10 Mosquito-Repelling Plants for Your Home

lavender plant

The best way to prevent mosquitos is to dump standing water, but that can take time and you may not even get it all! You can repel mosquitos with citronella candles, sprays, or other gadgets, but what about using nature to keep your outdoor living space mosquito free? 

Here are the 10 most effective plants for repelling mosquitos:

1. Citronella Grass

Did you know citronella is actually a plant, not just a smell found in candles or incense? The most effective citronella plant looks like tall grass and gives off it's signature smell. Not to be mistaken for "citronella", some plants only have a citronella scent and aren't as effective because they don't contain the same oils. Citronella grass is perennial and has many other herbal uses including: relieving migraines, reducing fever, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, muscle relaxer.

2. Lavender

Lavender not only smells great, but repels mosquitos, moths, spiders, and flies! Lavender contains linalool, which can have the same effect on mosquitos as DEET. Mosquitos don't like the smell of lavender, but lavender oil can also be used to soothe mosquito bites. Lavender is a perennial herb.

3. Lemongrass

Lemongrass, not to be mistaken for Citronella grass, gives off a nice lemon smell. This plant is part of the same family as Citronella grass and contains citral, an ingredient used in some bug sprays. This plant is toxic to mosquito larvae. While this plant is safe to touch, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid coming in contact with the oils it produces. Lemongrass is a perennial plant.

4. Marigolds

Marigolds contain pyrethrum, an ingredient found in bug repellants. While they repel mosquitos, they attract butterflies and bees (and wasps). Deer and rabbits will also be repelled by marigolds. These annual flowers are great for protecting tomato plants and can be used as border plants.

5. Basil

Basil is a convenient solution as it is a common cooking herb and doesn't need to be crushed to repel mosquitos. It can be grown in your yard or in small pots and used to  create homemade sprays! 

6. Scented Geraniums

These beautiful flowers release a lemon-scented fragrance, similar to citronella, that repels mosquitos and flies. Crushing the leaves and using the oils topically can have a better effect. Geraniums are annuals.

7. Peppermint

Peppermint smells great and is toxic to not only mosquito larvae but spiders! Mint is aggressive and best grown in pots. It's presence alone can repel, or it can be crushed and used topically. Peppermint oil is also effective at relieving bug bites and is a perennial herb.

8. Catnip (Catmint)

Catnip is a type of Catmint. It's oil, containing nepetalactone, has been found to be 10x more effective than DEET. It also deters termites, cockroaches, and can be a great alternative to traditional sprays. It can be grown in your yard, or crushed and used topically. Catnip is a low perennial, and a fun treat for your furry friends!

9. Garlic

Garlic repels mosquitos, ants, and aphids! It also helps if you ingest garlic. It's active ingredient, allicin, masked our natural scent from mosquitoes. Garlic can be scattered around your outdoor living area or mixed with other oils to create a spray.

10. Bee Balm

Bee Balm, also known as monarda or horsemint, is part of the mint family. The beautiful flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and when crushed the oils can be used as mosquito repellant. This perennial plant is also anti-microbial and is best used as an oil.

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