With summer comes lots of outdoor living. Sadly, that can mean lots of mosquitoes. I don’t like to use chemical products but, thankfully, Mother Nature has the perfect answer – Mosquito Repelling Plants! We can grow annuals, perennials and herbs that will keep the bugs away naturally.
With all the hype about West Nile Virus, it makes sense to do what you can to keep mosquitoes away from your yard, especially in non toxic ways. These 15 plants are know for their mosquito repelling abilities. Why not try growing a few in your garden or on pots on a deck or patio.
These plants work to some degree or another in repelling insects. None of them, in my opinion, is the clear winner as a mosquito repellent plant, but growing several of them in my yard has meant that we have very few mosquitoes in our outdoor living area.
Top 15 Mosquito Repelling Plants
Some of these plants are annuals, but most are perennials which will come back year after year. Most can be grown in the ground or in containers. Surprisingly, many are herbs. I’ve always wondered why we don’t have mosquitoes around when we sit outside on our deck. The answer is that I have huge containers of all kinds of herbs and many of them are ones on this list!
Many of the mosquito repelling plants have insignificant flowers, so it’s great to find one that is more showy. Mosquitoes find the smell of ageratum repugnant and stay away from them. That is because they give off coumarin, an ingredient of many commercial mosquito repellents. This plant is also known as Floss Flowers. Ageratum is an annual.
Used so often in Italian cooking, basil is an herb that I always have growing on my deck garden. Who would have thought that growing this delicious herb would do a good job at repelling mosquitoes? The essential oil from basil plants is toxic to mosquito larvae. If you grow it near ponds or other water sources, you will control the eggs that mosquitoes lay and have less mosquitoes in your yard. See how to grow basil here.
Kitties love catnip, but we can’t say the same thing about mosquitoes. Scientists at Iowa State University reported that catnip is 10 times more effective than Deet in repelling mosquitoes. So keep your cat happy and say goodbye to mosquitoes by planting catnip. It is a low growing perennial, that can also be grown in pots.
We have all heard of citronella candles to keep the mosquitoes away. Try growing a citronella plant instead! This perennial is the most commonly grown mosquito repelling plant.
The Pelargonium citrosum is commonly known as the mosquito plant. It is a member of the geranium family that has a citronella smell. Even though it is marketed as the mosquito plant, it works best when the leaves are crushed to release the smell, not just grown as a plant. In spite of its name, it is surprisingly less effective against mosquitoes than some of the other plants on this list. Many people who grow it say that it doesn’t work well. Lemon grass, another plant with citronella in it, does a much better job.
The natural oils from the leaves of a eucalyptus tree will not only keep mosquitoes away but will also ward off sand flies, ticks and more pests. The essential oils in the plants contain PMD and other terpenoid compounds which have wonderful mosquito repelling properties.
If you are looking for mosquito repelling plants, don’t forget to grow garlic. With it’s strong smell, it is no wonder mosquitoes don’t like garlic! Add garlic in your vegetable garden or flower beds and you will have it for cooking and for keeping bugs at bay! See how to grow garlic greens indoors here.
The essential oils found in the leaves of lavender plants emit a lovely fragrance that humans love but one that it not appealing to mosquitoes (or rabbits, squirrels and deer!) The best way to use it is to place the crushed leaves of the plant on your skin to release the oils.
More mosquito Repelling Plants
Need some more ideas? Here are another 8 plants that will keep these pests away from you and your family.
Plants with strong scents seem to be good at keeping mosquitoes away. Lemon balm is a perennial member of the mint family and has a gentle lemon scent which we find appealing, but mosquitoes do not. Since lemon balm, like most mint plants, can be quite invasive, it is best grown in containers. The plant works at keeping bugs away because of a high level of citronellal that it contains.
Like most other lemon scented plants, lemon grass works great at keeping mosquitoes away, since they don’t like its smell. You can crush the leaves and put them in your pocket to act as a personal insect repellent while you are working in the garden. The plant is a tender perennial so it is only cold hardy in zones 9 and 10. Colder regions should treat it as an annual. It is a clumping grass that grows to a height of 5 to 6 feet. Use it as a background plant because of the size.
My grandfather planted marigolds every year around the motel he owned and also around his home. They did a great job of keeping the yard bug free. Marigolds are an annual plant so will need to be planted each year. They contain pyrethum, which is commonly found in insect repellents! Use this plant in pots near the entrance to your home and on your patio. Even though they need planting each year, they produce seeds easily. You will also need to de-head regularly. One great thing about marigolds is that make great companion plants for tomato plants, as well.
Pennyroyal does a good job of repelling mosquitoes when planted outside, and the cut flowers will also kill any that happen to come inside. It is a member of the mint family, so is invasive. Grow it in pots to keep it under control. Growing it as an indoor plant is a great idea too!
If you use essential oils, you will know how often peppermint oil is used in a homemade mosquito repellent. My DIY mosquito repellent calls for peppermint, lemon and eucalyptus essential oils. The minty clean scent serves as a natural mosquito repellent. It will also kill mosquito larva.
Crush the leaves of the peppermint plant to release the scent and essential oils. Like all mint, it’s invasive, so plant peppermint in pots and containers.
This perennial herb can be used to flavor all sorts of recipes and also makes a great mosquito repellent. One fun summer time trick is to take a few sprigs and tie them together and put them on a campfire. The smoke will do a fabulous job of keeping the mosquitoes away! See how to grow rosemary here.
This herb works in the same way that rosemary does on a campfire. Rubbed onto your skin, it also makes a great personal mosquito repellent. See my sage plant care tips here.
One of the first plant that my mother used to plant each year was geraniums. All of the scented varieties do a good job at keeping the mosquitoes away. It makes a great focal plant because of it’s lovely blossoms.
A few containers, some potting soil and a few of these mosquito repelling plants are all that you need to keep your yard mosquito free this summer. Try growing some today?
If pests are a problem for you, these articles may interest you:
- How to keep ants out of your home
- Natural Squirrel repellents
- Testing Borax Ant Killer remedies.
- Natural Ant Repellents
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