Mosquitoes can be a nuisance, especially during warm summer evenings. While there are various mosquito repellent products available, why not harness the power of nature? Certain plants possess natural properties that repel mosquitoes, making them excellent additions to your garden or patio.
In this article, we will explore the top ten mosquito-repellent plants that not only beautify your outdoor space but also help keep those pesky insects at bay.
Plants Mosquitoes Repellent You Should Have in Your Garden
Citronella is perhaps the most well-known mosquito-repellent plant. Its strong citrusy scent masks the scents that attract mosquitoes, effectively repelling them. You can find citronella in the form of citronella candles or as a perennial grass plant.
Here are the steps to use citronella plants as a natural mosquito repellent:
Plant citronella – The first step is to obtain and plant citronella (Cymbopogon nardus or Cymbopogon winterianus) in your garden or landscaping. Citronella plants produce the oils that repel mosquitoes.
Choose a location – Citronella prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Plant in a location where you spend time outdoors, like near a deck or patio. Citronella plants can reach 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide.
Provide care – Citronella is a perennial grass that is fairly low maintenance. Water when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil are dry. Fertilize in spring with a slow-release fertilizer. Divide roots every 3 to 4 years for thicker plants.
Allow plants to release oils – As citronella grows, the leaves release citronella oil into the surrounding air. This oil contains compounds that repel mosquitoes and other insects.
Promote oil release – You can crush or bruise the leaves of citronella plants to release more of the oil into the air. Run your hands along the leaves to release the oils as needed.
Consider interplanting – Planting other mosquito-repelling plants like basil, marigolds, lavender, and catnip among your citronella can enhance the effect. Just be sure to provide enough space for all plants.
Use the foliage – You can also crush fresh citronella leaves and rub the oils directly on your skin. The oil acts as a barrier that mosquitoes are reluctant to cross. Reapply after sweating, swimming, or drying.
With regular care and some bruising or crushing of the leaves now and then, citronella plants can release enough oil into the surrounding air to help repel mosquitoes from your outdoor spaces. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Citronella Mosquito Repellent Live Plant
Repel Mosquitoes Feature
- Citronella, when taken care of, is a beautifully branching plant boasting a great scent. Cutting back the plant will keep it from getting leggy, and will allow for more growth.
- Plant citronella about 1.5′ apart to stop the plants from growing leggy to compete for light.
2. Peppermint Plant
The peppermint plant (Mentha piperita) is a perennial herb in the mint family. It has woody, ridged stems that can reach 2-3 feet tall. The leaves are dark green, lance-shaped, and have a serrated edge.
The most distinctive feature of peppermint is the strong peppermint odor that is released when the leaves are crushed, rubbed, or bruised. This aroma comes from essential peppermint oil contained in glandular hairs on the leaves and stems.
Peppermint prefers to grow in full sun and moist, but well-drained soil. It can tolerate most soil pH levels. Peppermint grows aggressively through underground stems and can easily spread to form dense clumps.
Peppermint produces spikes of pink or white flowers in summer. The flowers give way to small, rounded nutlets that contain the seeds.
Peppermint plants are highly aromatic and are primarily grown for their peppermint oil and menthol content. Peppermint oil has a cooling and vapor-rubbing effect when applied topically and is used for its flavor in candy, gum, toothpaste, and other products.
The menthol and related compounds in peppermint also repel many insects, including mosquitoes. Simply having peppermint plants present – either in pots or planted in the garden – can help repel mosquitoes through the oils released from the leaves.
Crushing or rubbing peppermint leaves releases larger amounts of the oil, which can then be applied directly to the skin as a natural insect repellent. Peppermint remains evergreen through winter in most climates.
Bonnie Plants 4P5081 Peppermint Live Edible Aromatic Herb Plant
Grow Peppermint Indoor Plants
- Bright green leaves with a minty scent and taste
- Harvest often for a bushier plant
- Use in tea and other beverages
- Good choice for containers, as the plant spreads easily and can take over the garden
3. Marigold Flowers Live Plants
Marigolds are vibrant and colorful flowers that possess a distinct scent that repels mosquitoes. Plant marigolds in pots or flower beds near entrances to deter mosquitoes from entering your home.
Here is a description of marigold plants:
Marigolds (Tagetes spp.) are annual flowering plants native to Mexico and South America. They are members of the Asteraceae or daisy family.
