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The 12 Best Plants to Naturally Repel Mosquitoes

mosquito repellent plants
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Jimmy Chan

Pesky mosquitoes can easily ruin a summer evening. Luckily there are many plants that keep mosquitoes away. We’ll share which natural mosquito-repellent plants to add to your outdoor space so you can enjoy your warm summer evenings in peace. 

Time spent outdoors quickly goes from enjoyment to annoyance when you start to hear that high-pitched buzzing sound. Then comes the prick, the inevitable smack, and an itchy sensation that plagues you for days. From camping trips to barbecues, mosquitoes seem to have an open invitation to all outdoor summer events.

Before you reach for the bug spray, remember that the scent can be overwhelming for both humans and insects alike. While it may be a quick remedy, these sprays are filled with toxic chemicals and can be quite expensive. Mosquito-repellent plants can help fight back without the use of chemicals. 

The secret to mosquito-repellent plants is their high concentration of essential oils. The bloodsuckers don’t like the scent, and the strong aroma helps to mask our human scent that those pesky insects are drawn to.

Plants to Keep Mosquitoes Away: Herbs 

best plant to repel mosquitoes
Herbs are multipurpose garden plants, you can eat them and use them to repel mosquitoes! (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Jackie Hope )

Due to their lovely scents and high concentrations of essential oils, herbs are some of the best plants to repel mosquitoes. You can also use them for cooking, baking and making tea. However, simply having them in your garden won’t repel the pests. For best results, crush the leaves or rub them between your hands to release the essential oils. 

Lavender: Lavender makes a great addition to any garden: not only is it one of the best plants to keep mosquitos away, it is also great for attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinators with its lovely, calming scent. 

Lemon Thyme: This natural mosquito-repellent plant attracts bees, and makes a great addition to rock gardens. You can use this plant as a natural bug repellent by bruising the leaves and brushing them on your skin. For other citrusy-smelling mosquito-repellent plants, consider lemon balm or lemon grass. 

Basil: Basil is one of the most common herbs grown in the summertime for things like pesto, homemade pizza, and delicious cocktails. In addition to all of its delicious culinary applications, basil is also one of the best plants to repel mosquitoes.

Rosemary: The woodsy scent of rosemary keeps pests away, and is a great addition to any garden. Burn the sprigs like candles to keep mosquitos away.

Mint: Another plant that keeps mosquitoes away is mint. Because this herb is such an aggressive and quick spreader, it’s best to keep them as potted plants. Crush the leaves up to use them as a natural bug repellent or dry the mint leaves for delicious homemade tea. 

Sage: Another culinary herb with other practical purposes is sage. Rub or burn sage leaves to release the essential oils that keep bugs away. You can also dry it, or drink it as sage tea

Catnip: This member of the mint family is best known for making cats go wild, but it is also a natural mosquito-repellent plant. Studies even show that the catnip plant is ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET. 

Natural Mosquito-Repellent Plants

plants that keep mosquitoes away
Did you know marigold flowers are edible? (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Teresa Jang )

If you’re looking to add some color to your backyard, garden, or outdoor space, there are several flowers that can also help keep mosquitoes away. 

  • Marigolds: These bright red, orange, and yellow flowers are celebrated in the gardening world as a pest repellent. The strong scent helps ward off mosquitoes, rabbits, and nematodes. 
  • Bee Balm: Similar to lavender, this mosquito-repellent plant also attracts pollinators. Not only that, but the plant has edible flowers and leaves! 
  • Scented Germaniums: These work best as a potted plant. That way you’ll be able to move the pot around as need be. The most effective mosquito-repellent variant is the citronella geranium, with its lemony scent and gorgeous lavender blooms. 
  • Ageratum: Also known as floss flower, this natural mosquito-repellent plant is known for its shaggy purple flowers.  It is a source of coumarin, which is an ingredient in most commercial bug repellents. 
  • Allium: This beautiful plant has unique orb-shaped flowers and makes a stunning addition to any garden. As a member of the onion and garlic family, the strong scent will help keep the buzzing at bay.  
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