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There are various types of plants that repel mosquitoes naturally. Despite their size, mosquitoes are not just annoying, they also carry fatal diseases such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever, encephalitis, and more. Mosquitoes love hot seasons, particularly summer. So, if you are a person who would love to spend outside during summer, a mosquito bite is one problem you will face. 

Sometimes, we are pushed to go to great lengths just to fend them off and enjoy backyard peace. However, even this method is not always effective. Not a fan of chemical repellants? Consider growing plants with insect-repelling properties. In this blog, you will learn about different plants that can serve as natural mosquito control. You will also learn how to amp their natural power.

1. Lavender





Lavender is one of the best natural mosquito controllers. Growers find fondness in the plant’s purple flowers and fancy foliage. But as much as humans love lavenders, mosquitoes despise them. In fact, the sweet, soapy fragrance of lavender effectively scares off mosquitoes. Research shows that lavender aroma deters most species for up to six to eight hours. Hang fresh or dry flowers around the house, put them in with your clothing, or rub the plants on your skin to repel mosquitoes.

Along with mosquitoes, lavender also repels other bugs such as moths, flies, and fleas. But it doesn’t stop there. Lavender is known to attract helpful pollinators like bumblebees and honeybees to create a profusion of purple flowers. Plant your lavender 2 to 3 feet apart to have space to grow, and absorb sunlight freely. Depending on the soil’s dryness, you can water the plants once or twice per week. 


2. Catmint

Catmint or catnip is a type of mint plant that grows as a weed or propagated as a commercial plant. It is very easy to nurse, can be found almost anywhere, and may even have invaded some parts of your garden. This plant has a natural mosquito-repellant substance called nepetalactone. According to a study, nepetalactone is ten times more effective than DEET, the chemical used in most insect repellants. 

Catnip can be taken orally, with leaves edible for both humans and pets. Fresh catnip leaves can be rubbed between your hands and onto your skin. Unfortunately, topical application can have a lesser insect-repelling effect compared to sprays. Try spreading some clippings around the pool deck and courtyard to grow plants that repel mosquitoes. The Walker’s Low cultivar is perfect for warm seasons since it mostly blooms from late spring to mid-summer and can tolerate dry soils.


3. Lemongrass





The Cymbopogon citratus, often called lemongrass, is not only a staple ingredient in culinary cuisine. The citronella oil within the lemongrass leaves gives off a distinct lemon-like fragrance, proven to have a potent mosquito-repelling ability. No wonder why it is a common ingredient not only in pest repellants but in perfumes, air purifiers, and patio candles as well. Even so, lab trials show that since oil evaporates quickly, topical citronella products can only last for about two hours at best.

For this reason, planting lemongrass around your yard is a nice assurance of bite-free peace. Lemongrass is a perennial plant that loves to be watered frequently and prefers direct sunlight in frost-free areas. Though low-maintenance, it can only thrive in places with winter below zone 9 in a container culture with well-drained soil. 

If you want to plant directly into the ground, better do it in spring when the thick snow has passed. Coarsely chop the strappy leaves and strew them roughly 24 inches apart. It’s important because lemongrass can reach up to six feet tall and six feet wide in full maturity. Or, keep your lemongrass in pots so you could easily move them inside when the temperature drops. 


4. Marigold




When talking about plants that repel mosquitoes, marigolds may not be the first that comes to our minds. Still, in reality, marigolds unique, pungent odor that releases pyrethrum. Pyrethrum is a substance found in most organic pesticides. It is effective in holding off common pests such as nematodes, aphids, thrips, and whiteflies. The scent also keeps bugs at bay, including Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, and tomato hornworms. More importantly, marigold’s insecticidal properties repel all sorts of mosquitoes.

Marigolds are relatively low-maintenance and produce beautiful, colorful flowers. They grow from seed and make a handsome addition to the flower garden. And since they don’t take up much space, you can grow marigolds in pots and place them near the doorway or hang them on your patio. Moreso, marigolds can be an addition to vegetable gardens, where they can potentially repel other insects besides mosquitoes.


