It’s no secret that mosquitoes are a nuisance. During hotter months they often swarm around our homes each evening, looking for any piece of us they can get their tiny hands on. And not only are mosquitoes quite possibly the peskiest insects alive, but they can also be dangerous; carrying diseases such as Malaria, West Nile virus, and Yellow Fever.
Common mosquito repellents like bug sprays and mosquito candles contain toxic and otherwise potentially harmful chemicals that some may not be too thrilled to spray on their body or breathe in.
That’s why, in this article, we’ll be covering a natural and safer solution to all of your pest problems: plants that repel mosquitoes. Before we begin, keep in mind that these plants work best when placed in or near the area that you want to keep mosquito-free.
Most are familiar with the lulling scent and beautiful purple and blue hues of Lavender, but not many know how well this common plant keeps mosquitoes at bay. Though the aroma of Lavender is enough to put humans in a calm state of mind, mosquitoes aren’t too fond of the smell that’s given off and will keep away.
If you really want to frighten the mosquitoes, you can rub Lavender essential oil directly onto your skin (or along with a carrier oil – like coconut oil, which also repels pests) while you’re surrounded by your Lavender plants. Lavender is also known to repel other pests such as spiders, fleas, and flies.
Clean Lavender essential oil isn’t terribly expensive and is available on Amazon.
2. Wild Bergamot
If you love attracting the attention of brightly-colored pollinating creatures to your home garden while at the same time driving away mosquitoes, planting Wild Bergamot is the surefire way to do it. While most effective if used as an oil placed directly on the skin, the scent that is given off by the live plant, itself, is enough to keep mosquitoes from wandering too close to your backyard space.
Say hello to bumbling bees, fluttering butterflies, and dashing hummingbirds… and goodbye to pesky mosquitoes.
Like with many of the plants on our list, Wild Bergamot essential oil is available for purchase through Amazon and various health food stores.
Mint isn’t only good for its cooling effect and delicious tea flavoring. There are multiple types of mint (two of which we’ll cover in more depth momentarily) but with this section, we’ve decided to be more general.
Any plant in the mint family (such as the most common: Peppermint, Catmint – which are coming up – or Spearmint) is wonderful for repelling pests like mosquitoes. The coolness and refreshing scent of any mint plant are too strong and undesirable for mosquitoes and other flying insects, like gnats.
Mint plants, of all kinds, are also rather invasive and incredibly easy to grow. If you were to plant mints openly in your yard, you could expect them to take over your garden pretty quickly. They’re also wonderful pot plants that will take up every inch of space available to them. The concentrated scent of these planted pots would be great at driving mosquitoes away from a porch, patio or any other confined outdoor gathering area.
4. (Burning) Sage
For the nights you plan on sitting around a fire, burning Sage is a simple and effective way to keep mosquitos from joining the party. Burning Sage will also keep other insects away, such as ticks, moths, and some flies. It’s worth noting that this method is only effective when you’re in close proximity to the smoke.
Of course, you can also apply Sage essential oil to various areas of your skin like your wrists, sides of your neck, and around the ankle. You can find clean, organic essential oil on Amazon or any health food store.
Marigolds are gorgeous flowers of vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. Their mesmerizing colors are enough to make us want to plant them all over the place, but the oils (called terpenes) in their leaves are enough to make mosquitoes run for the hills.
These hardy flowers are wonderful even for the amateur gardener. Heat-tolerant and drought-resistant, Marigolds are the ideal plant for repelling mosquitoes and keeping your yard looking gorgeous during blistering hot seasons.
You can find Marigolds at your local plant nursery or purchase seeds through Amazon.
Lemongrass is a plant specifically labeled as a mosquito repellant. Though all of the plants on our list repel mosquitoes, this is one of the most common and widely used plants for ridding properties of blood-sucking insects. Like mints, practically any lemon-scented plant should do a decent job at making mosquitoes feel unwelcome.
The oil found in Lemongrass, called Cintronella, is the main unappealing factor to these pests and you can often find Citronella candle mosquito repellant in your average home goods store.
Lemongrass is edible and both the extracted oil and whole plant pose wonderful health benefits, however, it has been found to cause birth defects in pregnant women. It’s vital to stay away from the oil and refrain from consuming the plant if you are pregnant.
