Enjoy Your Garden Without the Bites: 15 Best Plants for Natural Mosquito Repellent
Creating a beautiful outdoor space to relax and unwind is an enjoyable experience. However, pesky mosquitoes can quickly turn a peaceful garden retreat into an itchy nightmare. While commercial mosquito repellents are readily available, they often contain harsh chemicals that may be harmful to the humans or the environment. Many people are increasingly turning to natural alternatives for a safer and more environmentally friendly approach.
By incorporating mosquito repellent plants into your outdoor space, you can enjoy a pest-free environment without worrying about toxic chemicals. In this article, we'll explore 15 of the best plants for natural mosquito repellants to make your gardening journey more enjoyable and sustainable.
Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)
Citronella grass is well-known for its mosquito repelling properties. It is rich in citronella oil, a common ingredient in many commercial insect repellents. And its strong citrus scent masks the attractant that mosquitoes are drawn to, keeping them at a distance. Citronella grass thrives in warm climates and needs full sun and well-drained soil. If you live in a cooler area, consider growing it in a pot or container.
Certain varieties of geranium have mosquito repellent properties, especially scented geraniums. Their fragrant leaves emit a scent that deters mosquitoes effectively. For example, Pelargonium citrosum, commonly known as mosquito plant or citronella geranium. It has been specially bred to have a strong citronella scent that acts as a natural mosquito repellant. Geraniums prefer full sun and well-drained soil, making them a popular choice for windowsills, hanging baskets, or borders.
Marigolds inject vibrant hues into your garden while also doubling as a natural mosquito repellant. Their unique scent repels mosquitoes and other insects. Marigolds thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, making them the perfect addition to a flower bed, border, or vegetable garden. Plant marigolds near entryways or seating areas to create a barrier between you and pesky insects.
Lavender is known for its calming scent, but it also works as a natural mosquito repellent. Its fragrant flowers not only add beauty to your garden, but also keep mosquitoes out. Plant lavender in full sun with well-drained soil for best growth and mosquito repellency.
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)
Bee balm, also known as bergamot or oswego tea, attracts pollinators with its beautiful blooms while repelling mosquitoes. Its vibrant flowers and aromatic leaves contain essential oils that naturally deter mosquitoes, keeping them away from your outdoor spaces. Bee balm prefers moist soil and partial shade, making it a lovely addition to garden borders.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm is a perennial herb with lemon-scented leaves that deters mosquitoes, while making a delicious herbal tea. It is easy to grow and thrive in a variety of conditions, although it prefers part shade and moist soil. Plant lemon balm in containers and near outdoor seating areas, or crush its leaves and rub them on the skin for added protection against mosquito bites.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil is a versatile herb often used in cooking, but it also has mosquito repellent properties. Its strong scent, especially of varieties such as lemon basil or cinnamon basil, is effective at repelling mosquitoes. Basil thrives in warm climates and likes full sun. Plant basil in pots or garden beds to enjoy its culinary uses while keeping those bothersome pests away. Or as a companion plant in the vegetable garden for double benefits, for example, growing tomatoes with basil improve their flavor and repels mosquitoes, aphids and hornworms.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary is a versatile herb that will add flavor to your dishes while also repelling mosquitoes. Its woody aroma acts as a natural deterrent to mosquitoes, making it an excellent addition to outdoor spaces. Rosemary thrives in well-drained soil and likes full sun. Plant it in pots or use it as a hedge to create a natural barrier against mosquitoes.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Catnip, a member of the mint family, contains a compound called nepetalactone that repels mosquitoes. Studies have shown that catnip is more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, a chemical commonly found in commercial repellents. This perennial herb is easy to grow in full sun and thrives in partial shade, be aware that it can spread quickly so regular pruning may be necessary. Also bewarel as it may attract nearby feline friends to your garden.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Spearmint is a refreshing herb whose fragrant leaves can be used to make a refreshing cup of tea while also repelling mosquitoes. It thrives in moist soil and partial shade. Note that spearmint is easy to grow and spreads quickly, so it's best grown in pots or designated garden beds.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Peppermint, with its invigorating aroma, is another plant that displeases mosquitoes. The high concentration of menthol in its leaves acts as a natural mosquito repellent. Plant peppermint in pots or as a ground cover plant in your garden to deter mosquitoes and add a refreshing touch to your outdoor spaces.
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
Pennyroyal is a low growing perennial herb with a strong minty fragrance and has been used for centuries as a natural insect repellent. Its natural oils have mosquito repellent properties and is available in crushed leaves or in the form of an essential oil. However, it is important to note that pennyroyal oil can be toxic if ingested, so it is best to avoid growing it where pets or children can reach it.
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sage is known for its culinary uses and medicinal properties. Not only does it add flavor to your dishes, but its distinct aroma also acts as a natural mosquito repellent. Sage flourishes in well-drained soil and requires ample sunlight, making it an ideal choice for garden borders or patio planters near seating areas.
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Tansy is a hardy perennial herb with fern-like leaves and bright yellow button-shaped flowers. It contains a natural compound called thujone, which repels mosquitoes effectively. Plant tansy around your outdoor spaces, such as patios or seating areas, can create a barrier against these unwanted insects.
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
Wormwood is a perennial shrub with silver-gray foliage that emits a strong fragrance, deterring mosquitoes from invading your outdoor spaces. Wormwood thrives in dry soil and likes full sun and well-drained soil, making it an ideal plant for dry areas or rock gardens. Plant wormwood as a border or in pots to create a barrier around your outdoor spaces, keeping mosquitoes at bay.
By incorporating these 15 natural mosquito repellent plants, you can enjoy your outdoor spaces without the hassle of mosquito bites. Whether you prefer the citrus scent of citronella grass, the refreshing aroma of lavender, or the culinary benefits of basil, there's a mosquito repellent plant that suits your preferences. Embrace organic and sustainable gardening practices by growing these plants to create a safe, non-toxic haven for yourself and your family. With these natural solutions, you can fully enjoy the beauty and tranquility of your garden without the bites.
(Note: While these plants have mosquito repellent properties, it is important to remember that their effectiveness may vary depending on factors such as location, climate, and mosquito species. Additional measures such as removing standing water, using window screens, and wearing protective clothing are also recommended for comprehensive mosquito control.)