12 Mosquito Repellent Plants - Garden Design (2023)

What are the best plants to keep mosquitoes away? Plant these 12 plants in your garden for their colorful and fragrant display, plus their ability to keep uninvited bugs out. By Christine YooUpdated 6/1/2022

Most insect-repelling plants do so with their natural fragrances, which keep annoying mosquitoes away and introduce wonderful scents throughout your garden. If you don't want to douse yourself or your garden in chemical bug sprays you can grow some of these plants to help keep mosquitoes away naturally. Plant these plants in areas where guests will be often such as by a seating area or a doorway.

Grow these 12 plants to naturally repel mosquitos:

Sweet Romance® lavender. Photo by: Proven Winners

1. Lavender

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Have you ever noticed that insects or even rabbits and other animals have never decimated your lavender plant? It is because of their lovely fragrance, which comes from its essential oils that are found on the leaves of the plant. It is even argued that lavender oil hinders a mosquito’s ability to smell! This plant is very tough and drought-resistant once established, and only needs full sun and good drainage. And while it can endure many climates, it thrives in warmer areas. Read more about growing lavender.

Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 5-11, depending on type
Bloom time: Summer to fall

Buy lavender from Proven Winners.

Marigold flowers.

2. Marigold

Marigolds, an easy-to-grow annual flower, emit a smell that deters mosquitoes. Grow them in pots and place them near your patio or entrance to your home to keep bugs out. Marigolds are also a popular addition to borders and vegetable gardens. According to NYBG, not only can they keep away mosquitoes, but they also dissuade aphids, thrips, whiteflies, Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, and tomato hornworms. Read more about growing marigold flowers.

(Video) 10+ Mosquito Repellent Plants Outdoor - Patio Garden Plants YOU NEED TO KNOW!

Plant type: Annual
Bloom time: Late spring until frost

3. Citronella Grass (Lemon Grass)

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Known for its distinct smell, citronella grass (or lemon grass) is the most commonly used natural ingredient in mosquito repellants. In fact, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden recommends lemon-scented plants such as citronella grass to keep mosquitoes at bay. And the good news is that the living plant is the most effective at repelling pests. This low-maintenance plant does best in large planters because it cannot withstand frost, but in warmer climates, can be planted directly a sunny area in the ground.

Plant type: Usually grown as an annual
Zones: 9-11

Buy lemon grass from Proven Winners.

'Cat's Meow' catmint. Photo by: Proven Winners.

4. Catmint

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Catnip (catmint) can be found thriving almost anywhere. It is from the mint family and grows abundantly both as a commercial plant and as a weed. It is very easy to take care of and may even start to invade other areas of your garden. However, if you are willing to forgo this plant’s insidious nature, they are amazing mosquito repellants and another recommendation from the BBG. In a study at Iowa State University, catmint was found to be ten times more effective than DEET, the chemical used in most insect repellants. Read more about growing catmint plants.

Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 3-8
Bloom time: Early summer to fall

Buy catmint from Proven Winners.


(Video) 10 Plants that keep Mosquitoes and Flies away 🍃🦟 mosquito repellent plants 🍃🦟

5. Rosemary

Another great mosquito repellant is rosemary. Both the New York Botanical Garden and PlantShed recommended this plant. Rosemary is an herb that many of us are very familiar with and their woody scent is exactly what keeps mosquitoes as well as cabbage moths and carrot flies away. They do best in hot and dry climates and thrive in containers, which may be ideal for areas with winters. They can also be pruned into all sorts of shapes and sizes and make great borders or decorations. While the pests stay away you can enjoy the herb’s scent and also use it to season your cooking.

Plant type: Perennial herb
Zones: 7-10

Amazel Basil® sweet Italian basil. Photo by: Proven Winners.

5. Basil

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Basil is another herb that can also double as a pest repellent. The pungent smell the basil leaves give off are what keep pests at bay. And since all kinds of basil work to keep flies and mosquitoes at bay, feel free to explore and find the right types of basil to mix into your garden. This herb likes to be kept damp, needs good drainage, and enjoys lots of sun. You can plant basil in containers or in the garden, alone or with other flowers, as long as both plants meet the same requirements. Read more about growing basil.

