Rattlesnakes that live nearby your garden or yard are likely to venture into your property searching for food and hiding spaces. So, how do you keep them away? Fortunately, there are some attractive plants that will help repel rattlesnakes.
Botanical Name: Tagetes erecta, Tagetes patula, Tagetes tenuifolia, Calendula officinalis
The marigold is one of the most potent snake repellants due to its emitting odors that extend all the way along its deep roots. These can reach all the way down to the burrow holes that rattlesnakes live in. Along with having bright and beautiful flowers, they are also easy to find locally. The only downside is that they may allow rodents to live underneath their cover, which may actually attract rattlesnakes looking for food.
Botanical Name: Dracaena trifasciata
Mother-in-law’s Tongue, also called Snake Plant and has sharp leaves that can harm a snake that brushes up against them. These plants require low maintenence, and do well when grown outdoors in warm climates. While they do no have large flowers, they can serve as good filler plants that line the edges of your property.
Botanical Name: Cymbopogon citratus
Lemongrass is a citrus-type plant that emits a strong fragrance that repels rattlesnakes. They do not have thorns or sharp leaves, nor flowers, but the odor is enough to keep snakes away. This is a low-maintenance plant that requires a bit of watering when the weather gets hot in the summer.
Botanical Name: Allium sativum
Garlic is a great plant to repel rattlesnakes because of its strong odor. It also emits an oil that will stick to a rattlesnake’s body if it brushes up against it. The smell of these plants is so strong to a snake, that it is comparable to the effects of pepper spray on a person. Garlic requires direct sunlight and moist soil to remain healthy.
Botanical Name: Andrographis paniculata
The Green Chireta is a south Asian plant that can cause an allergic reaction to rattlesnakes if they eat their leaves or roots. The scales of the snake may also become inflamed if they rub up against it.
Botanical Name: Rauvolfia serpentina
Another south Asian plant species, snakeroot emits a strong smell that repels rattlesnakes. There are also medicinal benefits of this plant, including the treatment of hypertension and non-venomous snake bites.
Botanical Name: Tulbaghia Violacea
This plants only needs a small ammount of water to grow and survive. They are pink in color, so can enhance the look of your yard or garden. Rattlesnakes react to the odor from these plants by getting a headache, just like humans do. In fact, insects are also repulsed by this plant.
Botanical Name: Artemisia vulgaris
This plant also goes by the name Wormwood and has oils that repel snakes and insects. Mugwort is a tall plant that grows fast but requires a good amount of maintenance.
Botanical Name: Datura stramonium
Jimsonweed has sharp leaves that can hurt a rattlesnake that slithers along underneath it. It also emits a foul odor that repels snakes in the area.
Botanical Name: Allium cepa
Onion is a great plant for repelling rattlesnakes because of its strong smell which causes a disorienting effect. It also produces an oil that sticks to rattlesnake’s bodies which can cause irritation.
Botanical Name: Cactaceae
Cactus is a thorny plant that can cause painful stabs to any animal or reptile. Rattlesnakes are no exception and will avoid cactus plants whenever possible. These are great for planting around your home or property to keep animals (and humans!) away. Cactus plants require direct sunlight and only a small amount of watering.
Botanical Name: Symplocarpus foetidus
The name of this plant says it all as to why rattlesnakes avoid it: its smell. This plant looks like normal cabbage plants but with large yellow flowers that look quite interesting. However, if the smell is too much for you to handle, consider an alternative.
Rattlesnakes are dangerous and can easily make a home or simply pass through your yard when you are not looking. Fortunately, you can install one or more of these plants to help repel them from your property, keeping you, your family, and your pets safer.
Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree in Economics from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use.