13 Amazing Plants That Repel Mosquitoes and Bugs

Tired of battling pesky mosquitoes every summer? You’re not alone! Luckily, nature has some tricks up its sleeve. This guide is all about the best plants that repel mosquitoes and bugs. We’ll uncover the science behind these natural deterrents, introduce you to a variety of plant options, and share savvy tips on seamlessly integrating them into your home. Let’s banish these annoying bugs together!

Lavender stems in glass jarHeather Ford / Unsplash

Best Plants for Repelling Mosquitoes

Let’s explore some popular options of different plants that repel mosquitoes so that you can decide which ones would best suit your home and garden.

1. Citronella

Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus)Mokkie / Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0 International

Citronella is one of the most well-known mosquito-repelling plants. It emits a strong lemony scent that masks the odor of humans, making it difficult for mosquitoes to locate their targets.

Citronella is often found in candles, oils, and sprays. However, you can also plant citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus) in your garden for a natural and continuous source of mosquito protection.

2. Lavender

jars with lavender oil, lavender flowers, on the background of a lavender field.YayImages

Lavender is known for its delightful aroma and beautiful purple flowers. It has a calming scent for humans but serves as a natural mosquito repellent.

Plant lavender around outdoor seating areas or use dried lavender in sachets to deter mosquitoes. To learn more about how to plant lavender, read our helpful guide.

3. Marigolds

Moquito repelling marigolds bloom in the garden near the greenhouseYayImages

Marigolds are colorful flowers with a distinctive scent that mosquitoes find repulsive. They also have a chemical called pyrethrum, which is used in many commercial insect repellents.

Plant marigolds in pots or flower beds near entrances to your home to help keep mosquitoes at bay.

4. Rosemary

Rosemary plants and essential oils which can be used to repel mosquitoesYayImages

Rosemary is a fragrant herb commonly used in cooking. Its scent, which humans find pleasant, is unpleasant to mosquitoes.

Grow rosemary in your herb garden or plant it in containers near outdoor seating areas.

5. Basil

fresh and green basil growing in the pot to repel mosquitoesYayImages

Basil is another aromatic herb that mosquitoes dislike. Its strong scent can help protect your outdoor spaces.

Plant basil in pots or garden beds and use it for cooking to maximize its mosquito-repelling benefits.

6. Lemon Balm

lemon balm plant growing in a potYayImages

Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and has a lemony scent that can deter mosquitoes.

Plant lemon balm near outdoor gathering spots or rub its leaves on your skin for added protection.

7. Catnip

Purple catnip plants in a garden all in bloom.YayImages

Catnip is a member of the mint family that contains a compound called nepetalactone, which is a potent mosquito repellent.

Grow catnip in your garden, but be prepared for feline visitors as it’s also a favorite among cats.

8. Peppermint

Peppermint essential oil in a small bottle in front of a peppermint plantYayImages

Peppermint is a strongly scented herb that can help keep mosquitoes away from your outdoor spaces.

Plant peppermint in pots or use its leaves to make natural mosquito-repelling sprays.

9. Venus Fly Trap

venus fly trap plant.YayImages

Venus fly traps are carnivorous plants known for their unique appearance and the fact that they consume insects. While they primarily target smaller insects, they can contribute to mosquito control in a garden.

Place Venus fly traps in pots or small containers around your home, but don’t rely solely on them for mosquito control.

10. Pitcher Plant

Tropical pitcher plant in the garden.YayImages

Pitcher plants are carnivorous. They have specialized pitcher-shaped leaves that trap insects, including mosquitoes.

Grow pitcher plants in containers or bog gardens to help control mosquito populations.

11. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera or herbal plant in hanging pot on garden backgroundYayImages

Aloe vera is well-known for its soothing properties for skin, but it also has mosquito-repelling qualities. The gel inside its leaves can be used to soothe mosquito bites as well.

Place potted aloe vera plants in your outdoor spaces to help repel mosquitoes and provide relief from bites.

12. Geranium

Bright red and pink blooming geranium flowers on the streets of a modern cityYayImages

Geraniums, with their colorful flowers and unique scent, are effective at repelling mosquitoes.

