While applying mosquito repellent can help repel mosquitoes in the short term, planting herbs, flowers, and plants that have mosquito-repellent properties can prevent these insects from annoying you throughout the year. Keep reading for nine mosquito-repellent plants for your yard and garden.
These beautiful flowers contain pyrethrum, a natural compound found in some insect repellents, and produce a natural chemical known as thiophenes. Together, these compounds can keep mosquitoes at bay.
The scent of lavender can repel mosquitoes. Another way to use lavender to ward off mosquitoes is by crushing the flowers and rubbing the oil on areas of your body that are prone to mosquito bites. You can grow lavender in a pot or in an outdoor garden.
The strong fragrance of lemon-scented geraniums, reminiscent of citronella, is known at keeping mosquitoes and other insects away. These fast-growing plants do well in warm and dry climates, but they can also be grown in planters and maintained with regular pruning.
Lemon Balm contains a compound called citronellal, which gives it a lemony scent that mosquitoes find unpleasant. Crush lemon balm leaves and rub them directly on areas that are most vulnerable to bug bites, such as around your ankles.
Citronella oil is one of the most commonly used ingredients in insect repellents. Plant citronella in the spring at least 18 to 24 inches apart and make sure it’s in an area that receives partial shade and has fertile, well-drained soil.
This flowering plant attracts bees and hummingbirds, but its odor repels mosquitoes by masking the smell of humans. Also known as monarda or horsemint, bee balm is a perennial that’s easy to grow due to its shade-tolerant and drought-resistant properties.
This annual flower contains coumarin, a chemical that is found in commercial pesticides and helps repel mosquitoes. However, this chemical is toxic if ingested so consider a different mosquito-repellent plant if you have pets and children.
While mint gives off a pleasant and refreshing scent, mosquitoes are turned off by its aroma. You can also crush mint leaves and rub some of the oil onto your skin as another way to deter mosquitoes. In addition to mosquitoes, mint can repel flies, ants, aphids, cabbage moths, and other insects. You can grow mint in an indoor or outdoor herb box in an area that receives partial sun.
Crush the leaves of thyme plants to release a volatile oil that repels mosquitoes. To grow thyme, make sure it’s in well-draining soil in full sun. If you’re growing thyme indoors, place it near a sunny window.
Some other insect-repelling plants and herbs that can help repel mosquitoes include catnip, rosemary, basil, sage, allium, lantana, fennel, and eucalyptus.
Other tips for repelling mosquitoes
For the most comprehensive protection against mosquitoes, follow these tips:
- Use an insect repellent: While DEET and other bug sprays have been found to be effective at repelling mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects, they contain chemicals and can leave behind a greasy residue after application. Consider using a natural alternative, such as oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). This natural insect repellent can repel mosquitoes for up to six hours and doesn’t leave your skin feeling sticky or greasy. It also has a refreshing scent and doesn’t contain harmful ingredients. Murphy’s Naturals’ Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent Spray is just one product that repels mosquitoes and contains plant-based ingredients.
- Remove standing water: Pools of standing water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. In fact, an adult female mosquito can lay hundreds of eggs at one time, which can turn into adult mosquitoes in a little over two weeks. Unclog your gutters, tip over rain barrels and buckets, and switch out the water in bird baths and fountains to prevent mosquitoes from taking over your outdoor space.
- Trim your grass and bushes: Mosquitoes like to hide among tall grasses because of the cool shade they provide. Mow your lawn regularly and trim any overgrown bushes and tree limbs to get rid of these mosquito hiding places.
- Use a fan: Mosquitoes are naturally weak fliers and don’t do well against a fan’s airstream. Place a fan in your outdoor area to prevent mosquitoes from getting too close to you.
- Wear long clothing: Since mosquitoes can target exposed skin, consider wearing long sleeves and pants when you’re outside. You should also wear socks and covered shoes instead of sandals to prevent mosquitoes from biting your feet.