You can find Lemongrass essential oil on Amazon or at any health food store.
7. Lemon Thyme
As we mentioned previously, practically any “Lemon” plant will do the good work of repelling mosquitoes. This is also a tough plant that is able to withstand high temperatures and grow in rocky, shallow, or otherwise hard-to-grow-in soil. They require full sun and are sure to thrive anywhere with constant, direct light.
To maximize the Lemon Thyme’s mosquito repelling abilities, you should clip a branch off of the plant and crush and rub the leaves on the most vulnerable parts of your body (focusing on the arms and legs primarily).
Since mosquitoes are basically the true vampires, it’s only fitting that garlic should repel them. The pungent odor of garlic is enough to make our mouths water when used in the kitchen, but it’s incredibly offensive to mosquitoes and (thankfully) strong enough to ward off the irritating mini Draculas.
The downside to garlic is that it deters mosquitoes most efficiently when consumed or rubbed on the skin, which is definitely not ideal. However, slicing open a few bulbs and placing them in close proximity to your patio or outdoor seating area may also be effective in shooing mosquitoes away.
Mosquitoes breed and nest near areas where water pools and becomes stagnant, such as around trash bins, ponds, creeks, and other bodies of water. If you know where your unwanted visitors reside, here’s a great article explaining how you can use garlic to kill them off.
And if you’re compelled to rub garlic on your skin to keep blood-sucking critters away, you can purchase garlic essential oil on Amazon or at a health food store.
Catmints, also known as Catnip, are quite obviously very attractive to cats. If you don’t mind the neighborhood tomcat and all his buddies rolling around on your plants, then adding catmints to your yard is a wonderful idea to keep mosquitoes away.
Like we mentioned earlier, virtually any plant from the mint family is great for repelling pests because of the chemical, nepetalactone, found in them – and Catmint is no exception. Catmint is a rather hardy plant and can take over your garden if you’re not diligent in keeping it contained, so keep that in mind.
You can purchase Catnip through Amazon below.
Pennyroyal has been used for centuries as a home remedy for ailments and for keeping flying insects away. You can’t just sit there and drink Pennyroyal Tea, though (you edgy, 90’s teens will catch our drift). For the best mosquito-scaring effect, bruising the plant and sticking it inside your pockets is the way to go.
It’s extremely important to understand that Pennyroyal can be toxic to infants and pregnant women. It’s best to keep children and pregnant women away from the plant itself and any extracted oils from the Pennyroyal.
Not only is Rosemary a delicious additive to dishes, but it’s also a strong mosquito repellant. Simply having the plants around can drive mosquitoes away. Plus, you’ll never have to go to the store for Rosemary spice ever again, so that’s a bonus.
If you really want to make sure mosquitoes won’t come around, you can cut a branch from the plant and bruise the leaves and stick it anywhere near you when you’re outside. You can also rub the leaves on your skin or buy Rosemary essential oil and put that on your skin, as well.
Rosemary essential oil can be found at any health food store or purchased online through Amazon.
Geraniums are a versatile plant of many colors. They can be found in various pinks, reds, oranges, whites, and purples and are extremely effective at repelling mosquitoes. They’re yet another plant with a lemony-type fragrance, which as we’ve mentioned, is ideal for repelling various insects.
Simply planting these lovely flowers in your garden and around your outdoor seating area is enough to drive pests away. However, you can also use Geranium essential oil on your skin as an extra precaution.
You can purchase young Geraniums or Geranium seeds at your local plant nursery, and you can find Geranium essential oil on Amazon.
Everyone is familiar with Basil and it’s delightful Italian-enhancing flavor and scent. This plant is potent enough to keep mosquitoes from showing their smug, pointy faces simply by being planted. There’s really no need to crush the leaves and rub the oil on your skin or do anything special to keep mosquitoes away.
Although, you can rub your hands, arms, and feet against the leaves to stimulate the plant and make the aroma linger in a stronger way. And if you’re especially concerned about getting bit by mosquitoes, you can apply Basil essential oil safely to your wrists and any other exposed area.
You can purchase Basil plants and seeds at your local plant nursery. Basil essential oil is available at virtually any health food store or for purchase through Amazon.
