15 Plants That Keep Mosquitoes Away: Natural Mosquito Repellents for Your Home and Garden

As the sun sets and a gentle breeze fills the air, our peaceful summer nights often become infiltrated by a notorious enemy: the mosquito. These tiny, blood-thirsty insects not only leave us with itchy welts but also pose a significant health risk.

In this article, we delve into the world of mosquito repellents, exploring the best methods available to keep these pests at bay. From mosquito repellent plants to chemical-based alternatives, we’ll examine a range of options to help you reclaim your outdoor spaces and enjoy mosquito-free moments with confidence.

Garden Pests

Table of Contents

Understanding Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are small, flying insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They are known for their annoying bites, which can cause itching and discomfort. However, mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance; they can also transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and West Nile virus.

Mosquitoes are attracted to humans by the carbon dioxide we exhale, as well as our body heat and the chemicals we emit through our skin. Female mosquitoes need blood to produce eggs, so they are the ones that feed on humans and animals. Male mosquitoes, on the other hand, feed only on nectar and other plant juices.

Malaria is one of the most dangerous diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. It is caused by a parasite that is carried by certain species of mosquitoes. Malaria can be fatal if not treated promptly. Dengue fever is another disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. It is characterized by fever, headache, and muscle and joint pain. In severe cases, it can lead to internal bleeding and shock.

West Nile virus is a disease that is transmitted to humans and animals by infected mosquitoes. It can cause flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and body aches. In severe cases, it can lead to meningitis or encephalitis, which can be fatal.

Why Plants Repel Mosquitoes

Plants have been used for centuries to repel insects, and mosquitoes are no exception. Certain plants contain natural compounds that mosquitoes find unappealing. These plants emit odors that are pleasant to humans but repel mosquitoes.

Top 15 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can be a real nuisance, and they can also carry diseases. Fortunately, there are several plants that can help keep mosquitoes at bay. Here are the top 15 plants that repel mosquitoes:

Marigold (Tagetes):

Marigolds produce a distinct aroma that repels mosquitoes. Their bright colors also attract other beneficial insects that prey on mosquitoes.– This plant has a strong scent that mosquitoes find unappealing.

mosquito repellent plants

Lavender (Lavandula):

Lavender is a beautiful flowering plant with a calming scent. Mosquitoes dislike its fragrance, which makes it an excellent repellent. As an alternative look for lavender candles

mosquito repellent plants

Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus):

Citronella grass is a perennial that emits a strong aroma that masks other scents, making it difficult for mosquitoes to locate their targets.

citronella grass

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil is a herb with a pungent scent that mosquitoes find unpleasant. Planting basil around your outdoor living spaces can help keep mosquitoes away.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Catnip contains a compound called nepetalactone, which is highly effective at repelling mosquitoes. It can be up to ten times more effective than DEET, a common synthetic mosquito repellent.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

The strong fragrance of peppermint masks human scent and acts as a natural mosquito repellent. Crushed peppermint leaves can be rubbed onto the skin for added protection.

mosquito repellent plants

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary has a fragrant aroma that mosquitoes dislike. It also repels other insects, making it a useful plant for natural pest control.

natural mosquito repelling scent

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm emits a lemony fragrance that mosquitoes find unappealing. It is also a great addition to a herb garden for its culinary uses.

lemon balm

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus):

Lemon balm emits a lemony fragrance that mosquitoes find unappealing. It is also a great addition to a herb garden for its culinary uses.

natural mosquito repellent

Geranium (Pelargonium):

Geraniums produce a strong scent that mosquitoes dislike. The variety known as Pelargonium citrosum, or “mosquito plant,” is especially effective.

natural mosquito repellent

Lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus):

Lemon thyme has a lemon-like fragrance that mosquitoes find repellent. It can be planted in gardens or grown in pots near outdoor seating areas.

natural mosquito repellent

Lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora):

Lemon verbena releases a strong lemony scent that repels mosquitoes. It can be used in teas or as an ornamental plant in gardens.

mosquito repellent plants

Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium):

Pennyroyal contains a compound called pulegone, which is known for its mosquito-repellent properties. It should be used with caution, as it can be toxic to pets and humans in large quantities.

plants that repel mosquitoes

Garlic (Allium sativum):

The pungent smell of garlic repels mosquitoes. Consuming garlic or planting it in your garden can help deter these pests.

bee balm

Sage (Salvia officinalis):

Sage has a strong, aromatic scent that mosquitoes dislike. It can be burned as a natural mosquito repellent or used as a herb in cooking.

natural mosquito repellent

Planting and Care for Mosquito-Repelling Plants

Mosquito-repelling plants are a natural and effective way to keep mosquitoes at bay. When planting these plants, it is important to choose a location that receives plenty of sunlight and has well-draining soil. This will ensure that the plants receive the necessary nutrients and moisture to grow and thrive.