Plant geraniums in your garden or use them in pots on your patio or deck to keep mosquitoes away.

13. Chrysanthemum

Woman in shirt and jeans hold pot with chrysanthemums outdoorYayImages

Chrysanthemums contain pyrethrin, a natural insect repellent often used in commercial mosquito repellent products.

Plant chrysanthemums in your garden to deter mosquitoes and other insects.

Tips for Using Mosquito-Repelling Plants Effectively

While incorporating mosquito-repelling plants into your outdoor spaces is a natural and eco-friendly way to reduce mosquito populations, it’s essential to do so effectively. Here are some tips for using these plants to their fullest potential:

1. Plant Strategically

Consider the layout of your garden or outdoor area when planting mosquito-repelling plants. Place them near seating areas, entrances, and areas where you spend the most time.

2. Maintain Your Plants

Healthy, well-maintained plants are more effective at repelling mosquitoes. Prune and water your plants regularly to ensure they thrive.

3. Crush or Rub Leaves

To release the mosquito-repelling oils, you can crush or rub the leaves of certain plants, such as basil and lemon balm, directly on your skin.

4. Combine Plants

Mixing various mosquito-repelling plants in your garden can create a more robust defense against mosquitoes, as different plants may target mosquitoes in different ways.

5. Consider Companion Planting

Some plants naturally repel pests that are harmful to other plants. Consider companion planting to create a healthier, pest-resistant garden overall.

Chrysanthemum with yellow flowers in a vaseJill Burrow / Pexels

Why Mosquitoes are Attracted to Humans

Understanding why mosquitoes are attracted to humans and their surroundings can help us make informed choices in our battle against these pesky insects. Mosquitoes are drawn to us for several reasons, including:

1. Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Mosquitoes are highly sensitive to carbon dioxide, which we exhale when we breathe. They use this gas to locate potential hosts from a considerable distance.

2. Body Heat

Our bodies emit heat, which makes us stand out in the environment. Mosquitoes are adept at detecting temperature differences, helping them locate warm-blooded hosts.

3. Sweat and Body Odors

Perspiration and body odors can attract mosquitoes. Some individuals may be more attractive to mosquitoes due to their unique scent profiles.

4. Lactic Acid

When we exercise or become active, we produce more lactic acid, which can lure mosquitoes to us.

5. Color and Clothing

Dark-colored clothing can make you more visible to mosquitoes. They are also attracted to floral and fruity scents, so scented lotions and perfumes can be a draw.

Now that we understand what makes us appealing to mosquitoes, let’s explore how plants can help mitigate their presence.

female hiker applying mosquito repellent on her skin.YayImages

How Plants Repel Mosquitoes

Plants have evolved a range of defense mechanisms to deter herbivores and insects, including mosquitoes. These natural defenses often involve the production of aromatic compounds that are unpleasant or toxic to mosquitoes. Here’s a closer look at how these mosquito-repelling plants work:

1. Aromatic Compounds

Many mosquito-repelling plants release fragrant compounds as a natural defense mechanism. These compounds, such as citronella, lavender, and eucalyptus, can disrupt the mosquito’s ability to locate their prey by masking the attractive scents emitted by humans and animals.

2. Phytochemicals

Phytochemicals are biologically active compounds found in plants. Some of these compounds have been shown to have mosquito-repelling properties. For example, pyrethrum, derived from chrysanthemum flowers, is a well-known natural insect repellent.

3. Visual Disruption

Plants with strong scents or vibrant colors may visually disrupt mosquitoes. This can make it more challenging for them to locate their targets in a sea of competing stimuli.

Basil plant in potRon Lach / Pexels


By using plants that repel mosquitoes like citronella and lavender, you can naturally keep these pests away from your outdoor areas. Remember to care for your plants and use them alongside other mosquito control methods for best results. While they won’t offer complete protection, these plants significantly reduce mosquito numbers, making your outdoor area a peaceful, bite-free zone!

Best mosquito repelling house plants.
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