Herbs or Flowers That Repel Dogs

By Betty Lewis

You worked tirelessly to landscape your yard and make your outdoor space a beautiful sanctuary, however you may want to keep your special place a dog-free zone. Planting flowers and herbs that will dissuade canine visitors is a good start to keeping your garden in one piece. Whatever you choose, take care to make sure you don't landscape with plants that may be toxic to pets.

Coleus Canina

It may be called "scaredy cat," but Coleus canina discourages more than cats from its realm. This annual, reaching between 1 and 2 feet tall, is fairly easy to grow, though it does require well-drained soil. It shows pretty purple flowers to make an attractive addition to your garden.

Ruta Graveolens, or Rue

Ruta graveolens, more simply known as "rue," makes a nice little evergreen shrub, standing between 2 and 3 feet tall, spreading about as wide. During bloom time this plant will show little yellow flowers. If your dog or cat comes up against rue, it won't hurt him but it will emit a smell your pet likely will find repellent.

Other Flowers and Herbs

Dabbling your garden with marigolds also may help deter your dog from digging -- dogs tend to steer clear of them, finding their odor offensive. Other potential aromatics that dogs and cats usually avoid include the mustard plant, citronella, rosemary, lavender and lemon grass. Consider mixing some chives and chili pepper plants among your other plants to warn away your dog.

Thorny Plants

Thorny plants can discourage a dog from going where he's not wanted -- he won't be interested in contending with the pointy edges of a holly bush or a rose bush's thorns. Pyracantha and barberry provide beautiful color but are less than welcoming for intrusive pets.

Other Protection

Dogs tend to shy away from the smell of citrus, so sprinkling citrus peels in your garden beds may provide an odoriferous "keep out" warning; your dog may find coffee grounds to be similarly distracting. Of course, if you want to keep your pup out of the garden, keep him with you when you're outside, trained to respond to your "come" and "no" commands. If your dog's a perfect garden guest but the neighbor's isn't, secure fencing will be your best bet to keep your sanctuary intact and private.