There are very few things more irritating than pesky mosquitoes invading your garden. If you’re sick of those little bloodsuckers ruining your well-earned garden time, you don’t need any sprays or nets: just simply have the right plants. Read on to find out about some perennial plants that repel mosquitoes from your garden.
How To Use Plants As Mosquito Repellents
If you want to keep the mosquitoes at bay, make sure you don’t create an inviting environment for them. Moisture will easily attract mosquitoes, so avoid water puddles in your garden.
Position your mosquito repellent plants in places where the mosquitoes are likely to congregate. While these plants have properties that repel mosquitoes, the full benefit will only be achieved when you release the smells of the plants. You can do that by burning the plants or by squishing them between your fingers to break up the leaves.
You can also use them to make your own natural bug spray, instead of using store-bought bug sprays. Because you are using natural ingredients, it’s much safer for you, for the environment, and also for other wildlife. You can feel good about keeping the annoying mosquitoes away but not causing any true harm to any living thing. You don’t have to worry about putting harsh chemicals on your body or burning or spraying chemicals in or around your home.
If you’re looking for natural insect repellents, you are in luck. There are some wonderful plants that work great for this purpose. Here’s a roundup of my favorite choices of perennial plants that repel mosquitoes and other insects.
1. Bee Balm (Monarda)
While be balm is known for attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, it also repels mosquitoes. It’s also really pretty and comes in many colors, so why not add a few to your flower garden?
2. Cinnamon basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Cinnamon’)
This perennial plant contains cinnamate which is the thing that gives it its flavor. The plant has a range of practical uses outside of mosquito repelling, such as enhancing the flavor of other nearby fruits. It stops a lot of other bugs from invading your garden too, and it’s extra tasty in a nice cool beverage as you soak in the sun’s rays! Buy cinnamon basil from Amazon.
3. Marigolds (Tagetes)
You most commonly see these kinds of plants in their annual form, but they can self-sow depending on your climate and will constantly come back without you having to make any extra effort.
These beautiful flowers are a popular choice among gardening enthusiasts owing to their bright yellow and orange colors. Their strong scent is what makes them appealing to gardeners wanting to remove pests though. They repel rabbits, deer, and a wide variety of insects. When planting them near fruits and vegetables they act as a natural insecticide barrier.
4. Lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus)
Another option with a lemony scent is lemon thyme. This is a great variety of thyme that is less intense than some of the other varieties. It’s similar to lemon balm, but lemon balm is in the mint family. If you’re looking for a non-mint alternative, lemon thyme might work for your needs.
5. Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
Pennyroyal plants are a slightly more obscure option. They have purple flowers and both, European and American versions. The European one is slightly more effective at getting rid of pests. You can put them in indirect sunlight and they’ll grow quite well. As the plant grows long and trailing, they’re perfect for a hanging basket.
6. Peppermint (Mentha × piperita)
This plant can grow very quickly and take over the garden in an instant, so you need to make sure that it’s properly contained! It’s more than worth the effort though, as it repels not only mosquitoes but spiders and mice. Pick and dry some to make delicious teas that help digestion. This versatile plant is bound to keep the mosquitoes at bay with a bunch of practical uses to boot.
7. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
These daisy-looking flowers make a great addition to any garden. They don’t take much room in the garden, so pop a few of them between your existing plants.
They have a favored scent for most people but will repel most insects. Insects hate the smell of feverfew and the pyrethrum oils it contains. Feverfew is also used to relieve symptoms of migraines and makes good tea. Before doing this, however, consult with a doctor.
8. Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Not only is sage great for cooking, but it will also keep mosquitoes away. Just add a few leaves to your outdoor fire, and you can enjoy a nice mosquito-free evening. Sage has an easily recognizable heady scent that smells nice to most gardeners but that will keep those pesky insects away.
9. Lavender (Lavandula)
Lavender is ideal for those who live in dry, sunny climates and is a perfect addition to your garden. It smells beautiful and it’s commonly used for aromatherapy.
Use it indoors in pretty sachets to repel any indoor insects. It takes a while for them to fully get established, but the lavender plant will make flowers within the first year. It may be worth planting your lavender in pots but you could also plant them directly into the ground. We have a great guide on how to grow lavender here.
10. Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)
Rosemary can grow pretty big (up to 3-4 feet tall and 5 feet wide!) but don’t be fooled – it makes a fantastic plant for your large planter. The popularity of rosemary comes from its scent and what it can add to cooking.
This popular scent is good at keeping mosquitoes away and is very practical too. Just remember to bring it indoors in the winter if you live in a climate below Zone 6 and you get particularly harsh winters.
Potted Plants That repel Mosquitoes
Many of the herbs and plants mentioned above can easily be grown in pots and set around your back porch or home entrance to keep bugs away. Here are a few more potted plants to consider for your mosquito-repelling garden.
11. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
A prolific plant, lemongrass is perfect for a container that you place by your entrance. It smells like lemons and it’s good for tea as well.
12. Gum tree (Eucalyptus)
The strong smell of eucalyptus is welcome during the holidays, but it also helps keep mosquitoes away. Crush a few leaves and place them in a blow or plate next to you for protection. Eucalyptus can grow outside, but if you prefer a potted version, get the silver drop eucalyptus (Eucalyptus gunnii) you see above.
13. Scented geraniums (Pelargonium)
The scented geranium is perfect for containers, with its cute little, fragrant flowers, but it won’t survive harsh winters So, make sure to move your plants indoors in the winter.
Indoor Plants That Repel Mosquitoes
Okay, so we’ve covered some great perennial plants for the outdoors that repel mosquitoes. What about when the pests get indoors? There are indoor plants that work for repelling mosquitoes too!
14. Lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis)
The citrus scent of this plant is super pleasant to have in the house, but it’s not quite so pleasant for mosquitoes! It’s a very easy plant to grow and you can simply put it in a sunny window. It has a lovely fragrance that you and your household can appreciate but that mosquitoes will not.
Make sure you remove any flower buds that appear on the plant as the leaves will lose their scent and won’t be as effective at getting rid of mosquitoes. It can also get quite big so it’s a good idea to harvest the leaves to use for things like lemon tea.
15. Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
The catnip plant is another member of the mint family that grows very quickly and is great at sending the mosquitoes packing. Make sure you put the plant in front of a window with lots of sun. Water it regularly and pinch the flowers out so you can get more leaves.
After a couple of seasons, you will probably need to re-pot them. Obviously, make sure the plant is safe away from any cats if you have any.
16. Citronella plants (Cymbopogon nardus)
As far as mosquito repellents are concerned, citronella plants (also called mosquito plants) are the most commonly known. This is mainly because it’s a component in a lot of commercial mosquito repellents like candles or torches that people use outside, on their porches, or at picnics. The plant has a nice lemon smell and is very effective at getting rid of mosquitoes.
17. Mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Mums are very versatile: they grow well outdoors but are also perfect in pots decorating your porch, or indoors in your plant corner. Keep them inside through the summer while they are all leaves, and put them out on your front steps in the fall for the perfect seasonal decoration.
Plants that Repel Mosquitoes – Conclusion
As you can see, there are many great plants that are easy to grow that help you repel mosquitoes. While these insects serve a function in the ecosystem, they can be dangerous to humans as they carry disease, and they are also very annoying. These are all good plants to help you repel them without causing any harm. These all make a good natural insect repellent and they are easy to grow.
And all of these plants on the list have other great uses as well, so it’s a win-win all around when you choose them. Do you have a favorite plant from this list? What do you think works best at keeping the mosquitoes away?