10 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

10 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

These plants not only look beautiful and smell good, they will help to keep the mosquitoes away!

1. Citronella Grass

Citronella grass is widely known for it’s effectiveness at repelling mosquitoes, and it is the most common ingredient used when formulating natural mosquito repellents. Just having the plant in your backyard will not be enough though, it is the oils in the citronella grass plant that actually repel the mosquitoes. Crushing the leaves will release significant amounts of their repellent oils and can be applied to the skin.

Citronella grass is a clump forming perennial grass in zones 10-12, but here in zone 5 it can be grown as an annual. 

2. Catnip

Catnip grows abundantly and is from the mint family. It is very easy to care for and an amazing mosquito repellent. In an Iowa State University study, nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant it’s odor, was found to be ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, the compound used in most commercial insect repellents.

Catnip has been harvested for centuries for medicinal purposes as well as insect repellents.

3. Lavender

The same scent we know and love is actually what helps to repel mosquitoes away. To achieve the maximum benefits of lavender, the leaves need to be crushed and rubbed on your skin.

Lavender is a beautiful and aromatic addition to your landscape.

4. Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal is one of the most effective plants for repelling mosquitoes when carefully grown and used, however, if too much of it’s oil, which contains pulegone, gets absorbed into the skin or ingested, it can be toxic to both humans and animals. You can carefully crush pennyroyal leaves and carry them inside your pockets, and the strong odor will still be effective at repelling both mosquitos and pests. Planting pennyroyal near main gathering areas will also help in repelling mosquitoes.

5. Rosemary

In addition to being a favorite culinary herb, rosemary is a very effective repellent for flies and mosquitoes.

It’s pungent scent also drives away other bugs, including cabbage moths. Rosemary thrives in containers, and can be placed in numerous spots all around the garden. If you are camping or enjoying a bonfire at night, you can throw a few sprigs of rosemary into the fire and let them burn. The smoke will deter mosquitoes and other insects that may be nearby.

6. Peppermint

Just the presence of peppermint plants can deter mosquitoes to some degree, or for maximum effectiveness, you can crush the leaves and rub the oils on your skin. Peppermint can also relieve discomfort from itchy mosquito bites.

7. Basil

Well known as a tasty seasoning herb, Basil can also be used as a natural repellent. The essential oils in the basil plant emit a powerful aroma that is strong enough to repel mosquitoes when it is simply placed in your outdoor area. You can create even more of an effective repellent by making homemade sprays from its essential oils. While all basil variations will work, lemon basil is the most useful at repelling mosquitoes.

8. Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family and has a strong lemon scent that many insects find unpleasant. For an even greater repellent, you can apply the crushed leaves to your skin. 

The scent of Lemon Balm helps to deter unwanted insects, however, bees, butterflies and humans alike seem to love the powerful scent!

9. Marigold

Commonly referred to as “nature’s insecticide”, Marigolds contain pyrethrum, a compound used in many mosquito repellents. Well known for it’s pungent aroma, these golden flowers can be planted in various places around your yard to keep mosquitoes at bay. What’s even better is that Marigolds are edible, and are a popular addition to salads due to their delicious citrus taste!

10. Garlic

When ingested, garlic’s active ingredient, allicin, interferes with our natural scent and masks us from mosquitoes. Garlic can even be used to deter mosquitoes without eating it. Cut into slivers and scatter around your main outdoor living areas, or combine with oils to create a repellent spray for your yard. Rubbing the juice directly on your skin can also deter mosquitoes, but it may also keep everyone else away, too!

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