Plants that repel mosquitoes

Plants that repel mosquitoes

Table of Contents

There is not much to dislike about the sweet-smelling heat of summer. Long al fresco dinners in the garden and nights spent with windows opened wide to deliver some of the warmth into your home are what dreams are made of. Until, that is, the mosquitoes and other unpleasant insects show up.

Many of us are reluctant to saturate ourselves and our gardens in potent chemical mosquito and bug repellents. However, there could be another, natural option.

Some green fingered experts swear by certain herbs and plants that repel mosquitoes with their fragrance. Plants that get rid of unwanted mosquitoes and infuse your garden with sumptuous perfumes? Sign us up!

To find out the validity of these claims we went digging to find the best plants to ward off mosquitoes.

In this article we will be asking, are there plants to fight mosquitoes? And how effective are they? While there are many anti-mosquito plants out there, we will look at how successful these different plants might be.

What plants naturally repel mosquitoes?

Citronella Grass

This plant is well-known as one of the best outdoor plants for mosquito repellents. Its distinctive citrus smell is a natural deterrent that helps to keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay. In fact, this plant acts as an all-round bug and pest repellent.

Scented Geraniums

Bright, fragrant and apparently mosquito repellent plants to boot, scented geraniums seem to offer a cheerful solution to the problem of nibbly nasties. Similar to citronella, scented geranium plants emit that lemony scent that keeps several kinds of pests away.

Preferring sunshine and dry weather, these plants are best grown in warm climates. However, they can survive in colder areas if grown in planters and pruned constantly.


Also known as catmint, catnip are supposed to be incredible insect repellent plants and particularly good at deterring mosquitoes. In fact, in a study from Iowa State University, catmint was found to be ten times more effective than DEET – the strong-smelling chemical many of us have encountered in our insect and mosquito repellent sprays.

This plant grows abundantly in almost any environment and so is easily added to your garden. However, if planting, be careful – catnip is known to take over like a common weed and needs to be watched over!


Marigolds are yet another plant that repel flies and mosquitoes with their fragrance. These easily grown annual flowers specifically deter gnats and midges as well as mosquitoes and flies. They make a wonderfully cheerful addition to your patio, in pots and planters, or in your veggie patch where they also deter Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, aphids, thrips, whiteflies, and tomato hornworms.

What are some herbs that repel mosquitoes?


The heady and sumptuous aroma of basil plants have more benefits than just being a fragrant addition to our herb patch and plate. Their potent smell also acts as a pest repellent, keeping flies and mosquitoes at bay. Mosquitoes cannot stand its sweet smell so to keep your home and person mosquito free, try adding some basil plants to your window boxes or herb pots around entryways.


We know of sage’s energy cleansing properties that have become so popular in recent years but its ability to chase away unwanted energies also extends to bugs and insects. When burned, sage’s earthy smell repels bugs and insects. This versatile plant can even be dried and used in a homemade bug spray!


Mint is a fantastic herb to keep around the house as it offers another natural, nontoxic mosquito repellent solution. Allegedly its pungent aroma is so effective that it keeps flies and ants, as well as mosquitoes away. Remember, the stronger the fragrance, the more effective the deterrent.

Similar to sage, this herb can be dried and used in the home as a natural mosquito and pest repellent.


Rosemary, too – another beautiful addition to any garden – can be harnessed to keep mosquitoes, cabbage moths, and even carrot flies away. This plant, which thrives best in hot and dry climates, can also be used in cooking or as decorative garden borders. It’s a triple threat!

Lemon Balm and Lemon Thyme

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the fresh citrus scent of both of these herbs is said to chase away pesky mosquitoes. In order to be effective, many suggest plucking the leaves and rubbing them against the skin to release the trapped essential oils containing that pungent citrus smell.

Both of these plants do best in containers, and can be kept around the entryways to your home as a precautionary deterrent against insects.

To make these shrubs and herbs a decorative addition to your garden, you can put them in hanging baskets so they become beautiful hanging plants that repel bugs.

Find the perfect plants or herb pot at

Are there trees that repel mosquitoes?

The iconic and fragrant eucalyptus tree is said to deter ticks, fleas and yes, mosquitoes with its sweet and fresh aroma. This is due to its eucalyptol oil, which is bubbled within each leaf and acts as an organic pest repellant. If you’re lucky enough to live near these trees, you can try leaving a few leaves around insect-prone areas to see if they work as a sufficient deterrent.

Yes, but what plants kill mosquitoes?

For those for whom repelling mosquitoes is not enough, and nothing but total and indubitable death will do, we have bad news. No single plant can kill mosquitoes. Repelling them is, at best, your only option. Which leads us onto our most important point:

What is the best way to repel mosquitoes?

The unfortunate truth is that none of these plants, despite their wondrous properties, can promise you a mosquito-free summer’s evening in the garden. The ability of these anti-mosquito plants to actually deter insects successfully is dubious.

Many experts advise that these plants only become effective when they are crushed or burned. Only doing so can access the citrusy goodness within that is what can repel mosquitoes. So, while it is worth trialing these plants – mainly because, if nothing else, they add such beautiful vigor and fragrance to your home and garden – do not expect a miracle solution.

Rather, except the many gifts of nature…that make the punishment of mosquitoes worthwhile.

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