Plants that repel mosquitoes naturally can be a life-saver in the summer months. Whilst the warmer summer months bring us back-yard barbeques, pool parties and late night drinks on the porch, they also bring our most famous uninvited guest; mosquitoes.
We all know how annoying these pesky critters can be, but it’s the health risks they bring that are of the greatest concern.
Not only can mosquitoes transmit dangerous diseases such as Dengue fever, Zika Virus, and Malaria to humans, but they can also cause heartworm in dogs too.
To keep you and your family safe this summer, try planting some of these mosquito repelling plants in your garden.
These plants naturally deter mosquitoes thanks to the natural fragrances they emit, signalling to the mosquitoes that it’s not a hospitable environment.
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The good news? Some of these plants not only keep mosquitoes away, but also flies, gnats, spiders and other insects.
Do Plants Actually Deter Mosquitoes?
Good question. The answer is yes, but you’ve got to do it the right way. Just planting some of these plants won’t cure your mosquito problem instantly, here’s why;
Whilst the strong smells emitted from these plants can mask the scent of people (something that attracts mosquitos) and prevent them from wanting to get close enough to bite you, it’s their oils that are most potent.
The aroma of these mosquito repelling plants needs to be in the air around you, and ideally on your skin.
To get the maximum effect of these natural mosquito repellent plants, you’ll want to crush it in your hand and let it release its essential oils and fragrances.
Then, apply their oil to your skin, just make sure to do a patch test first.
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17 of the Best Plants That Repel Mosquitoes Naturally
1) Citronella Grass
When it comes to mosquito repelling plants, Citronella Grass is the most popular.
Commonly found on the coast of Asia, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden says that keeping Citronella Plants and other lemon scented varieties helps to deter mosquitoes naturally.
Furthermore, when a citronella leaf is crushed and rubbed onto the skin, the pleasant aroma naturally repels mosquitoes for a few hours.
Citronella Grass thrives in areas with direct sunlight and well-drained soil.
Make sure to buy either the Cybopogon nardus or Citronella winterianus types, which are the true varieities of the plant that have mosquito repelling qualities.
2) Bee Balm
Bee Balm’s strong incense-like odour works by confusing mosquitoes; masking the scents they are naturally drawn to.
Bee Balm is one of many perennial plants that repel mosquitoes. This gorgeous perennial plant thrives in almost any soil type, but prefers moist, well-drained soil.
Just a word of warning, Bee Balm is an invasive species, so it’s best to keep it contained to a planter on the patio.
According to Southern Living, mosquitoes can’t stand Lavender’s heady scent.
Prized for its purple bloom and distinctive fragrance, Lavender is an easy to find natural mosquito repellent.
Not all lavender can be planted outdoors though; this one might be best for indoor planters.
This easy to plant herb has fragrant leaves, thrives in hot, humid climates, and is one of the few plants that don’t need to be crushed to repel mosquitoes. It’s pungent smell alone deters them away.
A study from 2009 showed that basil essential oil is also highly toxic to mosquito larvae. Seen as all types of Basil keep mosquitoes away, feel free to experiment.
Basil likes to be kept damp, needs good drainage and enjoys lots of sun.
Cat Nip, also known as Cat Mint has been shown to be ten times as effective as DEET, the chemical used in most bug repellents when warding off Mosquitoes.
This easy to care for and low maintenance plant contains the chemical nepetalactone, which is a strong mosquito repellent and feline attractant.
Just note it can be invasive, so it’s best not to plant it in a garden bed.
If you’ve ever walked through a garlic field, you’ll know how pungent the smell is. It’s this strong smell that is a natural deterrent for mosquitoes.
Consuming garlic may also provide a mild repellent affect too.
Garlic also helps to repel ants and aphids. It’s best grown in an area which received full, direct sunlight, with well-drained soil.
Known for their beautiful gold and sun-burnt orange blooms, Marigolds attract bees and butterflies, but naturally repel mosquitoes.
Marigold’s contain a strong compound called pyrethrum, also known as nature’s insecticide.
This easy to grow mosquito repelling plant likes full, direct sun and well-drained soil.
8) Lemon Balm
Thanks to Lemon Balm’s heavily perfumed foliage, mosquitoes won’t flock to your garden.
Also known as sweet balm, Lemon Balm contains high levels of citronellal, a natural lemon scent that wards off the pesky critters.
Though Lemon Balm can be planted in your garden, it is an invasive species, so it’s best to keep it contained to a planter.
9) Lemon Grass
Lemongrass provides the same mosquito-repelling effects as Lemon Balm.
It’s high concentration of Citral is highly toxic to mosquitoes and naturally wards of mosquito larvae.
Pregnant women and new moms however, should stay away from Lemongrass as it has been shown to cause birth defects.
Also, keep away from dogs, cats and other pets as it’s toxic to them and can cause muscle weakness and vomiting according to the ASPCA.
Commonly used in spiritual cleansing rituals, when Sage is burnt it emits an ashy, bonfire smell which may help to ward off mosquitoes.
Whether you’re into spirituality or not, set some sage leaves alight and let its warming smoke do the work.
Rosemary may be popular in the kitchen, but it’s also one to grow outdoors if you want to keep mosquitoes away.
Rosemary’s natural scent attracts butterflies, bees and hummingbirds but naturally deters mosquitoes, vegetable bugs and flies.
Rosemary oil is also safe to apply to most skin types too.
Peppermint, although a fast grower and technically an invasive species, deserves a spot on this list due to its mosquito repelling properties.
Ideally applied topically to the skin, peppermint oil naturally deters mosquitoes from biting you. Peppermint is also toxic to mosquito larvae.
13) Scented Geranium
These beautiful plants are slightly lemon scented.
Their high concentration of Citronella Oil makes them a perfect addition to any mosquito repelling garden, not to mention Scented Geraniums’ vibrant colors look stunning in full bloom.
14) Floss Flower
Floss Flowers secrete a compound called coumarin, which is widely used in commercial insect repellent sprays.
Floss Flowers also emit a smell that mosquitoes find particularly offensive, making them a natural mosquito repelling plant.
Don’t apply their oil to your skin though, as it’s known to be irritating.
15) Penny Royal
Penny Royal is an all-round repellent. Not only does it repel mosquitoes, but also fleas and flies.
Keep in mind Penny Royal often needs to be crushed in order to activate its strong repelling properties.
It’s best to keep this plant away from children and pregnant women as it can be toxic.
These daisy-like flowers repel mosquitoes through their naturally strong fragrance and pyrethrum oils.
To maximise its mosquito repelling effect, plant it with Lemon Grass and Citronella.
17) Pitcher Plant
I thought to include the Pitcher Plant in case you’re already facing a mosquito problem.
Pitcher Plants don’t repel mosquitoes, they attract them, but can lure them away from other areas of the garden thanks to their intoxicating smell.
Other Natural Mosquito Repellents
Avoid keeping stagnant water outside. Mosquitoes are attracted to still, stagnant water. If you have a birdbath for example, make sure to clean its container once a week.
The same goes for clogged raingutters, old containers and empty flowerpots.
You should also cut back any high grass or brush that creates cool, shady, or damp spots that mosquitoes love.
Certain animals naturally keep mosquito populations down. Fish, bats, toads, swallows and dragonflies all prey on mosquitoes and can help to keep their population down.
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