13 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes


I love summer mostly because of the nostalgia attached to it when I was in school and summer meant more playtime, more sleepover, and lesser nagging from parents about school work. But along with backyard picnics, beaches, more time with kids, and barbeques, they also bring with them some annoying guests. And no I am not talking about your cousin that bullies you or the aunt with the annoying voice. This is about the pesky mosquitos that can disturb all the things you love about summer. In addition to being annoying, mosquitos are also the careers of diseases like malaria and dengue which makes them a big health risk.

Now, you can always use bug sprays to get rid of the mosquitos, they work and are a quick fix to your mosquito problem. But they often tend to release toxins in the air surrounding you, and since we realized this it is always in the back of our minds. So, why don’t we lean towards plants that are a more natural preventive measure to keep away the annoying pests. Normally your backyard becomes a breeding ground for mosquitos and the grass becomes their camouflage but there are some plants that have natural mosquito repellent properties.

Why Should You Grow These Plants?

There are various reasons to have houseplants other than using them as a mosquito repellent.

1. Houseplants are known to purify the air around your house by removing natural toxins.

2. They give your house a natural touch regardless of the theme or decor you are going for in your household.

3. They boost your mood and increase productivity and creativity.

4. They are well known for reducing stress and anxiety.

5. Many of these plants release oxygen at night that can help with insomnia or just provide a well-rested sleep.

13 Plants that Help Repel Mosquitos

1. Basil

Basil is a truly amazing plant and it needs to be present in every home. Basil leaves have amazing medicinal properties that can benefit you in many ways. You can add its leaves to tea to help with a sore throat or you can grind them into a paste and apply it on bruises as an antibacterial cream. But in addition to all this fragrance of a basil plant is known to repel mosquitos.

You can keep it your yard, porch, or window to keep the bloodsucking mosquitos away. You can also stop mosquitos from laying eggs in still water (for example a birdbath) by placing a basil plant near it. In addition to mosquitos, basil leaves can also repel flies.

Place the plant under bright sunlight, keep the soil moist but don’t overwater it, and fertilize monthly. Basil stops producing new leaves once it flowers, so, gets rid of the basil buds before that happens.

2. Rosemary

Rosemary is a versatile plant to have in your home. Rosemary oil has great benefits for hair and skin. Along with enhancing your garden with its beautiful purple flowers, it is also a popular herb that can be used in many delicious recipes you will be making in your kitchen. You can have this herb in your garden to repel mosquitos and throw some leaves in your fireplace to keep the mosquitos outside. Along with mosquitos it also repels vegetable bugs and flies and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

Rosemary flourishes in full sun and does not require a lot of water. Only water the plant when the soil is almost completely dry. Make sure you plant it in well-drained soil.

3. Ageratum

Ageratum, also known as a floss flower is a beautiful plant that yields purple flowers. Ageratum contains a chemical known as coumarin, this chemical is used in many mosquito repellents. Along with mosquitos floss flowers repels flies and rabbits too. The purple flowers are also considered great for butterfly nectar. So along with getting rid of pesky mosquitos, this plant will invite beautiful butterflies to visit your garden.

Ageratum or floss flowers can flourish in partial shade, but they can grow in full sun as well. Don’t let the soil dry out completely before watering them. Water under the flowers and leaves. And plant them in well-drained soil.

4. Wormwood

Wormwood, scientifically known as Artemisia absinthium is a perennial plant that has silver-like foliage. It has quite a pungent odor that our nuisance pesky mosquitos can’t suffer. Along with mosquitos, its odor helps you keep other insects like wasps, flies, and fleas at bay. It is one of the best plants you can get for the purpose of repelling insects. One thing to consider is to not rub it (the bark) on your skin (especially if you have kids around the house keep them away from the plants).

Keep the plant in an open area where it gets a sufficient amount of bright sunlight. Plant it in dry, non-fertile, well-drained soil. It is a drought-tolerant plant so it does not require a lot of water. And if you leave in a dry environment then this will need little to no maintenance.

5. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm, scientifically known as Melissa Officinalis is a perennial plant (i.e it lives for more than 2 years). This herb that is a member of the mint family has many names like English Balm, honey plant, balm mint, garden balm, and heart’s delight. And starting summer with its citrus fresh smell is just something you wouldn’t wanna miss out on. The herb is also known for its versatile medicinal properties, it is well known for reducing stress, helping with stomach aches, insomnia, and indigestion. Placing a sachet of lemon balm leaves is said to induce better sleep.

