Mosquito repellent plants – 10 natural pest-deterrents for your garden (2023)

Growing mosquito repellent plants is a clever way to create an unwelcoming environment for these pesky blood-suckers.

There are few insects as hated as the mosquito. As well as administering painful, itchy bites to their victims, the insect is known to spread dangerous diseases in some countries, like Zika virus, malaria, and dengue fever.

If you're prone to being bitten, then adding a few mosquito repellent plants is likely to be top of your garden ideas. However, they should only be relied upon in combination with other measures.

‘The strong chemical fragrances produced by some common garden plants can slightly alter the scent receptors that mosquitoes use to find us – but simply planting strongly scented plants in your garden isn't enough to keep these fiends at bay,’ says Charlotte Bailey, horticulturist and founder of Oh So Garden (opens in new tab).

‘The key to warding off mosquitoes lies within the plant's oils. Found within the leaves, these oils are very concentrated and have a true mosquito-repelling effect. The best way to release them is by burning sprigs of the plant or crushing the foliage.’

So, while filling pots and borders with these plants will help to confuse and deter them, you should ideally look to use the plants in other ways by rubbing their oils on your sink, making your own bug spray or throwing them on the grill during a BBQ.

Best mosquito repellent plants

Aromatic plants and herbs are the best mosquito repellent plants, as their scent is offputting to the insects.

‘Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide we emit, and a plant’s scent can often mask that,’ says Jennifer Green, botanist and writer for Positive Bloom (opens in new tab).

Many of these popular garden plants are used in making commercial insect repellents, so are a great starting point.

1. Lavender

Mosquito repellent plants – 10 natural pest-deterrents for your garden (1)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

‘One of the most effective mosquito repellent plants, lavender is so fragrant that you don’t even have to crush and rub it onto your skin for it to work,’ says Green.

It’s easy to learn how to grow lavender in pots or borders. As Mediterranean plants, they thrive in warm, dry summers, so to enjoy their heavenly fragrance and bug-busting properties in cold climates, consider growing them indoors.

You should be able to grow lavender well in USDA zones (opens in new tab) 5-9. The plant does have a tendency to get leggy after a few years so make sure you know how to prune lavender to keep it looking its best.

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

2. Basil

Mosquito repellent plants – 10 natural pest-deterrents for your garden (2)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

An indoor or outdoor option that also adds to your culinary arsenal, basil is one of the most mosquito repellent plants you can grow.

‘If you're not looking to crush any plants, then basil is your best bet,’ says Bailey.

‘One of the most pungent culinary herbs, this 'set and forget' plant gives off a strong scent that deters both mosquitoes and flies.’

It’s easy to learn how to grow basil from seed or cuttings – it simply needs a sunny spot and a close eye on watering.

‘Basil needs a bit of shade from the scorching sun, so you should protect it if the summers are too hot,’ adds Green.

3. Marigolds

Mosquito repellent plants – 10 natural pest-deterrents for your garden (3)

(Image credit: Jacky Parker / Getty Images)

As well as being full of color, marigolds possess a distinctive smell that is repellent to mosquitos as well as many other garden pests. This makes them a popular option for companion planting. Happily, they are appealing to bees.

The flowers’ essential oil has a similar effect to DEET, and is used in many insect repellents.

Marigolds are quite compact, which makes them ideal for growing as annuals in containers. This means they can be moved around where needed. Dot the pots around sitting areas and among your kitchen garden.

Learn how to grow marigolds from seed for an endless supply of summer cheer.

4. Rosemary

Mosquito repellent plants – 10 natural pest-deterrents for your garden (4)

(Video) 7 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes and Other Insects

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Highly attractive to bees and other precious pollinators, aromatic rosemary is far less appealing to mosquitoes. It also makes a delicious addition to a Sunday roast.

‘Rosemary is much more effective as a mosquito repellent when it is burnt,’ says Green. Burning it will release its essential oils, so try throwing a few sprigs on the grill or firepit when entertaining in the garden – this should help to deter the blood suckers.

