Stop the Mosquito Invasion with These Plants

By Chris Edmunds

Help ward off those annoying mosquitoes with these remarkable plants!
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kaw-valley-mosquito-repellent-plants-header-lemongrass-oil.jpgThere's nothing like a summer evening BBQ with friends and family, refreshing drinks, great food, and friendly chatter. Then, as soon as the sun begins to set, the buzzing begins. Mosquitos might be the most annoying pest of the summer.

If you're not keen on dousing yourself and your family in DEET every day, or lighting a hundred citronella torches, we've got a few natural solutions. As it turns out, several garden plants do an excellent job of keeping mosquitos at bay. Mosquitos aren't keen on strong scents, especially citrus, which is why citronella is effective. If you check the ingredient list for many bug sprays, you'll often see a list of familiar plant names included. Oils extracted from plants like lemongrass and eucalyptus are common ingredients in commercial bug spray formulas. 

There are quite a few plants you can plant in your yard to help ward off mosquitos. Fair warning; mosquito repelling plants won't entirely eliminate the bugs from your yard, but they will help. Similar to citronella candles, you'll need a reasonably high density of plants to notice an impact. If your main focus is to enjoy sitting on your patio without the annoying buzz, focus your effort on surrounding your deck. Many of these plants grow very well in pots, so fill your containers, line your hanging baskets, and decorate your patio space with them. Cluster them around your favorite seating areas to help ward off the little buggers while you enjoy the outdoors in peace. 

kaw-valley-mosquito-repellent-plants-basil.jpgBasil is just one of the herbs that repel mosquitos. Since basil comes in so many varieties, you should be able to find one that you like. Of course, a significant bonus is that you can use the basil for cooking too!

Catnip, or catmint, is one of the most effective mosquito repelling plants. Be forewarned; it may take over your yard and garden if it's planted in the ground. Best to keep this one in pots near your favorite seating areas. Catnip is reportedly more effective than DEET! There is one noticeable side effect, though—you may need to keep an eye out for neighborhood kitties! If they spend too much time chewing and rolling on your plants, you may need to give the plants some protection so they can establish well.

Citronella Grass is not actually citronella, but it has a similar scent. Unfortunately, the aroma of the whole leaves is not particularly strong, so you'll need to crush the blades and rub them on your skin to use it as an effective repellent. 

Citronella Geranium has a strong citronella-like scent that does a great job of keeping mosquitos at bay. You can hold onto this one for a few years by bringing it inside for the winter. It also has pretty pink and white blossoms. 


Floss Flower is another flowering plant that helps with mosquito control. It has pretty fluffy round blossoms in shades of blue that resemble pom-poms.

Lavender is another herb that mosquitos don't especially like. Lavender will generally do better in the ground than in a pot, and you can find a few different varieties that are hardy to zone 4. 

Lemon Balm is also an excellent mosquito fighter because of its scent. This herb does well in pots, and you can also use it in your cooking as well. 

Lemongrass is the actual plant from which citronella is extracted. Lemongrass is quite simple to grow and will also do well in pots around your patio. 

Marigolds are yet another beautiful and effective mosquito repellent option. These sunny, fast-growing flowers contain pyrethrum, which is another common ingredient in bug repellent. Marigolds repel several pests, not just mosquitos. Their cheerful orange blossoms last all summer, with some varieties lasting into fall.


Mint is an easy to grow herb that mosquitos don't love, and that you can also use in your recipes—or in yummy homemade mojitos!

Rosemary is another popular bug repellent. The City of New York plants rosemary in planters around NYC for its mosquito repelling qualities. Rosemary's silvery-green needles add a nice visual contrast beside other leafier plants. 

So when you're planning your garden for next year, whether in the ground or in pots, make sure you add plenty of these awesome mosquito-fighters—that should tell those little pests to 'buzz off'!



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