5. Basil





If you’re looking for an insect-repelling plant that can be a delicious addition to your pestos and salads, then basil is your best bet. Basil is another culinary herb in this list with natural mosquito control properties. Its scent is strong enough to be smelled, even if the leaves are not crushed. This odor is repugnant to most insects, like flies and mosquitoes. As a matter of fact, basil leaves aroma has compounds that can eradicate mosquito eggs before they hatch. 

Of course, not all basil types are created equal when it comes to repelling mosquitoes. Feel free to explore and find the right types of basil to mix into your garden. As such, all basil plants need full sunlight and warm growing temperatures, along with good drainage. Basils can be planted in containers or in garden beds, alone or with vegetables and other flowers, as long as plants meet the same requirements. They are the easiest herbs to grow in the summer, so remember basil in your next gardening. 


6. Rosemary





Our next plant is one familiar herb—rosemary. Rosemary is also among the delectable and versatile herbs containing oils effective as insect repellants. For ages, people have used rosemary as natural mosquito control. Its woody and piny scent are what keeps mosquitoes and other bugs like cabbage moths and carrot flies away. Rosemary smoke in a grill is more effective at driving mosquitoes away. 

The plant is easy to grow and is popular with landscapers, home growers, and gardeners. Rosemary does best in hot and dry climates and prefers to dry out between waterings. It can thrive in containers or even window boxes. Having a rosemary plant around keeps pests away while enjoying the herb’s scent when it comes time to season your dish.


7. Mint





Mint is yet another fragrant herb and a natural mosquito control plant. It is an excellent safety option for keeping mosquitoes, flies, mites, and even ants away. The more pungent the smell is, the fewer bugs you’ll have. Menthol is the active biocidal compound of mints for fighting various pests. All types of mint plants repel mosquitoes, and there are more varieties than you could imagine. Explore the subtle differences between each mint variety, such as spearmint, peppermint, and even chocolate mint. 

You can dry mint leaves and use them as natural pest control at home. It is ideal to grow mints in pots to prevent them from growing and spreading like weeds. Potted mints are also easier to harvest since they are easier to harvest if you want to drop a leaf or two in your afternoon tea.


8. Floss Flower





Floss flower or ageratum is an attractive annual plant great for bedding and containers. It contains a lethal chemical known as coumarin, which repels mosquitoes and is potentially toxic if ingested. Planting ageratum on pots and spreading them across your balcony will help discourage mosquitoes from visiting your deck. Floss flowers were once chiefly used as low bedding plants. But now, there are some cultivated varieties such as the Blue Horizon which can grow to over two feet tall. This gives you an additional option when planting them in your backyard. 


9. Bee Balm





The Bee Balm or monarda is a perennial plant famous for alluring pollinating insects like butterflies and bees. Surprisingly, bee balm also does well in repelling pesky mosquitoes. To get the best out of it, simply crush a few leaves to extract its fragrant oils. Together with its natural mosquito control ability, you’ll get to enjoy bee balm’s beautiful foliage with flowers tinted in white, red, pink, and purple. 


10. Allium





As a member of the perennial bulb family, Allium releases a strong odor that many insects despise, especially mosquitoes. Its scent mimics those of its kind—table onions, garlic, and chives—no wonder why it is sometimes called an ornamental onion. Aside from being one of the best plants that repel mosquitoes naturally, alliums enhance your garden beds with clusters of exotics, whimsical, globe-shaped bulbs on top of slender stems. Be careful, however, as ornamental onions are mildly toxic for pets.


11. Sage





Salvia officinalis or sage is a semi-shrubby perennial herb. Sage has a pleasant smell, yet is pungent for mosquitoes. Having a nearby sage plant is handy when you are rallying around a fire pit in your backyard. Take some of the plant’s leaves and toss them into the flames to ward off mosquitoes for hours. You can also use sage’s dried leaves to make a homemade bug spray. Trim plants every few years to prevent them from becoming sparse and woody.


12. American BeautyBerry





The American Beautyberry is a popular oriental remedy. It’s a small shrubby plant that has a natural mosquito control power. Beautyberry plants are members of the Lamiaceae family, just like most mints. Though the beautyberry’s tiny flowers aren’t much to look at alone, they would still stand out in clusters with vibrant magenta berry hues. Crushed the plant’s leaves to extract the callicarpenol, a chemical that, according to lab trials, can repel biting insects such as ticks, ants, and mosquitoes. The plant’s berries attract backyard birds and small mammals in winter.


