12 Mosquito Repellent Plants You Need to Grow

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

More than nearly any other insect, mosquitoes can make it impossible for us to enjoy being outside, especially during the summer. If chemical repellents aren’t your thing, think about growing mosquito-repellent plants that naturally ward off mosquitoes thanks to the aroma of their oils. Read on about the best plant to grow!

Do Mosquito-Repelling Plants Work Effectively?

Mosquitoes and other biting insects prey on us because of the scents and gases we produce, including sweat, carbon dioxide, and smelly feet, to mention a few. The carbon dioxide in our breath, for instance, can draw mosquitoes from up to 150 feet away.

Do mosquito-repelling plants Work Effectively?

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Fortunately, several popular garden plants produce strong aromas that can block the scent sensors that the bugs use to detect us. Nevertheless, merely having these plants in your garden won’t keep the bugs away.

To get the bugs off your trail, the aroma of a plant typically needs to be much stronger and more concentrated. You can do this by crushing or burning the leaves of the mosquito-repellent plants to release the oils that give off the scent.

With that understanding, let’s get started and look at some of the plants that repel mosquitoes naturally.

Best Mosquito Repellent Plants

1. Lavender

One of the plants that deter mosquitoes the best is lavender. This plant’s scent is so potent that you don’t even need to crush it before applying it to your skin to work.

Lavender Flowers

Growing lavender is easy to learn, and you can do it in pots or along borders. Since they are Mediterranean plants, they thrive in hot, dry summers. Even better, they can be grown indoors to benefit from their wonderful scent and insect-repelling properties.

If you grow the lavender plant on the grounds around your home, it can also attract helpful pollinators, which will result in an abundance of purple flowers. This way, you will not only repel mosquitoes but will also have an attractive yard.

Lavender can grow well in USDA zones. Although it’s necessary to note that after a few years, the lavender plant does have a tendency to get leggy, so be sure you know how to trim lavender to keep it at its best.

2. Citronella Grass (Lemon Grass)

Known for its unique smell, citronella grass, or lemon grass, is one of the most effective mosquito repellent plants, thanks to the citronella oil contained within its leaves. Having this plant around is a wonderful assurance against biting bugs because topical citronella solutions last for around two hours since the oils dissipate quickly.

Citronella Grass

Image Source: thespruce.com

Also called mosquito plant, this plant has a grassy appearance, is moderately drought-tolerant, prefers afternoon shade, and thrives in rich, quick-draining soil. Due to the fact that it won’t reappear after a chilly period, it is typically regarded as an annual.

When growing this citronella plant, be sure to leave enough space between each one because citronella grass can grow up to six feet tall and six feet wide. Moreover, the grass prefers regular watering and filtered sunshine.

3. Marigolds

While they might not be the first plant that comes to mind, marigolds have several compounds that repel several types of insects, which is why gardeners and landscapers adore them. The aroma of marigold flowers, like that of other plants that deter insects, can aid with bug control.


Image Source: almanac.com

The colorful flowers from this plant contain an essential oil that has a similar effect to DEET, which is effective in repelling mosquitoes and is used in many commercial insect repellents. Furthermore, the plant doesn’t require much area, requires little upkeep, and blooms all summer long in stunning colors.

Marigolds can be grown from seed, but because the plants are so cheap and accessible, it is usually best to purchase them as young seedlings.

You can plant marigolds directly in nutrient-rich soil in your garden or in pots. They can therefore be transported to different locations as needed. Place the pots in your kitchen garden and around seating spaces. Make sure they have access to plenty of natural sunlight because marigolds love to be in a position with full sun.

4. Rose Geraniums

Scientifically known as Pelargonium graveolens, this sweet-smelling geranium is a rare, evergreen shrub. While acquiring one of these plants may be challenging, it might be worthwhile if you are having a lot of trouble with mosquitoes. The geranium oil derived from this plant is superior to both citronella oil and linalool in terms of its ability to repel mosquitoes.