In a garden setting, it is recommended to plant mosquito-repelling plants in groups or clusters. This will create a more concentrated barrier against mosquitoes and increase the effectiveness of the plants. Additionally, planting these plants near areas of standing water, such as ponds or bird baths, can help prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs in these areas.

When caring for mosquito-repelling plants, it is important to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other plant diseases. It is also recommended to fertilize these plants regularly to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients to grow and thrive.

In a herb garden, mosquito-repelling plants can be planted alongside other herbs and vegetables. This can help repel mosquitoes while also providing fresh herbs for cooking and other uses.

Companion Planting for Mosquito Control

Companion planting is an effective and natural way to repel mosquitoes. By planting certain plants together, you can create a barrier that mosquitoes will avoid. Additionally, companion planting can also attract beneficial insects like butterflies that will help keep mosquito populations down.

Additional Methods to Keep Mosquitoes Away

In addition to using mosquito-repellent plants, there are other ways to keep mosquitoes away. Here are some additional methods to consider:

1. Use Mosquito Repellent

  1. DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide): DEET is the most common and widely used mosquito repellent. It provides long-lasting protection against mosquitoes and other biting insects. DEET works by interfering with the mosquito’s ability to detect humans through their sense of smell.

  2. Picaridin: Picaridin is another effective chemical repellent that provides protection against mosquitoes. It is odorless, non-greasy, and does not damage clothing or gear. Picaridin works by blocking the mosquito’s receptors, preventing them from locating and biting humans.

  3. IR3535 (Ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate): IR3535 is a synthetic repellent that has been used for many years. It provides effective protection against mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects. It works by overwhelming the mosquito’s olfactory system, making it difficult for them to locate humans.

  4. Permethrin: Permethrin is a mosquito repellent that is applied to clothing, shoes, and gear rather than directly on the skin. Permethrin works by interfering with the mosquito’s nervous system, leading to paralysis and death.

  5. Essential Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE): OLE is a plant-based repellent derived from the lemon eucalyptus tree. It contains a compound called PMD (p-menthane-3,8-diol) that has been proven to repel mosquitoes effectively. OLE is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an effective alternative to DEET.

It’s important to follow the instructions on the product label when using chemical repellents and take necessary precautions to avoid overexposure or adverse reactions. Additionally, it’s advisable to choose a repellent that is suitable for your specific needs and environment.

2. Use Mosquito Dunks

Mosquito dunks are small, donut-shaped tablets that contain a bacteria that kills mosquito larvae. They can be placed in standing water, such as ponds or birdbaths, to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

3. Use a Bug Zapper

Bug zappers use ultraviolet light to attract and kill mosquitoes and other flying insects. However, they are not always effective and can also kill beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.

4. Wear Protective Clothing

Wearing long sleeves and pants can help prevent mosquito bites. Additionally, wearing light-colored clothing can make it more difficult for mosquitoes to spot you.

5. Remove Standing Water

Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so removing any sources of standing water around your home can help reduce the mosquito population. This includes emptying bird baths, flower pots, and other containers that can collect water.

By using a combination of these methods, you can help keep mosquitoes away and enjoy your time outdoors without being bothered by these pesky insects.

Considerations for Using Plants as Repellents

When considering using plants as repellents, there are a few things to keep in mind. While plants can be a natural and effective way to keep mosquitoes away, they may not work for everyone in every situation. Here are some things to consider:

  • Effectiveness: While many plants have been shown to have mosquito-repelling properties, their effectiveness can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the species of mosquito, the concentration of the plant’s essential oils, and the amount of wind or air movement in the area.

  • Tick Protection: While plants may be effective at discouraging mosquitoes, they may not be as effective at repelling ticks. If you live in an area where ticks are a concern, it’s important to take additional measures to protect yourself, such as wearing long sleeves and pants, using tick repellent, and checking yourself for ticks after spending time outdoors.

  • Chemical Repellents: While plants can be a natural alternative to chemical repellents, some people may prefer the added protection of a chemical repellent. If you choose to use a chemical repellent, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and use it only as directed.

  • Outdoor Space: If you plan to use plants as repellents in an outdoor space, it’s important to consider the size of the area and the number of plants you’ll need. Some plants may be more effective than others, so it’s important to do your research and choose the right plants for your specific needs.

  • Crushing: When using plants as repellents, it’s important to be careful not to crush or damage the leaves, as this can release the essential oils and reduce their effectiveness. If you’re using plants in a spray or lotion, be sure to strain the mixture before use to remove any plant material.


Mosquitoes may be persistent adversaries, but armed with the knowledge of effective repellent methods, we can reclaim our outdoor spaces and enjoy mosquito-free moments. In this article, we explored a range of repellent options, both natural and chemical, weighing their benefits and considering safety considerations. From the aromatic wonders of citronella and lavender to the synthetic powerhouses of DEET and picaridin, we discovered various tools to combat these pesky insects.

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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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