You can learn how to grow rosemary from cuttings or seed. As a Mediterranean plant, it is best suited to USDA zones 7-9, but you can grow it as an annual or bring it indoors in colder areas.

‘Rosemary prefers temperatures up to 80°F, so you should cover it with a shade if the weather is too hot,’ adds Green.

5. Citronella grass

Mosquito repellent plants – 10 natural pest-deterrents for your garden (5)

(Image credit: Kcris Ramos / Getty Images)

Widely used as a natural bug repellent, citronella oil is derived from citronella grass – or Cymbopogon nardus. While highly effective when used in sprays and candles, the oils are not released when the plant is simply growing.

Despite this, citronella grass is a popular option for growing around seating areas and entrances to homes, and is believed to help deter mosquitoes, as well as other pests such as whitefly.

‘Citronella grass can be crushed and applied topically to repel mosquitoes,’ recommends Green. ‘The plants do need higher temperatures to thrive, so they should be grown indoors if the weather is too cold.’

Native to tropical areas of Asia, citronella grass can be grown as a perennial in USDA zones 10-12, though some gardeners are able to grow it in zone 9. It typically reaches heights of around 6ft.

6. Lemongrass

Mosquito repellent plants – 10 natural pest-deterrents for your garden (6)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

(Video) You Can Grow It: Plants that naturally repel bugs

A fragrant grass widely used in Asian cooking, lemongrass – or Cymbopogon citratus – is closely related to citronella grass and contains its own similar essential oil that is equally disliked by mosquitoes.

You can spot the difference between the two plants by looking at the bases – lemongrass has a yellow-green color with a white base, while citronella grass has a reddish tinge towards the base.

It’s surprisingly easy to learn how to grow lemongrass, and when planted in containers its size will be restricted, allowing it to be moved indoors in cold weather.

7. Lemon thyme

Mosquito repellent plants – 10 natural pest-deterrents for your garden (7)

(Image credit: Cynthia Shirk / Getty Images)

‘Lemon thyme is a heavily citrus scented plant that can be used either outdoors or indoors to ward off mosquitoes,’ says Bailey. ‘Simply burning a few sprigs is enough to keep mosquitoes away from the immediate surroundings.’

One of the best aromatic herbs, lemon thyme is also delicious when cooked with fish, chicken and vegetables, and is highly attractive to pollinators.

If you know how to grow thyme, then growing lemon thyme is just as simple. Use it to form a groundcover, or plant it along the edges of a path or patio.

8. Mint

Mosquito repellent plants – 10 natural pest-deterrents for your garden (8)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

‘Mint is one of my top picks for the garden as well as being one of the best mosquito repellent plants,’ says Stuart Mackenzie, horticulturist and expert at (opens in new tab). ‘I love its scent, it’s easy to grow and can also be grown indoors, making a nice addition to any kitchen.’

With its sharp scent, peppermint is also highly effective at deterring pests.

Mint is a highly versatile herb with a wide variety of culinary and medicinal uses, and is prized for being a digestive aid.

Learning how to grow mint is easy, but bear in mind that the plant’s roots can be invasive, so it is usually best grown in pots. You should be able to grow mint outdoors in zones 3-8.

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

9. Catmint

Mosquito repellent plants – 10 natural pest-deterrents for your garden (9)

(Image credit: Jacky Parker / Getty Images)

Catmint is hated by mosquitoes – its essential oil nepetalactone has been found to be 10 times as effective as DEET. It has lovely lavender-like flowers that are prized in gardens, and its leaves can be used in cooking.

Catmint is incredibly easy to grow, though belonging to the mint family, it can be invasive. You can make your own bug spray by simply cutting off the flowers and boiling them.

Its close relative catnip is also disliked by mosquitos, but bear in mind that planting it will likely drive feline friends wild.

10. Alliums

Mosquito repellent plants – 10 natural pest-deterrents for your garden (10)

(Image credit: Jonathan Buckley for Sarah Raven )

Emitting an oniony scent, alliums are effective at repelling a wide variety of garden pests, including mosquitoes.