Marigolds come in a variety of sizes and colors. They have single or double flowers that are yellow, orange, and gold. Some varieties have dark maroon markings.
The flowers form on branching stems that grow upright or spread outward. The foliage consists of textured, dark green to gray-green leaves.
Marigolds prefer full sun and well-draining soil. They are fairly drought-tolerant once established. Regular watering is needed until the plants become established.
Marigolds are fast-growing and begin flowering within 2 to 3 months from planting. They produce flowers nonstop from summer until frost. Many varieties bloom all the way up until an early frost.
Marigolds are popular garden plants known for attracting beneficial insects like pollinators, lacewings, and ladybugs while repelling pests like aphids and nematodes. They emit a smell unfavorable to many insects.
The flowers and foliage of marigolds contain compounds that have insecticidal and fungicidal properties. These compounds help them ward off many pests that affect other plants.
Marigolds are typically grown as ornamental plants in borders, containers, and as cut flowers. They add color, texture, and a citrusy fragrance to gardens. Some marigold varieties are grown specifically for their insect-deterring properties.
In summary, marigold plants are showy, vibrantly colored annual flowers with pest-deterring properties. They are popular garden plants grown for their extended bloom time and ability to attract beneficial insects while repelling plant pests.
4. Catnip Plant
Here is a description of the catnip plant:
The catnip plant (Nepeta cataria) is a hardy perennial herb in the mint family (Lamiaceae).
- Stems: The square stems grow from 1 to 3 feet tall and spread by underground rhizomes.
- Leaves: The gray-green leaves are heart-shaped, oppositely arranged, and smoothly toothed along the edges.
- Flowers: Small white or purple flowers appear in whorls along the stems from summer to fall. The flowers are pollinated by bees and butterflies.
- Scent: The entire catnip plant has a distinctly citrusy, minty scent from volatile oils in the leaves and stems.
- Growth: Catnip prefers full sun to partial shade and average to moist, well-drained soil. It grows best in hardiness zones 3 – 9.
- Uses: Catnip is primarily grown for cats, who are attracted to the nepetalactone compounds that have a sedative and euphoric effect. The leaves can also be used to make herbal tea for humans. The oil can be used in aromatherapy.
- Overwintering: In colder zones, catnip dies back to the ground in winter and returns from its roots in spring. For a longer growing period, it can be grown as an annual.
- Propagation: Catnip can easily be propagated through the division of existing root clumps or by taking stem cuttings in spring.
In summary, the catnip plant is a perennial mint that is grown mostly for its appeal to cats. Its distinct scent, square stems, heart-shaped leaves, and whorls of flowers make it an attractive ornamental plant for the garden as well, particularly for pollinators.
Live Plant 3-Inch Pot Catnip Nepeta Inside or Outside Garden House Plant
Grow Catnip Nepeta
- Use as a treat for cats, who love to smell and rub against its leaves
- Mature Height: 18″
- Plant in the sun or part sun
- Also makes a wonderful houseplant
5. Garlic Plant
Here is a description of the garlic plant:
• Garlic (Allium sativum) is an edible herb in the lily family.
• It has narrow, flat leaves that grow in a fan-like pattern from the central bulb. The leaves are generally 0.5-1 inch wide and 6-24 inches long.
• The bulb is actually made up of many bulbils called cloves that are tightly grouped together. Each clove contains the energy reserve to grow into a new plant.
• Garlic produces a flowering stalk called a scape that emerges from the center of the basal leaves. The scapes coil and terminate with a cluster of tiny purple flowers.
• The bulbs are planted in the fall and grow through winter and spring. The leaves die back in summer after the plant flowers and the bulbs mature.
• Garlic prefers full sun and well-draining soil that is moderately rich in organic matter. It grows best in hardiness zones 3 to 9.
• Garlic is cultivated for its flavorful bulbs which are used as a seasoning in cooking. The leaves, flowers, and bulbs also have a variety of medicinal uses.
• Garlic can be propagated by separating the cloves. Select large, plump cloves for replanting. Soft or sprouting cloves should be used for consumption.
• Garlic offers several benefits beyond its culinary uses including immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. However, human research is still limited.
In summary, garlic is an edible herb that is primarily grown for its pungent, flavorful cloves. The fan-like foliage, curving scapes and clustered bulbils that make up the bulb distinguish the garlic plant. Garlic is valued not just for its flavor but also for its potential health benefits.
