There is much controversy regarding commercial bug repellents, especially if the bug spray contains DEET. While they may be very effective at repelling mosquitoes and eliminating mosquito larvae, we don’t want to apply them to our skin daily. Therefore, we put together a range of plants that deter mosquitoes. These plants are a safe and natural alternative to chemicals, and they also add beauty to your outdoor space.
Many insects ruin a family picnic or relaxing day outside, and mosquitoes are one of the worst. Their insistent high-pitched buzzing and mosquito bites turn a fun outdoor experience into an annoying one as you spend most of your time swatting and slapping the pests away.
Fortunately, nature has a way of taking care of itself, and plants are no different. Many plant types have a scent that repels pesky mosquitoes and other insect pests, keeping the area bug-free. These plants are perfect for planting in a flower bed around a porch or in planters on a backyard patio.
- Creating a Bug-Free Atmosphere with Plants that Deter Mosquitoes
- What Plants Deter Mosquitoes?
- Can You Grow Mosquito Deterrent Plants in Pots?
- Why Do Some Plants Deter Mosquitoes?
- Are Mosquito Deterrent Plants Easy to Grow?
- Citronella Plant (Cymbopogon nardus)
- Lavender (Lavandula) – Aromatic Plants that Deter Mosquitoes
- Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
- Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) – Herbs that Naturally Repel Mosquitoes
- Basil Plant (Ocimum basilicum)
- Marigold (Tagetes) – Keeping Mosquitoes at Bay with Flowers
- Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
- Scented Geraniums (Pelargonium)
- Peppermint (Mentha × Piperita) – Using Minty Herbs to Repel Mosquitoes
- Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)
- Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) – Mosquito Repellent Plant with Curb Appeal
- Floss Flower (Ageratum)
- Bee Balm (Monarda) – Mosquito Repellent Plant that Attracts Pollinators
- Lemon Thyme (Thymus citriodorus)
- Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora) – Mosquito Deterrent Plant with a Citrusy aroma
- Lantana (Lantana camara)
Creating a Bug-Free Atmosphere with Plants that Deter Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes like carbon dioxide, which is why they prefer humans. Learn why mosquito deterrent plants work and how to create a sanctuary by growing them around the yard to prevent or get rid of a mosquito infestation. Discover which plants deter mosquitoes and detailed descriptions to help you pick the right ones for your region and outdoor space.
What Plants Deter Mosquitoes?
There are a variety of plants to grow in the yard, but not all of them are effective at deterring the mosquito. The key is to pick those that emit a smell that these pests cannot stand. A popular mosquito-repelling scent is citronella, and you’ve probably seen products with citronella oil at your local garden center.
What plants deter mosquitoes? While the citronella plant is well-known, there are other repellent plants that work as well, including lemon balm, catnip, citronella grass, bee balm, basil, and scented geraniums. Some of these plants have more to offer than repelling insects from the yard.
Can You Grow Mosquito Deterrent Plants in Pots?
Planting mosquito-repelling plants in flower beds around your home is a great way to deter these pests from different areas of the yard. However, gardening takes a lot of effort, and not everyone has the time to plant and maintain a garden bed.
Fortunately, there are many potted plants that deter mosquitoes if you have limited space or want to keep these insects away from a porch or patio. Container gardening is not only easy but the perfect way to move the plants around as needed to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Why Do Some Plants Deter Mosquitoes?
Some plants are appealing because of their beauty, and others have practical uses. If you’re trying to keep your yard mosquito-free, it’s important to know what plants deter mosquitoes. Why do some plants keep these pests away while others do not?
While the plants themselves do not deter mosquitoes, some contain oils with properties that drive mosquitoes away. These plants are perfect for mosquito repelling, and their essential oil is appealing to our senses.
Are Mosquito Deterrent Plants Easy to Grow?
Don’t worry if you don’t have a green thumb and want to get rid of mosquitoes around the yard as well as looking for plants that deter gnats and other bugs. Many mosquito deterrent plants are simple to grow, whether you plant them in a garden bed or patio pots.
While some, such as lavender and lemon balm, require a little attention to flourish, others, like marigolds, almost take care of themselves.