13. Lantana Camara





Lantana Camara or lantana, in short, is an erect shrub, which grows widely in the tropics, and exhibits insecticidal properties. It is so easy to grow in warm sunny locales and attract common butterflies. Both flowers and leaves of lantana have a potent effect against mosquitoes and other several types of insects. A study suggests that lantana can be an alternative pest control due to its rich bioactive molecules. According to the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, “lantana flower mixed with coconut oil provided 94.5 percent protection from adult mosquito bites for two hours long. 


14. Lemon Eucalyptus





Lemon Eucalyptus (not to be confused with the common eucalyptus) is a lemon-scented gum tree native to Australia. Its leaves are rich in citronellal compounds, effective in repelling bugs. Distilled eucalyptus also makes a compound called para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD). It is the only plant-based repellent that the CDC recommends in places that have rampant mosquito-borne diseases. Lemon eucalyptus oils have also been tested against common mosquitoes in the US. The results found that lemon eucalyptus products provide protection similar to repellents with 15%-20% DEET. 

Due to the tree potentially reaching nearly 60 feet tall, it is ideal to grow the plant in pots. Eucalyptus plants prefer rich soil and warm climates, so it’s great to start planting in spring. Although lemon eucalyptus is considered an evergreen plant, it can’t survive in a hard freeze. 


15. Scented Geraniums





Scented geraniums are also a famous organic mosquito-repelling plant. This includes varieties of garden geranium, cultivated for their pungent, lime-like scent capable of keeping several types of pests away. Most botanical research facilities favored lemon-scented plants like scented geraniums to be effective mosquito-repellant alternatives. Perennial plants like geraniums prefer warmer, hot, and dry climates. But they can still thrive in cold areas, especially if potted and pruned constantly.


16. Pennyroyal





Pennyroyal is a weed-like plant closely related to spearmint. Its scent is extremely potent, similar to most mints. To mosquitoes, the smell is so pungent that they cannot take it. That’s why pennyroyal is sometimes referred to as the mosquito plant. Mosquito plants are not eye candy to be garden plants, and could even be toxic if too when applied too much. But with proper caring, it can be an effective natural mosquito control alternative. In fact, it is one of the best ground-covering plants that can repel mosquitoes naturally.


17. Fennel





Fennel is one versatile plant. It carries various uses and benefits, including treatment for digestive issues, headaches, and acne problems. No surprise that there is a load of fennel products in the market, whether in the form of oil, dried, or cosmetics. Fennel can grow about 50cm in height with feathery leave, white flowers, and fruit with a single seed. It has a sweet, strong aroma that can be a natural pesticide. The herb is used to decrease the population of slugs, aphids, and dengue-carrying mosquitos. 

The chopped leaves are edible and can be deliciously used in salads and soups. Fennel also attracts swallowtail butterfly caterpillars in the garden. Bronze fennel is charming and can produce a handsome colony by itself for the following season. However, due to its characteristics, many times, fennel is mistaken for star anise, a different plant with distinct properties. 


18. Garlic





Effective for fighting off bloodsuckers. Garlic is part of the Allium family and obviously works similarly to ornamental allium. Sulfur-rich garlic extract has been shown to be effective against mosquitoes for weeks. The only efficient way to use garlic against bug bites, however, is by rubbing the cloves onto the skin. This may end up repelling not only mosquitoes but other people as well. It is easy to plant garlic around your garden. Still, like most allium, garlic is toxic to animals. So, make sure to keep your pets away from gnawing the herbs, flowers, or bulbs of garlic plants.


19. Thyme





Thymus citriodorus, lemon thyme, or just thyme is another citrus-scented herb used as natural mosquito control. Flowers, leaves, and oil are also used to flavor foods and as alternative medicine. Thyme contains chemicals that might help fight common infections. The plants can grow approximately six to twelve inches tall depending on the variety. Most gardeners usually plant thyme between garden stones in ways to crush leaves and extract mosquito-repelling oils easily. Grilling or burning thyme is also effective in shooing away mosquitoes from an area.


