August 26, 2018 – Updated on July 31, 2020
Mosquitoes aren’t just a nuisance you have to endure when you go outdoors, they’re a legitimate cause for health concerns. They buzz around, searching for people or animals to dine on, sucking out their blood and bringing all sorts of diseases and viruses with them, like Zika, malaria and west Nile virus, none of which you’d probably wish on your worst enemy. But, dousing yourself, and your family, in chemical sprays come with another set of problems that can negatively impact health.
By including these 9 plants in your garden, you can give up chemical mosquito repelling products and enjoy a much more relaxing outdoor space without fear of getting bitten.
Most people are familiar with citronella and know that it’s a common ingredient in mosquito-repelling products. What they aren’t aware of is that citronella is a beautiful perennial grass that grows in clumps 5 to 6 feet tall and emits a strong aroma. It is easy to grow and the scent is more powerful than manufactured repellents, making it an effective plant to add to the yard to keep mosquitoes at bay.
This member of the mint family has white flowers and a gentle lemony scent, as well as some healing properties. It is particularly good at keeping biting insects away, but it is also an invasive species, so be careful when growing it.
This fragrant mint “cousin” contains a chemical called nepetalactone, which is both a feline attractant and a useful insect repellent.
While Catnip does repel mosquitoes in close proximity, some people apply crushed leaves for more protection.
Note: Your catnip might bring all the cats to the yard. The perennial herb, related to mint, is easy to grow.
These cheerfully bright, annual ornamentals contain pyrethrum, a natural form of the compound, pyrethrin that is found in most commercial insect repellants. Marigolds emit this botanical insecticide from their flowers, leaves and roots. According to NewScientist, this unique smell – a characteristic of the volatile insecticide – is especially toxic to mosquitoes that carry yellow fever and malaria.
Enjoy delicious pesto dishes, and keep mosquitoes at bay, with this insect-repelling herb. Basil is one of the few herbs in which you don’t have to crush the leaves to reap its benefits.
A 2009 study showed that the essential oil from this delicious herb is toxic to mosquito larvae.
This beautiful potent plant with one of the freshest odors, not only repels mosquitoes, but also keeps moths and flies away. The flower’s perfume is well-known, and while it will scent the air, it is still most effective when actually rubbed onto the skin.
This plant in its concentrated form is sometimes used as an insect repellent, and its essential oil has been shown to keep away the adult species of several insects as well as their larvae.
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.
Scented geraniums are yet another popular mosquito repelling plant recommended by countless gardeners and gardening sites. The lemon scented type of geranium is most effective, as it’s similar to citronella, which as mentioned previously, is one of the best for keeping the pests away.