As we mentioned earlier, plants from the mint family are extremely useful for repelling mosquitoes. Peppermint leaves can be crushed and rubbed on the skin to repel mosquitoes, however, this isn’t necessary as the presence of the plant itself is enough to ward off pests. The concentrated oil of the Peppermint plant can also kill the larvae of various insects.
Of course, you can be extra vigilant in repelling mosquitoes by applying Peppermint oil directly to the skin. Keep in mind that the cooling effect of Peppermint can become unpleasant if there is too much applied. It’s best not to slather yourself in Peppermint oil. Rather, you should dab the oil on places on your arms, legs, and neck.
You can find Peppermint essential oil at your local health food store or through Amazon.
15. Floss Flower
These durable plants can last through heat or cold and grow in tight bunches. Floss Flower, also called Ageratum, is great for planting around garden edging or in rock gardens and can grow extremely well in practically any type of soil.
Coumarin, a chemical found in Floss Flower is commonly used in your average mosquito repellent sprays. Simply having Floss Flower near a porch or planted in close proximity to your home is enough to repel mosquitoes.
You can purchase Floss Flower seeds through Amazon.
These beautifully colored bulbs can grow up to six feet tall and sprout vibrant floral balls that help to repel mosquitoes. Alliums are robust plants that can withstand high temperatures and last throughout Spring and Summer. They require full sun and work best to repel pests when placed near the home or outdoor seating area.
They’re also friendly plants that mingle well with other flowers or edible plants. Not only do Alliums repel mosquitoes, but they also drive off Cabbage Worms, Aphids, and Slugs, which is great if you have a vegetable garden.
Though covered in gorgeous blooms, the Lantana can be invasive and take over your garden if you’re not careful. With that said, Lantanas are amazing at repelling mosquitoes. A study in Africa was conducted in the early 2000s. In the study, Lantanas were planted around the outside doorways of 90 homes and 10 homes were left alone.
The study concluded that mosquitoes around and in the homes where Lantanas were planted decreased by 56% in one mosquito species and by 50% overall.
Mums, or Chrysanthemums, can be planted virtually anywhere in direct sun. They’re wonderful pot plants and would look great in a raised garden bed near a home or patio. Chrysanthemums are hardy plants that last throughout the warmer months and even withstand frost. They’re easy to take care of, come in a variety of beautiful tones, and most importantly are excellent mosquito repellers.
19. Tea Tree
Tea Tree oil has been a trend over recent years and is often praised for its acne-treating, contact dermatitis-soothing, and lice-ridding capabilities. As far as mosquito repelling goes, Tea Tree is quite efficient. While the plant itself won’t repel mosquitoes very effectively, rubbing the oil onto your skin is a wonderful way to make sure the insects won’t come near.
Tea Tree essential oil can be found at health food stores or purchased online through Amazon.
Petunias are a popular mosquito and pest repellant because of their gorgeous, bright colors. Unbeknownst to most, Petunias are actually being considered as carnivorous plants, which is great news for you (and bad news for pesky bugs).
These flowers can be grown anywhere there is direct sunlight and they aren’t picky about space. Petunias can be planted in garden beds, around edible plants, in hanging baskets, around landscape borders, and pretty much any other place you can think of. They’re extremely easy to maintain and are brilliant at lasting through difficult weather periods.
21. Lemon Balm
Yet another member of the mint family, Lemon Balm is (of course) an exceptional mosquito repellant. Both minty and lemony plants are marvelous at keeping pests away so what better combination could there possibly be than Lemon Balm? Like other mint plants, Lemon Balm is rather invasive and will take over any area it’s placed in if given free rein.
Simply the scent of Lemon Balm is enough to deter mosquitoes, however, it is perfectly harmless to crush the leaves and rub them onto your skin for additional repelling ability.
Mosquitoes are pesky creatures with little regard to how you may feel about their blood-sucking tendencies. Mosquito repelling candles and bug sprays can often contain harmful chemicals that may not be healthy to spray on the skin or inhale. Luckily, there are a variety of plants (and their oils) that have the same repelling effect on mosquitoes as store bought sprays.
We hope you enjoyed our article covering the best plants that repel mosquitoes!