Plant type: Usually grown as an annual
Zones: 10-11
Bloom time: Summer to frost

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Scented geranium. Photo by: Proven Winners.

7. Citronella / Scented Geranium

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Scented geraniums are also a popular mosquito-repelling plant. Recommended by PlantShed, BBG, and NYBG, the favored scent seems to be lemon scented, which is reminiscent of citronella grass. The strong fragrance keeps several types of pests away. These fast-growing plants like warm, sunny, and dry climates, but if you are in a cold-climate area, they can be grown in planters with constant pruning. Read more about growing geraniums.

Plant type: Usually grown as an annual
Zones: 10-11
Bloom time: Spring to fall

Buy citronella (mosquito plant) from Proven Winners.

'Pardon My Cerise' bee balm. Photo by: Proven Winners.

(Video) Mosquito Repelling Plants

8. Bee Balm

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Want to attract good bugs like bees and butterflies, while deterring the bad ones? Then bee balm, also known as Monarda or horsemint, is the plant for you. Simply crush its leaves to release the fragrant oils. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy colorful flowers, in shades of red, pink, lavender, white, or purple, all summer long. Read more about growing bee balm.

Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 4-8
Bloom time: Mid to late summer

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9. Mint

Mint is an excellent nontoxic option for keeping mosquitoes, flies and even ants away. The more pungent the aroma, the less bugs you’ll have. Grow it in pots on your patio where it can be easily reached if you want to drop a leaf or two in your afternoon tea. You can even dry the leaves and use them inside your home as a natural pest control method.

Plant type: Perennial herb
Zones: 3-8

Artist® Blue floss flower. Photo by: Proven Winners.

10. Floss Flower (Ageratum)

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This attractive annual flower makes great bedding or container plants. Floss flower contains coumarin, a chemical that helps repel mosquitoes—but also makes it toxic if ingested by pets or humans. Read more about growing floss flower.

Plant type: Usually grown as an annual
Zones: 9-10
Bloom time: Planting to hard frost

Buy floss flower from Proven Winners.

(Video) Top 5 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes You Can Plant in Your Yard 🌺🌱 // Garden Ideas

Sage. Photo by: Proven Winners.

11. Sage

If you love gathering around a fire pit in your backyard, then plant some sage nearby. Toss some of the plant into the flames and its earthy smell will ward off bugs. Sage can also be dried and used to make homemade bug spray.

Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 5-8

Allium 'Millenium'. Photo by: Proven Winners.

12. Allium

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These bulbs, which include garlic and onions, release a strong fragrance that mosquitoes don’t like. You’ll enjoy the whimsical globe-shaped flowers of allium that seem to float atop long slender, stems. Read more about growing allium bulbs.

Plant type: Bulb
Zones: 3-8, depending on variety
Bloom time: Planting to hard frost

Buy allium plants from Proven Winners.

We consulted with the New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Plantshed for the best plant options.

More Natural Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away

In addition to growing the plants listed above, you should also practice good mosquito control in your garden so that the pests don’t get out of hand. The best thing you can do is prevent water from collecting and becoming stagnant; mosquitoes can lay hundreds of eggs even in a tiny spoonful of standing water. Mosquito rings can be used virtually anywhere you have standing water — rain barrels, birdbaths, water gardens, ponds — even animal watering troughs. They contain a naturally occurring bacterium (Bt israelensis) that kills mosquito larvae.

There are also other natural products available that can help ward off mosquitoes in your garden. These include, citronella torches and candles, as well as essential oils derived from the plants listed here.

The Importance of Mosquito Control

Throughout the years, mosquitoes have transmitted many diseases including malaria, dengue, yellow fever, encephalitis, and more recently the West Nile and Zika viruses. Mosquitoes are even to blame for heartworm in dogs. So it isn’t just about the annoyance or the itchy bite, it is a health concern for your family and pets.