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Grow Garlic Plant in Garden
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6. Lavender Plant
Lavender is prized for its calming aroma and beautiful purple flowers. While humans find the scent delightful, mosquitoes detest it. Plant lavender in sunny areas and enjoy its fragrance while keeping mosquitoes away.
Here are some key facts about lavender plants:
• Scientific Name: Lavandula angustifolia
• Type: Evergreen perennial herb
• Height: Reach 1 to 3 feet tall and wide
• Leaves: Gray-green, narrow, lance-shaped leaves with margins that often roll under
• Flowers: Produce spikes of pale purple flowers in summer that attract pollinators
• Scent: The entire plant is highly fragrant due to aromatic essential oils in leaves and stems
• Growth: Prefers full sun and well-drained alkaline soil. Drought tolerant once established.
• Uses: Grown for culinary, botanical, and aesthetic purposes. Leaves and flowers are used in teas, baked goods, and aromatherapy.
• Propagation: Easily propagated through semi-hardwood cuttings in spring or division of thick rootstock.
• Winter Care: Remove dead foliage. May benefit from winter mulch in cold regions.
• Maintenance: Minimal care is required other than occasional watering, weeding, and trimming of dead growth.
• Issues: May be susceptible to powdery mildew, spider mites, and aphids depending on climate.
• Benefits: Medicinal uses for hypertension, anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, etc. but human studies are still limited. Essential oil is praised for its calming and relaxing effects.
So in summary, lavender is an aromatic herb known for its fragrant flowers, gray-green foliage, and culinary/medicinal uses. Its drought tolerance and pest resistance make it easy to care for, though some monitoring may be needed. Propagating from cuttings allows you to expand your stock. Lavender is valued for its potential health benefits as well as its soothing scent.
7. Basil Plant
Basil, a popular culinary herb, is not only delicious but also acts as a natural mosquito repellent. The strong scent of basil leaves helps keep mosquitoes away. Planting basil near doors and windows or using its essential oil can provide protection against mosquito bites.
Here is a description of the basil plant:
• Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is an annual herb in the mint family. The most common type is sweet basil.
• Basil grows upright stems that branch and can reach 2 – 3 feet tall. The stems are square-shaped.
• The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs and may be wrinkled, smooth, or ruffled. The leaves can be green, purple, or variegated.
• Basil produces white, pink, or lavender flowers in spikes or racemes. The flowering stalks emerge from the stem joints.
• The entire plant releases a distinctive, aromatic odor when the leaves are crushed, rubbed, or bruised. This aroma is strongest during flowering.
• Basil grows best in full sun and requires evenly moist, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. It grows as an annual in colder climates.
• Basil is primarily cultivated as an herb for its aromatic leaves which are used fresh or dried in cooking. The flavor varies depending on the cultivar.
• Basil leaves and essential oil extracts have been used for their potential medicinal properties including antibacterial activity, anti-inflammatory effects, and digestion aids. However, more research is needed.
• Basil is easily propagated by stem cuttings, root cuttings, division, or by seed. Cuttings root quickly in water before planting.
In summary, the basil plant is an aromatic annual herb with square stems, opposite leaves, and spikes of flowers. It is most valued for its strongly-flavored leaves which are used as a seasoning, though the plant also has potential health benefits. Basil’s ease of propagation and dense growth make it a popular herb for the garden.
Bonnie Plants Sweet Basil (Genovese) Live Herb Plants – 4 Pack
- Large leaves with intense flavor & a wonderful aroma
- Garden use: Containers, herb beds, flower beds
- Culinary use: Italian & Asian dishes
- Plant in full sun for the best yields
- Plant after last spring’s frost
8. Lemon Balm Plant
Here is a description of the lemon balm plant:
• Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herb in the mint family. It has smooth, square stems that grow 1 to 3 feet tall.
• The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs and are round to heart-shaped with serrated edges. The leaves have a distinct lemony scent when crushed.
• Lemon balm produces small clusters of white or pale yellow flowers in summer. The flowers are pollinated by bees.
• The entire plant is highly aromatic due to volatile oils in the leaves and stems. The scent is stronger during flowering.
• Lemon balm prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade. It needs consistently moist, well-draining soil that is organic and slightly acidic.