Geranium 'True Rose'

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Warmer areas are better for this frost-sensitive plant since they allow the foliage to last all year. This plant has pretty pink blooms that bloom all through the summer, making it eye-catching in your yard in addition to being effective against mosquitoes.

The Rose Geranium should be grown in sandy soil that drains well and receives lots of direct sunlight. Use crushed portions of this plant to apply to the skin and clothing to repel insects.

5. Basil

One of the most effective plants you can grow to ward off mosquitoes is basil. The best part of growing this plant is that you can grow it indoors or outdoors and that it adds to your culinary repertoire. These spiciest herbs emit a potent aroma even when the leaves aren’t crushed.

 Green Basil

Marigolds, which are popular for their vivid orange flowers, are a highly attractive annual that thrives on the ground in pots. Expect it to continue to bloom throughout the summer and up until the first frost of the year across the majority of the country. Growing basil from seed or cuttings is simple; all it requires is a sunny location and careful watering.

6. Rosemary

Rosemary is another one of the most effective plants that will help you cut down the mosquito population. In addition to being used in cooking, this herb with a woody aroma also works as a mosquito deterrent. What’s even better is the fact that rosemary is totally safe for your pets.


You can grow the Rosemary herb in pots that can be placed around seating areas or even as a centerpiece atop outdoor dining tables to deter mosquitoes from biting. Rosemary thrives in warmer climates, so you will need to bring it inside over the winter if the temperatures in your region drop below freezing.

To increase the rosemary’s ability to keep mosquitoes away, rub the sprigs on your skin and clothing after harvesting the cut stems for use in stews or casseroles.

7. Lemon balm

Lemon balm is a strongly scented plant that repels mosquitoes naturally in your garden. This plant contains citronella, a compound that employs a strong aroma to confuse and deter insects in a similar way to citronella.

Lemon balm

Image Source: herbivore.co.ke

It is a perennial herb that spreads well; however, due to its potential for invasiveness in some locations, it is best cultivated in a container to limit the spread of its roots. If you decide to grow lemon balm in the ground, keep in mind that it can quickly engulf neighboring plants and herb gardens.

To increase the mosquito-repelling benefits, crush some of the leaves and apply them to your clothes or put them in your pockets. The aroma will spread all around you, making it a particularly wise choice if you’re going camping or trekking.

8. Lemon Thyme

Lemon thyme is another plant that has chemicals that mosquitoes hate, making it an effective option. The herb lemon thyme, which has a strong citrus aroma, can be grown indoors or outdoors to keep mosquitoes away. To keep mosquitoes away from the nearby area, all that is needed is to burn a few sprigs.

Lemon Thyme

Image Source: finedininglovers.com

Lemon thyme is a little herb that grows just 6 to 12 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches broad. It has tiny, bright green leaves, and when in bloom, it produces tiny, light purple flowers. It is a perennial in zones 7 and 9, covering zones 5 to 9.

Give lemon thyme plenty of sun and well-drained soil that dries out between waterings.

9. Catmint

The essential oil of catmint, nepetalactone, has been found to be 10 times more efficient than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. It is a weed and a commercial plant that belongs to the mint family. Its leaves can be used in cooking, and it has attractive lavender-like flowers that are treasured in gardens.


Image Source: provenwinners.com

Despite being a member of the mint family and being quite simple to produce, catmint has invasive potential. Simply chop off the blossoms and boil them to create your own homemade bug spray.

Although its close relative, catnip, repels mosquitoes as well, keep in mind that growing it may drive your feline friends insane.

10. Monarda (Bee Balm)

With the extra benefit of luring bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds in addition to its mosquito-repelling properties, monarda bee balm, also known as horsemint or wild bergamot, is a pretty perennial.

Monarda 'Fireball' (Bee Balm)

Image Source: gardenia.net

Similar to citronella, horsemint reduces the risk or frequency of getting bitten by mosquitoes by masking the smell they are looking for, which makes identifying a human host much more difficult.