With their showy heads of usually purple flowers, these attractive bulb flowers are easy to grow, so make fantastic low maintenance garden border ideas.

For best results, alliums benefit from a sheltered spot and free draining soil. Depending on the variety, they can be grown in USDA zones 3-9.

What plant do mosquitoes hate the most?

Citronella is the most widely hated plant by mosquitoes, but is mostly only effective once its natural oils have been released.

These oils are widely used in commercial insect sprays, but can also be made into candles, which will not only deter pests but add an inviting atmosphere to outdoor entertaining.

What plants attract mosquitoes?

While some plants help to repel mosquitoes, others attract them so are best avoided in your garden.

’Research has found that mosquitoes actually use some plant species as food sources. Mosquitoes consume sugary plant liquids, including nectar, fruit juice, plant sap, and other plant exudates,’ says Brody Hall, horticulturist and co-founder at The Indoor Nursery (opens in new tab).

(Video) 10 Organic Ways to Control Pests in the Garden

Specially, mosquitoes have been observed inhabiting or foraging from bird cherry (Prunis pensylvanica), common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), common water hyacinth (Pontederia crassipes) and water lettuce (plants in the Pistia genus).’

Water lilies, jasmine bushes, taro and papyrus plants are also potential culprits.


What plant does mosquitoes hate the most? ›

Citronella Grass (Lemon Grass)

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.

What plants do I plant to keep mosquitoes away? ›

Catnip and family member catmint are among the most effective plants that repel mosquitoes. The nepetalactone the leaves contain has shown to be more than ten times more effective than DEET at repelling those biting misfits. On the other hand, many cats simply can't get enough.

What can I spray in my garden to keep mosquitoes away? ›

A mixture of cedar wood oil diluted with water can be sprayed on your lawn and shrubs to repel insects like fleas and mosquitoes. (We like these amber glass spray bottles.) Not only does it keep pests away, but it can nix their eggs, too.

What is the most effective natural mosquito repellent? ›

What Are the Best Natural Mosquito Repellents?
  • Geraniol (found in citronella, lemongrass, and rose oil). ...
  • Catnip oil. ...
  • Cinnamon oil. ...
  • IR3535.
Sep 15, 2020

What do mosquitoes absolutely hate? ›

Mosquitoes hate the smell of lavender, citronella, clove, peppermint, basil, cedarwood, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass and rosemary. They also hate smells such as smoke, for further insight, see our exploration on, does smoke keep mosquitoes away?

What plant eats the most mosquitoes? ›

Tropical carnivorous pitcher plants botanically known as Nepenthes feed on insects including roaches, ants and mosquitoes. You can grow pitcher plant vines quite easily by following some simple steps. Nepenthes require growing outside in a humid bright light location like you would grow an orchid.

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 plant keeps spiders and mosquitoes away? ›

Citronella Grass

The lemon scent of the blades not only deters spiders but also mosquitoes and other insects.

What plant keeps mosquitoes and bees away? ›

Citronella. Citronella is best known for its ability to deter mosquitoes, but its pervasive smell can be offensive to wasps and bees, as well. It can be grown inside or outside but prefers at least six hours of sunlight whether it is by a window or outside in the sun.

What natural smell 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 home remedy kills mosquitoes in yard? ›

  • #1: Eliminate standing water. Stagnant water attracts mosquitoes. ...
  • #2: Candles, incense and essential oils. Candles and oils are not only refreshing but also excellent mosquito repellents. ...
  • #3: Pot the right plant. ...
  • #4: Lemon and clove. ...
  • #5: Garlic spray. ...
  • #6: Eucalyptus oil. ...
  • #7: Mosquito net. ...
  • #8: Camphor.
Aug 12, 2021

Do dryer sheets keep mosquitoes away? ›

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 drinks do mosquitoes hate? ›

Lemongrass contains an oil called citronella, a common mosquito repellent. Swap your summer glass of lemonade for a chilled glass of lemongrass tea or carefully use lemongrass oil on your skin for a quick mosquito repellent.