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15 Easy Herbs to GrowBackyard Landscaping Ideas


How do landscapers keep mosquitoes away? ›

5 Landscaping Tips To Repel Mosquitoes
  1. Use Cedar Mulch. Cedar has long been used as a natural way to repel and inhibit insects like termites, certain ants, moths, mosquitoes, and cockroaches. ...
  2. Plant Lemongrass. ...
  3. Add Geraniums And Marigolds. ...
  4. Find And Remove Areas With Standing Water.
May 1, 2017

Do citronella plants really keep mosquitoes away? ›

Citronella is probably one of the most common plants thought of when you think of mosquito-repellant plants. Many people wonder: Do citronella plants work? They are called the mosquito plant, and they give off a scent mosquitoes don't like. And they are effective in repelling mosquitoes in small areas.

Do marigolds keep mosquitoes away? ›

These flowers are colorful additions to landscaping, but they have a distinctive smell that repels mosquitoes and other garden pests, including squash bugs and tomato worms. Marigolds contain a natural compound used in many insect repellents.

What perennial plant keeps mosquitoes away? ›

Monarda (bee balm, horsemint, wild bergamot) is an attractive perennial that has the added bonus of attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds in addition to its mosquito-repelling characteristics. With pretty flowers that pop red, purple, pink, or white, this is a larger plant that can grow 2 to 4 feet tall.

What flower do mosquitoes hate? ›

Lavender. Include beautiful lavender in your garden plans to help keep biting mosquitoes at bay. Varieties with higher camphor properties are the most effective insect repellents. This includes 'Provence' and 'Grosso' lavender.

What color does mosquito hate? ›

To reduce the possibility of a mosquito biting you, you could consider wearing white, green or blue. Lighter colors are less interesting to mosquitos than darker shades like navy and black, red or orange. However, clothing color alone is unlikely to keep mosquitos away for good.

What is a natural mosquito repellent yard? ›

Planting citronella grass, basil, catnip or lavender will help mitigate mosquito populations. Most mosquito repellent plants give off an odor which the mosquitoes (and other insects) find offensive.

Does mulch encourage mosquitoes? ›

Why Are Mosquitoes Attracted To Mulch? It's the moisture they're after. Even after a light rain, the wet mulch will appeal to mosquitoes. Even though the aroma of cedar repels mosquitoes, if the oil dries up, the mulch doesn't function as a repellent any longer.

Does mowing keep mosquitoes away? ›

When you don't mow your lawn, you're giving mosquitoes a perfect place to hang out and breed. The shorter the lawn and vegetation, the less opportunity for them to hide out. Most homeowners like to maintain a nice lawn for aesthetic purposes, but more importantly, you should do it for mosquito prevention.

What plant eats mosquitoes? ›

The Venus flytrap is native to the wetlands of North and South Carolina on the East Coast of the USA. Instead of taking in nutrients through its roots alone, the carnivorous plant traps prey within its leaves that can snap shut within a fraction of a second.

Does lavender really repel mosquitoes? ›

2. Lavender. Crushed lavender flowers produce a fragrance and oil that can repel mosquitoes. An animal study from 2002 on hairless mice found lavender oil to be effective at repelling adult mosquitoes.

Which is better for mosquitoes lemongrass or citronella? ›

A completely different plant, the Cymbopogon (lemongrass) genus, produces the perfumed oil. Citronella plants (or Pelargonium citrosum) are commonly thought to be the best at repelling mosquitos. However, Lemongrass (or Cymbopogon) is superior.

Do geraniums keep mosquitoes away? ›

Cranesbills, especially geraniums such as Rozanne, have a variety of scents including lemon and rose-like smells. Wasps and mosquitoes typically avoid these scents and in turn, will avoid you when these beautiful flowers surround your garden.

What trees do mosquitoes hate? ›

Trees: Eucalyptus, Tea Tree

While humans generally like the fragrance of eucalyptus and tea tree, their strong scents are a major deterrent to mosquitoes. The CDC has even approved eucalyptus oil as an ingredient in mosquito repellent.

Will mint keep mosquitoes away? ›

Mint – Mint leaves can aid in keeping mosquitoes away. Bonus: Mint essential oils can also help soothe bug bites.

What is the thing mosquitoes hate the most? ›

Mosquitoes hate peppermint much like wasps and other common pests. Lavender – Lavender is not only an effective mosquito repellent, it's also touted as a powerful ointment to relieve itchy mosquito bites. This oil has a pleasant floral scent and is the safest choice for children.

