14 Best Mosquito Repelling Plants

Want to keep mosquitoes away without using bug spray?

As the weather gets warmer, mosquitoes can make outdoor activities less enjoyable with their itchy bites. While there are chemical bug sprays available, some people worry about their side effects and impact on the environment.

The good news? There are natural alternatives! Certain plants can actually repel mosquitoes. These plants not only keep bugs at bay but also add beauty and fragrance to your garden. Whether you’re planning a barbecue or just want to relax on your porch, planting these mosquito-repelling plants can make your outdoor experience much more pleasant.

We’ve gathered a list of plants, both perennial and annual, that are known to repel mosquitoes. Plant them in your garden, raised beds, or pots to enjoy mosquito-free days and nights. Plus, dragonflies are also natural mosquito predators, so they can help keep the bug population down too.

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Lemongrass

Lemongrass contains citronella oil, a natural insect repellent found in many mosquito sprays and candles. Planting lemongrass in your yard not only adds a vibrant, grassy green look and a fresh citrus scent but also helps keep pesky insects away.

Plus, you can use it as a flavorful herb in cooking. Lemongrass prefers full sun, so make sure to plant it in a sunny spot.

Allium

Allium, also known as ornamental onion, belongs to the same family as onions, garlic, and chives. Its strong scent, disliked by many pests, helps repel mosquitoes.

Allium bulbs produce beautiful purple, yellow, or pink flowers in spring, just in time to deter mosquitoes. Plant them in a location with full sun or light shade and well-drained soil.

Fennel

Fennel not only has properties that may help repel mosquitoes but is also a versatile herb in the kitchen. After planting fennel, you can use it to enhance the flavor of various dishes like soups, pastas, salads, and pizza.

Fennel grows with a large, feathery appearance and its fronds are food for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. Plant fennel in a sunny spot to ensure healthy growth.

Citronella Grass

Citronella grass, also known as mosquito grass, is often used in commercial repellents like citronella candles. This perennial grass grows well in filtered sunlight.

However, if you live in a hot area, it might need some shade. Keep in mind that citronella grass can grow up to six feet tall and wide, so make sure you have enough space for it.

Lavender

Lavender has a pleasant scent for us but is disliked by mosquitoes, moths, flies, fleas, and other flying insects due to its linalool odor.

To grow lavender, plant it in well-drained soil and place it in a sunny spot. Whether you plant it in raised beds, in-ground gardens, or pots, make sure it gets 8-10 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Marigolds

Marigolds not only add a pop of golden color to your garden but also repel mosquitoes and other pests like aphids, squash bugs, and tomato worms.

They contain a natural compound found in many insect repellents. Plant marigolds after the risk of frost has passed in areas with full sun to partial shade and fertile, well-drained soil.

Floss Flower

Floss flowers have charming pompom-shaped blooms that we love, but mosquitoes don’t. These flowers release a compound called coumarin, found in many commercial mosquito repellents.

Plant these annual flowers in a sunny spot with rich, well-drained soil that stays consistently moist to take advantage of their mosquito-repelling properties.

Basil

Basil isn’t just for delicious meals like pesto and salads; it also helps keep mosquitoes and houseflies away. Basil produces an essential oil called eucalyptol, which naturally repels bugs. Plant basil in the spring or summer in fertile, well-drained soil.

Whether you choose raised beds, containers, or in-ground gardens, make sure basil gets plenty of sun. Bonus: Basil is toxic to mosquito larvae, so you can place it near standing water to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.

Lantana

Lantana plants have vibrant, clustered flowers that not only beautify your yard but also attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Plus, they give off a scent that repels mosquitoes.

Plant them in sunny spots with fertile, well-drained soil that stays moist. However, be cautious as lantana plants are toxic to children and pets.

Scented Geranium

Not all geraniums repel mosquitoes, but the lemon-scented rose geranium, also known as the mosquito plant, does the trick with its citronella-like fragrance. These geraniums are popular as potted plants and prefer bright, indirect light and moist, well-drained soil.

With flowers in shades of white, pink, red, and lavender, and leaves in various shades of green, they add beauty to any yard.

Rosemary

Rosemary isn’t just for cooking; its woodsy scent also repels bugs like mosquitoes, moths, and flies. It thrives in hot, dry weather and needs full sun daily. You can grow rosemary in containers and place them around your yard.

For a natural mosquito repellent during barbecues, toss a few rosemary stalks onto hot coals to release a fragrant smoke that also adds a piney flavor to your food.

Catnip

Catnip, also called catmint, features aromatic bright green leaves and small blossoms. It’s easy to care for, tolerating full sun or partial shade and moderate to regular watering. Nepeta cataria x Citriodora variety is excellent for repelling mosquitoes with its lemony scent.

You can also use its minty leaves as a culinary herb. Plant it in well-draining soil with light afternoon shade to avoid heat and humidity issues.

Garlic

The strong scent of garlic, particularly from the compound allicin, acts as a natural mosquito repellent. Plant garlic bulbs in the fall in sunny spots with regular watering for optimal growth.

Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal is a type of mint with a strong minty smell. While it has a history of use in traditional medicine, it’s considered poisonous by Poison Control. The essential oil from pennyroyal can be very toxic if consumed.

Even though it’s good for keeping insects away, it’s best to keep it away from cats to prevent them from nibbling on it due to its toxicity. Pennyroyal grows well in Zones 6-9 and needs regular watering.

Mosquito Repelling Plants

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