Citronella Plant (Cymbopogon nardus)
Citronella is the most popular choice for repelling mosquitoes, whether you use a citronella candle or oil, and it’s also available as an outdoor plant. It has a grassy appearance and strong fragrance that deters these pests from the space.
The citronella plant is a fast-growing grass that is annual in most regions. It grows 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide and prefers partial shade to full sun. For the best results, consider planting it near your outdoor seating area and crushing the leaves to release the lemony bug-repelling scent.
Lavender (Lavandula) – Aromatic Plants that Deter Mosquitoes
While we often associate lavender with a relaxing and calming scent, this herb also naturally repels mosquitoes and cabbage moths and is one of the fly repelling plants. It is beneficial as an insect repellent, and it produces purple blooms throughout the summer. However, this plant is toxic to dogs and cats, so caution is necessary if you have pets.
Lavender is a perennial in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9, and it’s tolerant of many growing conditions. It prefers well-draining soil and full sun and reaches a mature size of up to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
There are more reasons than one to plant catnip around your yard, especially if you have a cat. The leaves of the catnip plant contain a chemical that attracts felines while repelling mosquitoes and it also looks appealing in the garden with its white or purple flowers from spring through fall.
Catnip plants are perennial and return year after year for seasonal beauty and are suitable for hardiness zones 3 through 7. They love growing in sunny areas and thrive in loamy, sandy, well-drained soil. They are drought-tolerant and grow 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) – Herbs that Naturally Repel Mosquitoes
Lemon balm plants are related to the mint family, and they have a citrusy smell that mosquitoes hate. If you enjoy growing plants with more than one purpose, the leaves are also useful for making a relaxing herbal tea. Brushing up against them in the garden releases a pleasing scent.
These part shade perennial mosquito repellent plants are herbs that are deer-resistant and drought-tolerant, and grow 1 to 3 feet tall and wide. It produces white summer flowers and is hardy in zones 3 through 7. Plant it in part sun and keep the soil moist but not soggy, and watch the mosquitoes vacate the area.
Basil Plant (Ocimum basilicum)
We usually consider basil an herb we toss into marinara sauce. However, these insect repellent plants are also beneficial for repelling mosquitoes. While we enjoy the fragrance of the leaves, mosquitoes cannot stand it and steer clear of the area where it’s growing.
There are many types of this warm-weather herb, and they are annual unless you live in hardiness zones 10 and 11. This mosquito repelling plant grows 18 to 24 inches tall and wide and prefers slightly rich soil.
Marigold (Tagetes) – Keeping Mosquitoes at Bay with Flowers
Marigolds are cheerful-looking flowers that bloom in vibrant orange, red, and yellow all summer long. They also keep mosquitoes from hanging out in your yard. They are one of the easiest plants to grow and look stunning in a landscape or container garden.
These flowers are annual and require planting each year. However, replanting them every spring allows you to grow different types. They prefer evenly moist, well-drained soil and sunny locations.
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
This mint family member has a strong fragrance that repels mosquitoes and other insects. However, it is also toxic to humans and animals, and caution is necessary when growing it around children and pets.
Pennyroyal produces blue or purple flowers in the summer, and it’s a perennial in zones 6 through 9. It enjoys growing in full or partial sun and moist, well-drained soil and grows up 12 inches tall with a 4-foot spread.
Scented Geraniums (Pelargonium)
Most geraniums are grown for their bright and colorful blooms. However, we value the scented geranium for the pleasing fragrance of the leaves. There are many types of this annual, and the orange, peppermint, and citronella geranium (Pelargonium citrosum) are most effective as a natural mosquito repellent.
These flowers are easy to grow, keep mosquitoes away from patio or deck areas, and require no fertilization to flourish. Scented geraniums grow 1 to 3 feet tall with a 1 to 2-foot spread and love full sun or part shade. The flowers range from pink and white to red, and they look stunning as a border around the yard.
Peppermint (Mentha × Piperita) – Using Minty Herbs to Repel Mosquitoes
We often think of peppermint leaves for tea and cocktails. However, these herbs play a role in keeping mosquitoes away from the yard. They emit a fragrance that these pests hate and are a great addition to the herb garden.