• Lemon balm is primarily grown for the lemon-scented leaves that are used as an herbal tea, in cooking, and for aromatherapy. The oil is also distilled for commercial products.
• Medicinally, lemon balm has traditionally been used to promote relaxation, boost mood, ease minor pain, and support cognitive function. However, research is still limited.
• Lemon balm is easily propagated from stem cuttings or by division. Layers of soil over the rooted stems also produce new plants.
• Lemon balm dies back to the ground during colder winters, then returns in spring from its roots. It is generally grown as a perennial in hardiness zones 3 through 8.
So in summary, the lemon balm plant’s sweet, lemony scent; square stems; aromatic, serrated leaves; clusters of small flowers; and potential medicinal properties distinguish it as an herbaceous perennial in the mint family. Propagation is simple through division, cuttings, or layering.
The Three Company Live Herb 4.5″ Aromatic and Edible Lemon Balm
Edible Lemon Balm
- Perfect gift: Give the gift of health and beauty to your loved one. This beautiful living herb combo is the perfect gift for the plant lover in your life.
- Great for any occasion, as it provides amazing flavor to any recipe, as well as has some great aromatherapy benefits, all while adding a beautiful live touch to any environment
9. Catnip Plant
Catnip, known for its attraction to cats, repels mosquitoes due to its nepetalactone content. Plant catnip in your garden, but be prepared for feline visitors who may be attracted to it.
Here are some key facts about catnip plants:
• Scientific Name: Nepeta cataria
• Type: Perennial herb in the mint family
• Height: Reaches 1 to 3 feet tall
• Leaves: Gray-green, heart-shaped leaves with toothed edges
• Flowers: Small white or purple flowers that appear in whorls along the stems from summer to fall
• Scent: Leaves and stems have a distinctly citrusy, minty scent from volatile oils
• Attracts Cats: Nepetalactone compounds in catnip have a sedative and euphoric effect on cats. The plant stimulates play and chewing behaviors in felines.
• Growth: Prefers full sun to partial shade. Grows well in average to moist, well-draining soil in hardiness zones 3 to 9.
• Uses: Primarily grown for cats. Also used to make herbal tea for humans and catnip essential oil in aromatherapy.
• Winter: Dies back to the ground in winter and returns from roots in spring. Can also be grown as an annual.
• Propagation: Easily propagated through dividing root clumps or taking stem cuttings in spring.
• Maintenance: Little maintenance is required other than occasional weeding, watering during dry spells, and dividing root clumps every 3 to 5 years.
So in summary, catnip plants are a type of mint grown primarily for cats, who are strongly attracted to its distinctive scent from nepetalactone compounds. The heart-shaped leaves, whorled flowers, and robust, spreading nature also make catnip an attractive perennial herb for the garden.
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Rosemary is a fragrant herb often used in cooking, and its distinct scent repels mosquitoes. Plant rosemary in your garden or use its sprigs in outdoor fire pits to keep mosquitoes away.
Here are some key facts about rosemary plants:
• Scientific Name: Rosmarinus officinalis
• Type: Evergreen perennial herb
• Height: Grow 1 to 3 feet tall and wide
• Leaves: Narrow, dark green needle-like leaves
• Flowers: Pale blue to white tubular flowers that appear in spring and summer on branching stems
• Scent: Aromatic, resinous fragrance released when leaves are crushed
• Growth: Prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Drought tolerant once established.
• Uses: Grown for culinary use and medicinal properties. Leaves are used to flavor foods and in herbal teas and tinctures.
• Propagation: Easily propagated through stem cuttings or layering. Takes 3 to 4 months for cuttings to root.
• Winter Care: Remove dead or overgrown branches but avoid pruning in spring/summer. May benefit from winter mulch in colder climates.
• Maintenance: Requires little care other than occasional trimming to maintain shape, removal of dead growth, and watering during prolonged dry periods.
• Issues: May be susceptible to aphids, spider mites, and powdery mildew in some climates.
• Fun Fact: Rosemary essential oil has been found to improve focus and memory. This may be due to its effectiveness in combating free radicals that damage brain cells.
So in summary, rosemary is an aromatic evergreen perennial herb with needle-like leaves and blue flowers. It’s most valued for its culinary and medicinal properties, and its essential oil may help improve memory and focus. Rosemary plants are drought tolerant and easy to propagate, but occasional pest and disease issues may need monitoring and control.