco-friendly approach, allowing for the coexistence of humans and snakes without causing harm.

Understanding Snakes’ Preferences

Before discussing the plants that repel snakes, it’s essential to recognize why certain plants might be unappealing to them. Snakes are cold-blooded and rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature. They also have acute senses that enable them to detect vibrations, odors, and other sensory cues that might influence their behavior.

Temperature Regulation

Snakes seek out areas where they can easily regulate their temperature. Plants that offer too much shade or too little shelter may be unattractive to them.

Sensory Dislikes

Certain scents or textures might be unpleasant to snakes. Plants that emit strong odors or have sharp, rough textures could deter them.

Food Source Availability

The presence or absence of food sources like rodents and insects can also influence where snakes choose to reside. Plants that do not attract these prey might be less appealing to snakes.

Plants That Snakes Dislike

There are several plants that have been reported to deter snakes. However, it’s essential to note that scientific research on this topic is limited, and anecdotal evidence varies widely. Some of the commonly cited plants include:


Marigolds emit a strong odor that some believe may repel snakes. Planting marigolds around the perimeter of a garden or interspersed with other plants might deter snakes from entering the area.

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Also known as snake plant ironically, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue has sharp edges that might be unappealing to snakes. Its growth pattern may also make it less conducive to providing shelter for snakes.


Lemongrass contains citronella, a natural oil often used in mosquito repellents. This strong citrus scent is believed to be unpleasant to snakes, making lemongrass a potential snake deterrent.


Garlic plants emit a pungent odor that might be distasteful to snakes. Planting garlic near areas where snakes are a concern may help keep them at bay.

Incorporating Snake Repelling Plants in Garden Design

Strategically placing these plants within a garden design can be a practical way to deter snakes. Here’s how you might incorporate them:

Perimeter Planting

Planting snake-repelling plants around the edges of a garden can create a natural barrier. This border might deter snakes from entering the garden in the first place.

Interspersing with Other Plants

Mixing snake-repelling plants among other plants in flower beds or vegetable gardens can make the entire area less appealing to snakes.

Creating Unfavorable Microclimates

By selecting plants that create too much shade or do not provide adequate shelter, you can make certain areas of the garden less attractive to snakes, directing them elsewhere.

Considerations and Limitations

While using plants to deter snakes is an attractive idea, especially for those seeking natural methods, it is essential to recognize that results may vary.

Lack of Scientific Evidence

Though some gardeners swear by these plants’ effectiveness, scientific studies supporting these claims are scarce. Individual results might vary based on species of snakes, local ecology, and other factors.

Geographic Considerations

The effectiveness of these plants might also depend on local snake species and their specific behaviors and preferences. What works in one region might not be effective in another.

Balancing Ecosystem Needs

Snakes are an essential part of the ecosystem. While it is understandable that some people want to keep them out of specific areas, considering broader ecological implications is vital. It’s often better to deter rather than eliminate these creatures entirely.

A Holistic Approach to Managing Snakes

Utilizing snake-repelling plants is just one strategy in a comprehensive approach to managing snakes in the garden. Other methods, such as managing debris, controlling rodent populations, and creating physical barriers, can be used in conjunction with these plants to create an environment where both humans and snakes can coexist peacefully. The key is to adopt a thoughtful, informed approach that recognizes the complexity of the issue and seeks solutions that align with both personal comfort and ecological responsibility.