Peppermint plants are perennial, and they thrive in hardiness zones 5 through 9. They are adaptable to most dirt types and prefer growing in full sun. A fully mature peppermint plant reaches up to 2 feet tall and wide, and it goes to flower from July through August.
Use peppermint oil to make a DIY yard spray for mosquitoes, too. The combination of plant and deterrent should keep you bug-free.
Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)
Rosemary is a three-in-one plant. It keeps your spice cabinet full of aromatic herbs, brightens the garden with purple flowers, and acts as a mosquito repellant with its potent scent. It grows as a perennial evergreen shrub with a rounded shape and is the perfect backdrop to the garden.
This herb is suited for growing in sandy, loamy, well-drained soil that is neutral or acidic. It needs full sun and grows 2 to 6 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide. Rosemary plants produce clusters of dainty white and light blue flowers from late spring through early summer.
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) – Mosquito Repellent Plant with Curb Appeal
Lemongrass is a unique plant that has many purposes. It is an ornamental grass with a handsome appearance, tasty in tea and soup, and an excellent mosquito repellent. Unfortunately, it is toxic to dogs and cats, and pet owners need to be cautious.
In the fall, lemongrass turns from green to burgundy and red, and it has a mature size of 2 to 4 feet. Grow it in rich and loamy, neutral soil in a sunny area, and this annual mosquito plant adds beauty to the landscape while keeping pests at bay.
Floss Flower (Ageratum)
The floss flower looks beautiful in a flowerbed with its masses of purple-blue flowers that bloom from late spring until the fall frost. The unique color and long bloom time is not its only perk since it’s also useful as an insect repellent plant.
This annual only grows 6 to 30 inches tall and 6 to 18 inches wide and is ideal for edging. It thrives in full sun and part shade and prefers moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5.
Bee Balm (Monarda) – Mosquito Repellent Plant that Attracts Pollinators
There is nothing we love more than a plant that does it all. Bee balm not only repels mosquitoes with its herbal-minty fragrance, but it also draws butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators to the space.
This perennial flourishes in zones 4 through 9 and grows well in full sun with some afternoon shade. It prefers rich, moist soil and has a mature size of 2 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide.
Lemon Thyme (Thymus citriodorus)
Lemon thyme is a delightful plant to add to the garden. It repels female and male mosquitoes and has attractive creeping foliage in delicate shades of green. It looks at home growing in a rock garden or along a border.
This plant is an annual herb that grows as a perennial in zones 7 through 9. A low-growing plant, it only reaches 6 to 12 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide, and it prefers full sun and dry to medium, well-drained soil.
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora) – Mosquito Deterrent Plant with a Citrusy aroma
For a fast-growing plant to drive mosquitoes away from your patio, lemon verbena is an excellent choice. This warm-weather plant grows quickly with pear-shaped leaves that fill the garden in no time at all.
Lemon verbena is mildly toxic to dogs, cats, and horses, so keep this in mind when planting. This tender perennial enjoys full sun and reaches up to 6 feet tall in hardiness zones 8 through 11.
Lantana (Lantana camara)
The vine-like, sprawling appearance and bright flowers of lantana make it a great garden addition, and the citrusy smell it emits repels male and female mosquitoes. It blooms throughout the summer in various shades, and it attracts butterflies.
Lantana is a fast-grower that is toxic to animals. The odor makes it what plants keep cats away, too. An annual that grows as a perennial in zones 7 through 11, it has a mature size of 6 feet in hardy locations. This mosquito repellent plant prefers full sun and well-drained soil.
There is nothing that ruins your time outside more than constantly swatting at mosquitoes. And, while we do have to share the outdoors with these pests, there are ways to keep them in check by planting mosquito-deterrent plants around the yard. These plants keep the annoying bugs at bay while adding beauty to the space.
Now that you’ve learned ways to create an outdoor area with plants that deter mosquitoes, why not share our mosquito-repellent plant guide with the outdoor enthusiasts in your life on Facebook and Pinterest?