What are mosquitoes worst enemy? ›

Dragonflies. Dragonflies as well as being a natural predator of the mosquito are a fascinating and unique group of insects.

Does Pine Sol keep mosquitoes away? ›

Fortunately, I have learned two things that keep these critters away and you only need 4 simple items: 2 Spray Bottles, a bottle of Listerine Mint Mouthwash, and bottle of Pine-sol (or eucalyptus oil for a more natural spray). For starters, mosquitoes HATE mint! Pour the Listerine into a spray bottle and spray away!

What flower kills mosquitoes? ›

Citronella not only keeps mosquitoes at bay but staves off flies too. Also, it's an ornamental plant, so a couple of potted citronellas on your porch will jazz it up for guests. Since there are many varieties of the citronella plant, make sure you get Cybopogon nardus or Citronella winterianus.

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 is the sticky plant for mosquitoes? ›


Citronella likes sun, so plant it in a container on top of a deck or somewhere facing south. Make sure you're buying real citronella. A copycat sometimes called the “mosquito plant” is often sold as citronella when they're actually in totally different families. The mosquito plant has fern-like leaves.

What do mosquitoes hate the worst? ›

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.

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.

What can I plant with tomatoes to keep bugs away? ›

More Herbs & Flowers to Plant with Tomatoes to Keep Bugs Away: Don't just stop at planting Marigolds with your tomatoes. For further protection from pest bugs, you can also plant basil, beans, bee balm, borage, sweet alyssum, chives, garlic, nasturtium, mint, anise, onion, and parsley.

What bugs do marigolds keep 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 plant will keep snakes away? ›

Snake-repellent plants, such as marigolds, allium, lemongrass, mother-in-law's tongue, garlic, wormwood, pink agapanthus, snakeroots, basil and yellow alder will all keep snakes away naturally.

What fruits repel mosquitoes? ›

Mosquito-repelling foods

Tomatoes, beans, and lentils as well as other foods rich in thiamine are said to release a smell that repels mosquitoes and other bugs. Grapefruit, oranges, and lemons are all citrus fruits that mosquitoes apparently aren't fond of smelling.

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 liquid do mosquitoes hate? ›

Lemon eucalyptus oil

Used since the 1940s, lemon eucalyptus oil is one of the more well-known natural repellents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have approved eucalyptus oil as an effective ingredient in mosquito repellent.

What color 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.

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 skin do mosquitoes hate? ›

Many natural scents that are appealing to humans actually repel mosquitoes, including lavender, peppermint, basil, and eucalyptus. Many of these scents can be worn as an essential oil on your skin to help keep these pesky pests from biting you.

What bird eats the most mosquitoes? ›

Many birds will eat mosquitoes. The more important among these are purple martins, swallows, waterfowl (geese, terns, ducks) and migratory songbirds.

What is toxic to mosquitoes? ›

Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that can effectively kill mosquito larvae present in water. It is one of many strains of Bacillus thuringiensis, each having unique toxicity characteristics.


1. Plants That Keep Pests Away
(P. Allen Smith)
2. 10 Plants That Mosquitoes Hate (And We Love) | Backyardscape
3. 8 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes and Other Insects Naturally
(Natural Ways)
4. If You Get This Plant at Home, You’ll Never See Mice, Spiders, or Ants Again
5. 10 Best Plants That Repel Insects In Vegetables Garden & Uses For Companion Planting
(Go Green)
6. 12 Best Plants That Repel Insects That Repel Insects 🌿🐛
(PlantDo Home & Garden)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Prof. An Powlowski

Last Updated: 01/06/2023

Views: 5693

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Prof. An Powlowski

Birthday: 1992-09-29

Address: Apt. 994 8891 Orval Hill, Brittnyburgh, AZ 41023-0398

Phone: +26417467956738

Job: District Marketing Strategist

Hobby: Embroidery, Bodybuilding, Motor sports, Amateur radio, Wood carving, Whittling, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Prof. An Powlowski, I am a charming, helpful, attractive, good, graceful, thoughtful, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.