Gardening

Top 10 Mosquito Repellent Plants

August 5, 2016
citronella winterianus

All winter we look forward to having the chance to sit outside once again, lounging with a cool, refreshing drink in hand, surrounded by friends and family. But while each summer brings new opportunities, new memories and new experiences, one thing that stays the same are those pesky critters creeping up on us, biting us until we can’t take the itch any longer. Yep, you guessed it, we’re talking about mosquitoes.

While some bug spray may hold you over for a while during your time outdoors in the summer, we have something else that can be helpful in keeping these blood-sucking pests away – plants! Here are the top 10 that we recommend using if you’re striving for a mosquito-free yard:

Marigolds

Marigolds are known to give off a rather distinct smell that mosquitoes aren’t a fan of. You can either plant new seeds or grab a potted marigold from a nursery nearby – either way, just make sure you place your marigolds in the area where you and your guests are probably going to spend most of your time.

citronella winterianusCitronella

If you usually keep a citronella candle on your deck or patio, you know how helpful citronella can be in deterring pests. In fact, citronella is known to be one of the most commonly used ingredients in various insect repellents! Instead of a candle, this time try using an actual citronella plant to keep mosquitoes away – either plant it in the ground or place it in a pot.

Lavender

Lavender can be your biggest saving grace when it comes to keeping any type of pest out of your garden – other insects and rabbits are just a few things that tend to stay away from lavender plants in addition to mosquitoes. Although you might enjoy their smell, mosquitoes can’t stand it! For the best results in growing a lavender plant of your own, make sure it’s placed somewhere that receives full sun.

Petunias

Thanks to their licorice-like scent, petunias are the perfect choice if you’re looking to add some beauty to your garden and keep the pests away. With their beautiful assortment of colors (choose shades of pinks, reds and purples depending on your preference), these can quickly improve the aesthetics of your yard, so it’s basically a win-win as they start to keep the critters away too!

Beautiful yellow pink petunia flowers in garden over blurred nature background

Catmint

A part of the mint family, catmint (or catnip) can be found in both commercial plant form or as a weed. And although you may be deterred from choosing this plant due to its ability to become a bit invasive, if you’re willing to put in the work to maintain one, you’ll be pleasantly surprised as how little mosquitoes you see. Did you know that a study proved that catmint was 10 times more effective than DEET, which is usually used in insect repellants? It’s true, according to the results found by Iowa State University!

Lemon Balm

Like catmint, lemon balm plants are also a part of the mint family. You may have heard of it be referred to as horsemint or beebalm, but regardless of what you call it, it does a great job at keeping the mosquitoes away. This is a great option for new gardeners, as it is relatively easy to grow and does well even under shady conditions – just make sure you have enough space for it!

Peppermint

A third plant in the mint family that can be extremely useful is peppermint. A lot of bugs are turned off to both the taste and smell of peppermint, so it’s no surprise that mosquitoes feel the same. However, even if you do get bit, your peppermint plant may actually be able to help you heal – when you rub the leaves on your skin, you can start to feel some relief from that terrible itch!

peppermint-leaves

Scented Geraniums

One of the more popular scents for this purpose is lemon, as that is a close match to how citronella grass smells. These plants do best in sunny and dry climates, though you may be able to make things work even if you live in a region with a colder climate. A benefit here is that geraniums will grow pretty quickly, so you can start your planting now and take advantage of their repellent powers for the rest of the summer!

Basil

Talk about the best of both worlds! If you grow your own basil, not only will you help your yard stay mosquito-free, but you’ll also be providing yourself with a nice supply of ingredients that can be used in the kitchen! Some recommendations to start with would be lemon and/or cinnamon basil, but with so many varieties out there, it doesn’t hurt to try them all!

Rosemary

Rosemary is a natural mosquito repellent that we bet will work wonders in your yard. Keep an eye out for an increase in butterflies too if you use this particular plant, since although they work to repel mosquitoes, they’re also great at attracting other things. Rosemary plants do particularly well in hot, dry climates, and they typically do best in containers.

Bunch of green fresh rosemary herbs on rustic wooden table background

Even if your yard isn’t known for having a mosquito problem, you’ll definitely want to consider planting one (or more) of the plants above to keep it that way! Which plant do you think you’ll try first?