While the lushly planted natural garden is a beautiful ornament, the tall growing plants can provide many hiding places for unwelcome animals. Discovering a snake in the garden is a major scare for most garden owners. Although most native snake species are completely harmless, their presence in our green oasis can be very unsettling. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of anti-snake plants that you can plant around the perimeter of your garden to create an anti-snake zone.
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If you notice a snake in your garden, it is probably a smooth snake, grass snake, dice snake or Aesculapian snake. These species are native to Germany and are harmless to humans. However, in our latitudes there are also two poisonous snake species – the adder and asps viper. They are found only in the Black Forest.
The best plants against snakes in the garden
Even though the most common snake species in Germany are harmless, most garden owners certainly don’t like them as guests in their own gardens. If you want to make your outdoor area snake-proof, then you do not have to use poisons or chemical means against snakes. It is enough to grow a few plants that will keep the crawling animals away. Here are the best types, and you’ll be happy to hear that among them are many plants that also repel mosquitoes and flies.
From aromatic herbs and fragrant flowers to plants with spiky foliage, there are many species you can grow to combat reptiles that are also very attractive and useful in the kitchen.
Marigolds have a strong spicy fragrance and densely ruffled red, yellow and orange flowers that keep snakes away. The pretty flowers look harmless, but the roots of marigolds grow deep and aggressive. These robust roots function as snake repellents. They emit a strong odor that also deters moles . The odor penetrates deep into the soil and reaches places where a snake might hide.
This gorgeous plant from the bulbous family not only looks beautiful with its pink, trumpet-shaped flowers in spring and early summer, but also keeps snakes away thanks to its strong scent. This fast-growing and clump-forming perennial can grow up to 90 inches tall.
Allium or flowering bulb
Thanks to their high sulfate content and pungent odor, onions are very effective at keeping snakes out of the garden. Fortunately, they’re also showy flowers that add drama and color in late spring with their lavender and deep purple globe-shaped blooms on straight stems.
Scatter them in the flower bed, among groundcovers or plant them in shallow, bowl-shaped planters to create an eye-catching display. A word of warning: the broad, strap-shaped leaves are not particularly pretty and provide an ideal hiding place for slugs. So keep them away from precious and delicate salad leaves and bedding plants. Or be prepared to get rid of slugs on a regular basis.
Garlic against snakes
Like onions and alliums, garlic contains large amounts of sulfonic acid, which gives off a strong odor that snakes simply don’t like.
You can grow garlic for culinary and medicinal purposes, but these plants also have attractive flowers that can also be eaten. The white, spherical flowers can be picked at the bud stage or when they are fully open and taste especially good sautéed or in salads.
The scent of basil also drives away creepy crawlies
This tender annual herb, best grown from seed at regular intervals in spring and summer, has a strong scent that we find inviting, but snakes can’t stand.
You can grow basil from seed, both indoors and outdoors. It needs constant heat to grow, and doesn’t like being in moist substrate, where it rots quickly. The soft and tasty leaves also burn very easily, so the plant should not be placed in direct sun.
Wormwood or mugwort
The charm of wormwood or artemisia may lie in its fine, silvery, feathery foliage, but did you know that snakes can’t stand its acrid smell?
It’s easy and quick to grow in a sunny, well-drained spot and is perfect for planting on your patio or porch to keep those unwanted visitors away.
Commonly known as an indoor plant, bow hemp (Sensevieria) or mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant is also a good natural remedy for snakes. It is the sight of the tall and sinuous sword-like leaves that scares off the crawling animals. Whether it’s because they find the sight threatening or because of the sharp leaf edges, in warm climates these perennial plants are perfect for a snake-proof garden.
This plant prefers temperatures of 21°C and above, but will tolerate slightly cooler conditions, though they should not be below 12°C.
Lemongrass against snakes
Lemon grass originates from the sunny, humid and warm areas of Sri Lanka and southern India and has an invigorating citrus scent that is guaranteed to keep snakes and other reptiles away. Since this species is not hardy in our latitudes, you should dig it up before the first frost and overwinter it indoors.
The bitter leaves and roots of this perennial, often called devil’s pepper, also deter snakes.
But be careful: due to the chemicals contained in the plant – namely reserpine and tremetol – this tall plant with its small white flowers is very toxic to snakes, but also harmful to animals, especially horses.
Making the garden snake-proof – other tips.
In addition to planting beds with snake-deterrent plants, you can take other steps to make your outdoor space more unwelcoming to the crawling animals. Trim back the lower branches of shrubs, prune long grass, and clean up piles of leaves regularly to reduce hiding places for snakes. Fill in existing holes with firmly compacted soil and reduce wet areas or puddles, as these are especially attractive to snakes. Free-roaming pets are also a good snake deterrent, as their frequent forays can keep reptiles from taking up residence.