Best Plants to Repel Mosquitos

Best Plants to Repel Mosquitos

Growing a garden can be more beneficial than just beauty and produce. Growing certain mosquito repellent plants can help to prevent mosquitoes from bothering you without the need for sprays, candles and chemicals. There are several plants that you can grow in your vegetable garden or backyard to prevent mosquitoes from the coming around the area in which they are planted. Consider planting them near your herb garden, sitting areas, patios, gazebos, children’s play areas, and other areas where you may spend a lot of time. Below is a list of beautiful plants that look great and are considered the best plants to repel mosquitos.

Citronella (Most Researched)

Citronella plant upclose, one of the best plants to repel mosquitos

The most common plant used as a mosquito repellent is the citronella plant, commonly known as the mosquito plant. Mosquito plants or citronella plants are great for planting around the yard in well-drained soil because they are easy to grow and a perennial, meaning they come back every year! Since they are planted in the spot, they are constantly repelling the mosquito, unlike repellent products that only repel when sprayed or lit.

Quick Tips for Growing Citronella: 6+ hours of sun, regular water, balanced fertilizer bimonthly, regular pruning, well-draining soil


Marigolds are another great choice and very popular mosquito-repelling plant. Marigolds have been used for centuries in or around gardens, porches, and other frequented areas thanks to their strong smell and multiple uses.

Marigolds come in various shades of gold, yellows, and oranges. Marigolds can grow up to 12 inches tall and produce beautiful flowers that are great for flower pots or beds. They are also a very common fall flower due to their fall colors and ability to protect tomato plants from pests.

Apart from its beauty, they are known for repelling mosquitoes and other insects in the home. Marigolds are also great for other pests because of the strong fragrance. Many rose gardeners plant them near or around roses to help detour other insects such as aphids.

Quick Tips for Growing Marigolds: 6+ hours of sun, regular water, balanced fertilizer monthly, well-drained soil


Ageratum is one of the best mosquito repelling plants. This picture shows the pale purple blooms of the flowers.

Ageratum is another beautiful flower that can help control your mosquito problem. Ageratums produce coumarin which gives off a distinctive smell that mosquitoes detest. Coumarin is commonly found in commercial active ingredients of repellents. Ageratum are pale blue and white and can be a great addition to a natural landscape.

Quick Tips for Growing Ageratum: 4-6+ hours of sun, regular water, balanced fertilizer monthly, well-drained soil


Catnip can be used for more than just cats. Catnip is one of the most powerful mosquito-repellent plants around. Recent studies have shown that Catnip is actually multiple times stronger than DEET. Catnip is also referred to as catnip or nepeta cataria. Check this article out here in the Science Daily.

Catnip is a flowering plant that appeals to cats but in contrast, is hated by mosquitoes and other insects such as ants, roaches, fleas, and beetles. It’s natural abilities to repel pest make it a good insect repellent for your garden and patio.

Catnip is a perennial plant that grows about 5 feet tall and produces small white or lilac flowers. It is an aromatic herb from the mint family and can be grown indoors as well. Catnip oil is a major ingredient in many natural insect-repellent sprays thanks to the ingredient nepetalactone.

Quick Tips for Growing Catnip: Partial to full sun, regular water, balanced fertilizer biannually, well-draining soil, regular pruning


Horsemint flowers in a field also known as bee balm

Another great mosquito repellent is horsemint. Horsemint deters the mosquito population much like a citronella plant. In addition to planting these plants, you can simply pinch a bloom or two off of each plant and crush them by rubbing them in your hands and simply rub them on your clothing and exposed mosquito bites. This will make the repellent stronger and protect you from mosquitoes.

Quick Tips to Grow Horsemint: 4-6+ hours full sun, well-draining soil, less regular watering, spring only fertilization, regular pruning, perennial


Yellow tansy flowers

Another daisy family member with a strong smell and insect repellant properties is tansy (Tanacetum). Unlike other members of its family, tansy’s blossoms have no petals, only centers composed of tiny flowers which can be used in a variety of ways to repel mosquitos and other insects. Thujone is the active ingredient is responsible for repelling mosquitos and other insects.

Quick Tips to Grow Tansy: 6+ hours sunlight, well-draining soil, fertilize in spring only, slightly less regular watering, perennial

Pyrethrum Daisy

Also called the Tanacetum cinerariifolium, this delicate little flower looks very similar to a normal daisy but has some real kick for insect repellant properties. It has natural insecticides called pyrethrins which are often used in commercial insect repellents. It is known to be effective against not only mosquitos but also flies, and fleas.

While planting this beautiful plant has many benefits the true insect repelling properties comes from using the leaves and flowers directly. You can crush them and spread them around, rub them directly on your skin or infuse them in oil to spray on your skin.

Quick Care Tips to Grow Pyrethrum Daisies: 4-6+ hours sun, cool climate, well-draining soil, spring only fertilization, and less than regular watering


Lemongrass plant

A tropical grass also called cymbopogon citratus, has been shown to be effective in repelling mosquitos. It is from the same family as the citronella plant and therefore has high levels of citronellal, the compound responsible for repelling.

This compound is also what is used in citronella candles and other repellent products.Lemongrass is easy to grow, gets tall and lush fairly fast which can really help create a nice border for a patio, garden or other space you want to keep mosquito free.