20. Lemon Balm





Like thyme, lemon balm releases a distinct scent offensive to bugs and mosquitoes. Apply crushed leaves topically, especially on parts of the skin most exposed and prone to bug bites—namely arms, hands, and ankles. Grow the plants near your backdoor or in your garden, where you can quickly harvest leaves when you need them. Take note, though, lemon balm is in the mint family, so when planting, confine it to a pot to prevent it from spreading like wildfire!


21. Nasturtium





Tropaeolum, another name for Nasturtium, is a vine plant with edible flowers and colorful petals. It has attractive cascading circular leaves, perfect as a hanging plant. Nasturtium operates differently in repelling mosquitoes compared to other plants in this list. In fact, this plant attracts bugs away from you. The plant releases an exceptionally sweet nectar that bugs and even mosquitoes can’t resist. So, instead of going for you, bugs and mosquitoes would divert their attention to the plant’s nectar. This method is very helpful for protecting vegetable gardens where distractive bugs like aphids, beetles and flies prey.  

Nasturtiums can trail throughout open spaces in your backyard, so be sure to plant them at least 10 to 12 inches apart. They love areas where they can get long and direct sunlight. They can quickly bloom gorgeous flowers that are totally edible which can give your salad an aesthetic and flavorful upgrade.

Natural Mosquito Control Alternatives

 In addition to the plants that repel mosquitoes, having good mosquito control practices can prevent the bugs from getting out of hand. One way to do this is by preventing stagnant water from accumulating. Mosquitoes easily breed excessively. Even a spoonful of standing water is enough to hold hundreds of mosquito larvae. Other ways of controlling the mosquito population and avoiding getting bitten include:

  • Sweat attracts mosquitoes, so washing off any sweat and taking more showers more often, especially if it gets too hot, is important.
  • Cover your skin by wearing loose, light-colored pants and long-sleeved cotton shirts. In truly infested places, wear a head net.
  • Reduce the mosquito population in your yard by eliminating mosquito breeding sites. Also invite natural mosquito predators such as birds, bats, dragonflies, and damselflies.
  • When camping, use mosquito netting around the bedding. Spraying the netting with insect repellent will also double the protection.

Products like mosquito rings, citronella torches, incense, sprays, and some patio candles contain a naturally occurring bacterium that kills or wards off mosquitoes.


Natural Mosquito Control Bite Remedies

Throughout the years, mosquitoes remain to be the deadliest animal on earth. Even today, over a million individuals die per year due to mosquito-borne diseases. Not to mention the record of the recent West Nile and Zika viruses. They are even to blame for heartworm in dogs. So, treating an itchy bite is vital to decrease the chance of infection. The best ways to relieve mosquito bites are as follows:

  • Icing the bite area will constrict the veins near the skin’s surface and reduce swelling. 
  • Scratching the bite with make things worse. Rub topical creams on the itching skin instead. 
  • Speaking of creams, avoid caladryl and calamine lotions; better to apply low-potency hydrocortisone.
  • White vinegar, baking soda, and even oatmeal can also provide itching relief.
  • Consult your doctor if you experience an intense mosquito bite reaction.

The Oils of the Plants that Repel Mosquitoes


Extracting the essential oils within a plant’s leaves is the key to creating a potent insect repellant. These oils are responsible for the effectiveness of a plant’s insect-repelling power. Burning or crushing are the practical ways to release their oils’ scents.

Be wary of itch! Some skins are allergic to plant oils, and similarly, some oils can cause skin irritations. It is wise to try a small portion on the arm to see if there’s any reaction before applying thoroughly. Also, take note that even though plants on this list may indeed repel bugs, using them might not be as effective as some commercial insect repellents. The bottom line is, using plants that repel mosquitoes can provide enough protection for a decent amount of time. 


Related Question


Do Mosquito-Repelling Plants Actually Work?

Since blood-sucking insects like ticks and mosquitoes depend on their senses to locate warm blood, the strong smell of garden plants is enough to hide the scents of their victims. However, in most cases, using a more concentrated form of the plant’s scent is crucial.