Are mosquitoes good for anything? ›

Believe it or not, mosquitoes are pollinators. In fact, mosquitoes' primary food source is flower nectar, not blood. Just like bees or butterflies, mosquitoes transfer pollen from flower to flower as they feed on nectar, fertilizing plants and allowing them to form seeds and reproduce.

Do hummingbirds eat mosquitoes? ›

The hummingbird menu includes such insects as ants, aphids, fruit flies, gnats, weevils, beetles, mites and mosquitoes. They also raid spider webs to grab a quick spider meal and any hapless insects trapped there.

What plants do mosquitoes and spiders hate? ›

11 Garden Plants to Help Keep Bugs Away!
  • Marigolds. The scent of a marigold will deter plant lice, mosquitoes, and even rabbits. ...
  • Chrysanthemums. This might be the best plant to deter bugs. ...
  • Mint. Mint plants can repel spiders, ants, and mosquitoes. ...
  • Basil. ...
  • Citronella grass. ...
  • Lavender. ...
  • Chives. ...
  • Petunias.
Oct 13, 2022

What smells dont attract mosquitoes? ›

Certain Natural Scents

Mosquitoes are turned off by several natural scents: cinnamon, peppermint, cedar, citronella, lemongrass, patchouli, catnip, lavender, and more. Find a favorite, and use it when you want to spend time outside.

What foods repel mosquitoes? ›

Mosquito-repelling foods
  • Garlic, onions, and apple cider vinegar, when consumed, are said to change the way you smell and make you less detectable to mosquitoes.
  • Tomatoes, beans, and lentils as well as other foods rich in thiamine are said to release a smell that repels mosquitoes and other bugs.
Jun 23, 2022

What hair color do mosquitoes like? ›

There are a lot of myths out there, including the assertion that mosquitoes prefer blondes. In reality, mosquito preference doesn't seem to have anything to do with hair color, blood sugar levels, floral perfumes or many of the other factors we've heard rumors about.

Why are mosquitoes biting my ankles? ›

The short answer as to why mosquitoes go after feet and ankles is that our feet often carry a strong odor. Yes, stinky feet attract mosquitoes.

What makes someone more attractive to mosquitoes? ›

Several specific factors can attract mosquitoes, including the carbon dioxide you exhale, your body odor, and your body temperature. A combination of these factors likely makes certain people more attractive to mosquitoes.

What is the best DIY backyard mosquito control? ›

One calls for mixing mint mouthwash, Epsom salt, and stale beer and spraying it around your yard. Another uses apple cider vinegar, water, and an oil made up of citronella, peppermint, lemongrass, cedar wood, and geranium.

Which is better pine needles or mulch? ›

Mulch adds beneficial nutrients to your soil and contains moisture better than pine straw does. Mulch is harder to spread though. Pine straw is less expensive than mulch and it's easy to spread. However, it will need to be replaced more often than mulch and easily blows away with weather.

What mulch repels mosquitoes? ›


The aroma of cedar has long been used to repel insects including termites, ants, moths and others. Add mosquitoes to that list, too. The smell of cedar comes from the oil trapped in the wood.

How often should I treat my yard for mosquitoes? ›

As a rule of thumb, assuming optimal conditions, Modern Pest will typically seek to re-treat your yard every 30 days. After 30 days, the material will have begun to degrade making the protective barrier around your yard, noticeably less effective.

Do mosquitoes live in wet grass? ›

Mosquitoes love to inhabit shady spots close to the ground such as the underside of plant leaves, brush, thick weeds, or tall grass—basically, anywhere it is damp, cool, and dark. To avoid this, regularly mow your lawn, trim bushes, and clean up any yard waste.

Can plants reduce mosquitoes? ›

One of the most well-known mosquito deterrents, the overwhelming aroma of citronella plants masks the odor of carbon dioxide produced from our warm-blooded bodies. This stops mosquitoes from homing in on you. These plants can get quite big so are best grown in planters or gardens.