Quick Care Tips to Grow Lemongrass: 6+ hours of sunlight, well-drained soil, regular watering, monthly fertilizer in the growing season (summer)


Horsemint (mentha longifolia) is a member of the mint family and also contains the citronella oil that is known to have insect deterrent properties which of course includes mosquitos. Also known as spotted bee balm comes in a few different colors ranging from very pale pink to a bright purple and even white.

It is best used topically but can still have some repellant properties just from being planted in your garden. For the maximum effect of this plant you can use crush the leaves and rub them onto skin or make an essential oil. A bonus is that this is one of the strongly scented mints on this list that can actually be effective in deterring both animal and insect pests.

Quick Care Tips to Grow Horsemint: 6+ hours sunlight, well-draining slightly acidic soil, regular watering, spring only fertilization

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

This is one of the most popular mosquito repellant plants on the market. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a lemon-scented mint family member with tiny white flowers. Citronellal is the natural compound effective at repelling mosquitos but the concentration can vary from plant to plant.

I love growing lemon balm both inside and outside thanks to the strong lemony scent it produces. A bonus for this one is it can be used in cooking and teas as well. It’s thought that it is most effective at repelling female mosquitos when the leaves are crushed and spread or used in an oil or spray.

Quick Care Tips to Grow Lemon Balm:6+ hours of sunlight, well-draining soil, regular watering, spring only fertilization, regular pruning to promote growth

Lemon Thyme

Lemon Thyme

Lemon thyme is a less well-known and researched plant but does have some studies that state the two natural compounds, thymol and carvacrol, have mosquito repelling properties. This perennial herb grows to about a foot tall and produces small pink or lavender flowers in warmer weather. It can also be used for culinary uses and has a strong lemon scent which makes it fun to grow indoors and outside.

Quick Car Tips to Grow Lemon Thyme: 6+ hours of sunlight, well-draining soil, regular to moderate water, spring only fertilization

Plants That Repel Mosquitoes Indoors

Mosquitoes are blood-sucking insects that not only invade the yard but indoors as well. While many homeowners use commercial repellents to keep mosquitoes away, others seek alternative methods that don’t require harmful chemicals. One such method is placing particular mosquito-repelling plants near doors and windows, which are the common entry points for mosquitoes.

I have dogs and kids constantly going in and out our doors so doing everything I can to keep mosquitos out is so important! I personally keep lemongrass and citronella in pots outside my door to help but using a few herbs inside like lemon balm and rosemary continue to help repel as well.



Rosemary is also an ornamental plant with culinary uses, it is known for its rich aroma and is added to a wide range of cuisines. It can of course be grown outdoors but is one of my favorite herbs to grow indoors. However, the strong aroma is hated by mosquitoes. It contains the natural compounds camphor and cineole which have been shown to have mosquito repellant properties.

Quick Care Tips for Rosemary: Bright indirect light, well draining soil, once a week deep water, spring only fertilization

Easy Rosemary Mosquito Repellant Spray

DIY Rosemary insect spray

Steep a handful of fresh rosemary leaves in a cup of boiling water for about 30 minutes, then strain the liquid and mix it with an equal amount of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol. Transfer the mixture to a spray bottle and use it to apply the solution to your skin or clothes before going outdoors.

This spray should last 1-2 hours before needing to be reapplied depending on what you’re doing and the types of mosquitos in your area.

The shelf life is typically 3 weeks to a few months depending on storage. Store in a cool place away from light and heat.


English Lavender Field

This is another herb you can of course grow outdoor but I love growing it inside thanks to its beauty and fragrance. It brights any area you place it and is fairly easy to maintain. The essential oils linalool and linalyl acetate have been found to have mosquito-repelling properties. Not all types of lavender are the same, English lavender, or Lavandula angustifolia has the highest concentrations of those two mosquito repelling essential oils.

Quick Care Tips for Lavender: 6+ hours of sunlight, well draining soil, deep water once soil feels dry, monthly fertilization

Citronella Grass

Citronella Grass

Another natural mosquito repellent is citronella grass (cymbopogon nardus) which is a tropical plant that can grow up to 6 feet tall. This grass can be is easily confused with lemongrass but has a stronger scent, more blue tinted leaves and typically used in non-culinary uses. The compounds responsible for the strong mosquito repelling properties are citronellal, geraniol, and citronellol. This plant is commonly used for mosquito repellant sprays and candles. A bonus is this plant is also one of the all around best bug repellents thanks to the mix of natural compounds present.

Quick Care Tips for Citronella Grass: 6+ hours of sunlight, regular watering (keep soil more moist), monthly fertilization, well draining soil

In most cases, however, it is the leaves of these types of plants rather than the flowers that have the greatest repellent power. For humans concerned with mosquito and other insect bites, it is not enough to have a repellent plant nearby. Effective protection generally involves rubbing the leaves, or remedies made from the leaves, directly on the skin.

Some insects, like bees and butterflies, are highly desirable garden visitors. Others are less popular, with mosquitoes among the most annoying and potentially dangerous. Several flowering plants have some degree of repellent effect on mosquitoes and other insect pests.

There are other natural control methods for mosquitos as well like bird houses for purple martins, reducing standing water and reducing moisture in shaded areas.

Are there any favorite repellant plants on this list I missed? I’m currently growing lemongrass, citronella, rosemary and lemon balm but want to add horsemint soon as a new experiment!

If you’re looking for more solutions for pest control be sure to check out my article on neem oil which helps control a wide variety of insects, and diseases of plants!