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12 Plants and Herbs That Will Naturally Repel Mosquitoes

Say goodbye to bug spray! 🌼

Headshot of Macie ReynoldsBy Macie Reynolds
marigold and lavender, plants that repel mosquitoes
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While there are so many exciting things to look forward to as the weather warms up, there are also a few not-so-great-things to endure during the summer months. Insert: pesky little mosquitoes. These tiny, bloodsucking insects can quickly turn a serene outdoor experience into an itchy and frustrating ordeal. So, you might want to know how to get rid of mosquitoes. Well, there are numerous chemical-based mosquito repellents out there, but their potential side effects and environmental impact have led many to seek more natural alternatives. Luckily, there are plants that repel mosquitoes. Yup! Nature, in its infinite wisdom, offers us an assortment of plants that possess the remarkable ability to repel mosquitoes (and other bugs) and provide us with an oasis free from their unwelcome presence.

If you want to enjoy backyard barbecues or relaxing evenings spent on your front porch without persistent and unwelcome guests, try planting the herbs and plants on this list. We've researched a dozen greenery and flower options (including both perennial flowers and annual flowers) that will help you bid farewell to the incessant buzzing and itchy bites—and are surely preferred over a bottle of bug spray. Bonus: Not only do these plants that repel mosquitoes help us say goodbye to bugs, but they also add a touch of beauty to our gardens with their bright blooms and lovely scents. It's a win-win! Whether you plant them in-ground in your small garden, raised beds or pots, you're sure to have plenty of mosquito-free days and nights. Another natural remedy? Dragonflies! Check out what to plant to attract dragonflies for another secret weapon provided to us by Mother Nature herself.


Citronella Grass

citronella lemon grass plant
Flavio Coelho//Getty Images

Citronella grass, sometimes called mosquito grass, may sound familiar to you! That's because extracts from the plant are a go-to ingredient for many commercial repellents (including citronella candles). The perennial grass will grow well in filtered sunlight, but if you live in an area with intense afternoon heat, make sure it gets some shade. You'll also want to make sure you have room for this plant as it can grow up to six feet tall and six feet wide.




purple lavender flowers
Elena Popova//Getty Images

While many of us love the smooth and clean scent of lavender, mosquitoes just don't feel the same. Actually, the linalool odor is detestable to mosquitos, moths, flies, fleas, and other flying insects, too. Wondering how to grow lavender? Well, this pretty plant thrives in well-drained soil and full sun. Whether you place it in raised beds, in-ground gardens or pots, just make sure it gets eight to ten hours of direct sunlight each day.




bright yellow marigold flowers
Ravinder Kumar//Getty Images

The gorgeous golden blooms of marigolds are much more than just a pretty addition to your garden. Their distinct scent repels mosquitoes and other garden pests, including aphids, squash bugs, and tomato worms. Actually, they contain a natural compound used in many insect repellents! After any risk of frost has passed, plant your marigolds in beds or pots that get full sun to partial shade and have fertile soil with adequate drainage.


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leaves on a mint plant
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Imagine this: You pluck off a leaf of mint to drop in your tea then have a nice and relaxing evening spent on the porch—without the incessant buzz of flying critters. Yup, the tasty garnish is good for many things! All types of mint plants (including spearmint and peppermint) have a repelling scent. If you don't plant it in a pot, you'll want to segregate it from your other herbs. Either way, mint does best in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.




© Cyrielle Beaubois//Getty Images

Another scent beloved by us and hated by pesky critters? Eucalyptus! The plant produces chemicals like linalool and geraniol that send mosquitoes flying in the other direction. You can even find eucalyptus oil in many commercial repellants. To grow it yourself, make sure you plant it with sufficient time for the plant to establish before the colder months. It needs fertile, well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.



Bee Balm

bee balm
Clive Nichols//Getty Images

These vibrant flowers will add fireworks of color to your raised beds or garden while inviting many pollinators like hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Despite all the critters that enjoy it, bee balm has a strong smell that keeps mosquitoes from coming around. You'll want to plant it in the spring or fall in well-drained soil in an area that gets full sun. Note: It'll do best when put straight in the ground (not in a container).


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Floss Flower

floss flower
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While its whimsical pompom-shaped blooms may look lovely to our eyes, biting bugs have a much different view. Floss flowers secrete a compound called coumarin (commonly used in commercial mosquito repellents), which has an odor that mosquitoes can't stand. To take advantage of this, plant the eye-catching annuals in your garden in a sunny location that has rich soil with good drainage and consistent moisture.




fresh basil
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Not only does basil bring us tasty pesto sauce, yummy pastas, and delicious salads, but it also keeps away pesky pests such as mosquitoes and houseflies. The herb produces an essential oil called eucalyptol that naturally repels the bugs. When planting basil, do so in the spring or summer in fertile, well-drained soil. It's perfect for raised garden beds, containers, and in-ground gardens as long as it gets ample sun. Bonus: Research shows that basil is toxic to mosquito larvae. That means you can put it near standing water to deter mosquitoes from laying eggs.




catmint, catnip
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Though our feline friends love it, mosquitoes hate it! A whiff of catnip can have mosquitoes buzzing off—and it's all thanks to a chemical called nepetalactone which is both a cat attractant and an insect repellant. How nifty! The herb should be planted in the spring after the threat of frost is over and grows best in well-draining soil where it can receive as much sunlight as possible.


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lantana flower
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If those clustered, colorful flowers weren't enough to make you want this one in your yard, then the fact that they also attract butterflies and hummingbirds while giving off a mosquito-repelling scent will! They're easy to grow in sunny and bright locations with fertile, well-draining soil that stays evenly moist. Just keep in mind that the lantana plant is toxic, so you'll want to keep it away from your kiddos and pets.



Scented Geranium

sweet scented geranium
RukiMedia//Getty Images

When it comes to geraniums, not every variety will help to deter mosquitoes, but the lemon-scented rose geranium (sometimes referred to as the mosquito plant), is bred for its pungent fragrance reminiscent of citronella oil that does just that. Especially popular as potted plants, they prefer bright, indirect light and moist, well-drained soil. Plus, their flowers that come in white, pink, red, and lavender, with green, bluish-green, gray-green or variegated leaves will have your yard looking oh-so-pretty.




rosemary bush
Nathan Griffith//Getty Images

The woodsy aroma of rosemary is yet another that drives away bugs including mosquitoes, moths, and flies. It does exceptionally well in hot, dry weather where it can get full sun every day. Rosemary also thrives in containers so you can set it in various places around your yard. Here's another tip: throw a few stalks of rosemary on the hot coals when you're grilling for strong smelling smoke that will turn your barbecue into a natural mosquito repellent and add delicious, piney flavor to your food.


Headshot of Macie Reynolds
Macie Reynolds
Assistant Editor

Macie Reynolds is the assistant editor of E-Commerce and SEO for The Pioneer Woman.

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