You can grow lemon balm by either sowing the seeds directly in the soil or by dipping cutting of an already established plant into a rooting hormone and then placing them in a planting mix. Sow the seeds of the plant indoors at least 8 weeks before placing the pot outdoors. Place the plant under full sun or partial shade. Plant it in well-drained soil and water regularly to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

6. Citronella

When we talk about natural mosquito repellents it is not possible to leave citronella behind. Many natural mosquito repellents including creams, candles, and incense sticks use citronella. So if you are into candle making you can make citronella scented candles at home using citronella essential oil. You can plant these in planters or in a garden that is not exposed to frost. Citronella’s pungent smell helps keep mosquitos and even flies at bay. It is a very low maintenance plant and essential oils derived from the plant have antibacterial and antifungal properties in them.

Citronella can thrive in partial to full sunlight and needs to be planted in a pot filled with well-drained soil. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Also, bring the plants indoors during winters.

7. Bee Balm

Bee balm is also commonly known as wild ber bergamot and horsemint. It is named bee balm because it will attract many pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies to your garden. Bee balm is known for its mosquito repellent properties. But other than that it is also used for making tea and jellies. Adding bee balm leaves in a steamer can help to clear your nasal passages. Also, bee balm tincture is said to have nervine properties and can be used to calm the nervous system.

This mint-scented herb prefers bright sunlight or at least 6-8 hours of sun. Plant it in well-drained soil and water under the leaves when the soil is dry at least on the surface.

8. Marigold

Marigold are annual plants and can be easily spotted in many vegetable gardens nowadays. These strongly scented plants can be of various colors, including but not limited to the sunny yellow and the classic orange. All varieties of the plant contain a substance known as pyrethrum that helps them repel mosquitos. Marigold is also known for repelling rabbits and deers. Marigold like some of the other plants on the list attract pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

A marigold plant requires full sun and is very easy to maintain. Make sure you plant them in well-drained soil and enjoy the beautiful flowers it yields.

9. Peppermint

Peppermint is yet another mint family member whose fragrance can repel those pesky mosquitos wandering in your backyard. In addition to mosquitos, it also repels spiders. And next time you have guests you will have mint leaves on hand to make a refreshing lemonade or maybe a batch of mojito. You can also add it to salads or tea to add a zing to them. And only does peppermint repel mosquitos can also give you some relief from itchy mosquito bites.

Place it outside or near a south-facing window to receive as much sunlight as possible. Also, peppermint can easily invade your garden so always plant this plant in a contain/pot filled with well-drained soil that is kept damp most of the time.

10. Lavender

I have been using lavender flowers and essential oil for years, drawing a relaxing bath, to mix up a homemade air-freshener, making dried potpourri (which by the way I packaged so well that it looked like those fancy ones you get in malls during holidays), and for a DIY candle making project. Lavender has been used in aromatherapy for a long time and along with the pretty purple flowers it is also known for reducing stress and purifying the air by removing toxins. And if those weren’t enough reasons to grow this versatile plant in your home it is also an amazing natural mosquito repellent. In addition to mosquitos, it also repels moths, fleas, flies, and spiders.

To plant a lavender plant choose an area with substantial sunlight and well-drained soil. Lavender would need very little water and some deadheading to promote new blooms.

11. Lemongrass

Lemongrass, also known as lemon verbena has a high level of citral, which is an oil used in many natural mosquito repellents. Lemongrass is a popular ingredient in Asian cooking, its tea is said to be really soothing and helps with insomnia. Regardless of its many benefits pregnant ladies and mothers of infants are advised to stay away from this plant. Along with mosquitos, lemongrass is also known for repelling flies.

Plant this shrub in a place where it can get substantial sunlight. To thrive lemongrass needs well-drained soil and water just enough so that the soil is not completely dry. We know that still water is mosquito’s favorite place to lay eggs, so you can place a lemongrass plant near still water (eg a birdbath) and the citrus smell from the plant will stop mosquitos from laying eggs there.

12. Catnip

Catnip has a chemical known as nepetalactone, a strong mosquito repellent chemical used in many repellents. As the name suggests, nepetalactone is also a feline attractant. To protect it from cats you can plant them in pots and hang them using a rope. Another much more solvable drawback is its invasive tendency. So make sure to plant the catnip in a pot/container. In addition to mosquitos, catnip also repels cockroaches and termites. 

Plant the catnip plant in a pot filled with well-drained soil and make sure it gets enough bright sunlight. Catnips are fairly easy to take care of and are known to be even more effective than the chemical repellent DEET.

13. Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal is a member of the mint family and is a natural mosquito repellent. In addition to mosquitos, pennyroyals also keep other pests like fleas and flies at bay. If you are deciding to have a picnic outside you can just crush some of its leaves and put it in your pocket. Keep in mind though that just like lemongrass pennyroyal is also found to be toxic for pregnant women and infants.  So keep it away from the reach of children.

To make sure your plant thrives grow it in damp soil and place it under bright direct/partial sunlight. Don’t overwater the plant, water just enough so that soil is moist but not soggy.