This larger plant, which can reach heights of 2 to 4 feet, has lovely flowers that pop in shades of red, purple, pink, or white. The oils in the leaves, which often have a mint, oregano, and occasionally citrus aroma, can be used to brew tea and have therapeutic uses as well.

This plant does not do well in hot and dry climates, making it ideal for gardens that do not have full sun and well-draining fertile soil. To prevent powdery mildew problems, monarda needs sufficient air circulation, and it prefers evenly moist soil to continue blooming into the late summer.

11. Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal is one of the smallest species in the mint family, and it is so potent to the point of being toxic. It is one of the most powerful natural mosquito repellents due to its great potency.

Pennyroyal (Bo He You)

Image Source: whiterabbitinstituteofhealing.com

Plant a handful of these plants near your seating area and other high-traffic areas of your outdoor space to get rid of mosquitoes in your yard. Some people prefer to crush pennyroyal leaves and put them inside their pockets, where the potent smell still serves as additional mosquito protection.

If pennyroyal is unavailable, mint plants, in general, are particularly good at repelling mosquitoes. Remember, this plant can be toxic, so keep it far away from anyone who is pregnant or may become pregnant, and avoid rubbing it on your skin or ingesting it.

12. Garlic

Garlic is another amazing option that has mosquito-repellent properties. The plant’s scent will serve to deter mosquitoes as well, as they dislike the smell. Another advantage is that eating a lot of the garlic you’ve grown will make insects less interested in you.

Grow Garlic

Image Source: Gardener’sPath.com

Garlic can be grown by simply planting one broken clove from a garlic bulb in the ground. Growing garlic takes up hardly any space in the garden and gives you a constant supply of garlic for use in cooking while still acting as a repellant. Even better, you can use garlic in compost for numerous advantages, including adding nutrients to your garden soil.

Other Natural Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away

Other Natural Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away

In addition to growing the mentioned plants, you should also try and incorporate other natural mosquito control preventative measures in your home so that the mosquitoes and other pests don’t get out of hand. Here are some options for you:

1. Check for Stagnant Water

Check for puddles in areas such as the yard or patio, as stagnant water can become an ideal mosquito breeding habitat. Moreover, look for standing water in refrigerators, bathrooms, kitchens, balconies, and other places. Ensure that all of your faucets are free from leaks and that your outside gutters are clean.

2. Discard Unwanted Containers or Junk Around your Home

Look around your yard for any unused containers or other items that can collect rainwater and serve as a potential breeding site for mosquitoes, such as worn-out tires, discarded bottles, and unfilled containers.

3. Keep Your Rain Gutters Clean

An essential part of property maintenance, especially during the rainy season, is gutter cleaning. During times of heavy rainfall, it is pretty usual for your rain gutters to fill up with leaves, twigs, and other debris.

These blocked gutters hold a lot of standing water, which makes them a favorite place for mosquitoes to breed. Cleaning your gutters frequently will help keep them from acting as a breeding ground for mosquitoes during the rainy season.

4. Prepare Your Patio

Even modest amounts of leftover food can support the growth of insects like mosquitoes. After dining outside, be sure to clean up any crumbs or spilled beverages to help ward off bugs. This will not only help repel mosquitoes; it will also guarantee that your outside dining space will be flawless for your visitors.

5. Make a Trap for Water Mosquitoes

Making a mosquito trap is another effective way that will work alongside insect-repellant plants. In each room, place a small bowl of soapy water. Water attracts mosquitoes, and the soap catches the pesky insects and stops them from escaping.


Planting pest-controlling herbs and flowers is a tried-and-true approach to keep mosquitoes away. In addition, plants that repel mosquitoes often smell good to humans, so your patio will benefit from both the delightful fragrance of flowers and the natural insect repellent. We hope that the list we have provided in this guide will help you find the best mosquito-repellent plants you can plant in your home.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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