Do lemongrass plants really keep mosquitoes away? ›

What is the #1 plant you should grow in your garden and in pots on your patio or deck to keep the mosquitoes at bay all summer? Answer: Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus). Lemongrass contains citronella, a natural oil that repels mosquitoes.

Does basil keep mosquitoes away? ›

Basil also acts as a good insect repellent for flies and mosquitoes. Very useful using fresh leaves rubbed on the skin. Eucalyptol. According to research conducted by Kansas State University, this compound is effective in eliminating bugs from the kitchen and repelling cockroaches and weevils.

Do mosquitoes like rosemary? ›

Garden Design adds, “Rosemary is an herb that many of us are very familiar with and their woody scent is exactly what keeps mosquitoes as well as cabbage moths and carrot flies away.”

Is lemongrass toxic to dogs? ›

Lemongrass is toxic to dogs due to the cyanogenic glycosides and oils in the plant. Lemongrass poisoning, however, is rare in canines since dogs must ingest large quantities of the plant to trigger severe symptoms.

Can I plant lemongrass and citronella together? ›

In fact, their care requirements are so similar that you can grow lemongrass and citronella grass together. Though both plants thrive in full sunshine (that's at least six hours of direct sunlight every day), citronella grass will also tolerate partial shade.

Why does oregano repel mosquitoes? ›

Oregano oil is considered as an excellent antiseptic and insect repellent. It has some active ingredients such as carvacrol, thymol and α-terpinene reported being highly effective in repelling mosquitoes (32, 33).

What naturally repels mosquitoes? ›

10 Natural Ingredients That Repel Mosquitoes
  • Lemon eucalyptus oil.
  • Lavender.
  • Cinnamon oil.
  • Thyme oil.
  • Greek catmint oil.
  • Soybean oil.
  • Citronella.
  • Tea tree oil.
Feb 10, 2022

Do coffee grounds keep mosquitoes away? ›

Coffee grounds make an effective mosquito repellent because of the strong smell. The coffee grounds will mask the scents on humans that attract mosquitoes - if they can't smell you they can't find you! You can also burn it to create an even stronger aroma - the same way citronella candles keep mosquitoes away.

Do dryer sheets repel mosquitoes? ›

Dryer sheets are designed to provide a pleasant scent to laundry, not to repel insects, so any insect-repellent properties may wear off quickly. In summary, while some people claim that dryer sheets can repel mosquitoes, there is little scientific evidence to support this claim.

What foods make mosquitoes hate you? ›

Mosquito-repelling foods
  • Garlic, onions, and apple cider vinegar, when consumed, are said to change the way you smell and make you less detectable to mosquitoes.
  • Tomatoes, beans, and lentils as well as other foods rich in thiamine are said to release a smell that repels mosquitoes and other bugs.
Jun 23, 2022

What plant gets rid of mosquitoes? ›

Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) and citronella grass (C. nardus) have proven mosquito-repelling abilities thanks to the citronella oil contained within their leaves. The leaves can be crushed and rubbed on bare skin to ward off biting bugs.

What landscaping plants do bugs hate? ›

Chrysanthemums. This might be the best plant to deter bugs. Ants, Japanese beetles, roaches, bed bugs, spider mites, silverfish, and ticks will stay away if you have some of these around. Some bug repellents use an ingredient in this flower because of how effective it is.

Does mint keep mosquitoes away? ›

Mint – Mint leaves can aid in keeping mosquitoes away. Bonus: Mint essential oils can also help soothe bug bites.

What odor do mosquitoes hate? ›

Certain Natural Scents

Mosquitoes are turned off by several natural scents: cinnamon, peppermint, cedar, citronella, lemongrass, patchouli, catnip, lavender, and more. Find a favorite, and use it when you want to spend time outside.

What smell kills mosquitoes? ›

Use Citronella

Citronella oil is a natural mosquito repellent that will kill mosquitoes and drive them out of your house. Look for citronella candles or use citronella essential oil in your vaporizer or oil diffuser.

What colors do mosquitoes hate? ›

So, if you're looking to avoid the itchy bites, researchers at the University of Washington say to avoid colors like cyan, orange, red and black. Instead, you should focus on wearing colors mosquitoes ignore like white, blue, green and purple.


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