What Plants Are Natural Mosquito Repellents?

Updated on March 14, 2018
Female Anopheles albimanus mosquito feeding on a human host
Female Anopheles albimanus mosquito feeding on a human host | Source

What are plants that mosquitoes love to hate?

There are billions of insects all over the world. Some are harmless, but some insects like mosquitoes can harm human beings. They transmit dangerous diseases like dengue, malaria, yellow fever, and encephalitis. More than one million people die every year due to mosquito-borne illnesses.

Many repellents used to control the mosquito menace are loaded with chemicals like propoxur, dichlorvos, and transfluthrin, which are harmful to human beings. Because of this fact, people are increasingly seeking out natural ways to repel mosquitoes. One natural and effective way to repel mosquitoes is the use of certain plants that mosquitoes hate.

13 Plants That Repel Mosquitos

  1. Pyrethrum
  2. Basil
  3. Marigold
  4. Citronella
  5. Clove
  6. Rosemary
  7. Horsemint
  8. Catnip
  9. Ageratum
  10. Lavender
  11. Veviter Grass
  12. Lemongrass
  13. Garlic plants

Try using any of the plants above to keep mosquitoes at bay. If you want to try making your own repellent using essential oils, I've included an easy recipe and variations of ingredients you can use to create it.

Pyrethrum | Source

1. Pyrethrum

You may know the pyrethrum daisy as tanacetum cinerariifolium or Dalmatian pyrethrum. This white-petaled and yellow-centered flowers were used by soldiers in the Napoleonic wars to repel insects. It is well known for its insecticidal properties.

Pyrethrum keeps mosquitoes away through the six esters known as pyrethrins, which are active ingredients contained in the flower heads known as achenes (the future seeds). It acts on a mosquito's nervous system, making it increase its movement and inhibits it from biting. Pyrethrum is very effective against mosquitoes and other pests, such as:

  • aphids,
  • pickle worms,
  • bed bugs,
  • leaf hoppers,
  • spider mites,
  • cabbage worms,
  • harlequin bugs,
  • and ticks.

Basil | Source

2. Basil

Basil is an effective mosquito repellent. Its characteristic aroma keeps mosquitoes away. I'd advise you to grow basil in pots and to place them in your backyard. While all varieties of basil repel mosquitoes, the following types are immensely effective due to their strong aroma:

  • Lemon basil
  • Cinnamon basil
  • Peruvian basil

Marigolds | Source

3. Marigold

Marigold plants bear yellow or orange flowers. They have a pungent odor due to terthienyl production. This compound repels mosquitoes and other insects. Farmers usually grow marigold as interval plants in their vegetable garden. Hindus use marigold extensively to worship their deities at home and in the temples, and Hindu women wear marigold flowers on their heads.

Citronella | Source

4. Citronella

Citronella is a perennial clumping grass. This natural mosquito repellent grows up to six feet tall. Its strong aroma masks other attractants to mosquitoes, making it impossible for them to find you.

You can grow it directly in the ground if you live in a climate where frost does not occur. It is advisable to plant them in the background behind small decorative flowers and shrubs. In cold regions, they can also be grown in a large pot, preferably with casters so they can be rolled indoors during the winter months.

Like most grasses, citronella plants are easy to maintain. They are sold as small plants in pots. You can transplant them into raised garden beds on the ground or into a large pot. They grow well in full sun and well-drained locations. It is advisable to apply nitrogen-rich fertilizers once a year during early spring.

Clove | Source

5. Clove

Clove plants (syzygium aromaticum) are well-known for their mosquito-repelling properties. They grow well in tropical conditions and come from the myrtaceae family.

Rosemary | Source

6. Rosemary

Rosemary herb grows up to five feet and bears blue flowers. It grows well under warm climatic conditions and needs to be protected during the winter months. You need to arrange for a warm shelter.

I'd advise growing rosemary in pots to make it easy for you to move them indoors during the winter months. You can place the pots in your yard during the warm months.

Horsemint | Source

7. Horsemint

Horsemint is used in many parts of the world to repel mosquitoes. This fast-growing plant’s incense-like odor makes it impossible for mosquitoes to find you. You can also pinch a bloom or two off the plant, rub them in your hands, and apply the residue to the exposed areas of your skin to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Horsemint is a drought-resistant and shade-tolerant plant. It grows well in dry, sandy soil and grows up to three feet. It is known to tolerate salty conditions. You should sow horsemint seeds in late summer in cold climate zones, either in the ground or in pots.

Catnip | Source

8. Catnip

Nepeta cataria,commonly known as catnip, is 10 times more effective than DEET, a chemical found in most commercial mosquito repellents. Whether it acts as an irritant or its odor acts as a repellent, no one knows. However, lab tests conducted in many parts of the world have proved its effectiveness as a mosquito repellent. This perennial herb is easy to grow.

Ageratum | Source

9. Ageratum

Ageratum is a low-lying annual ornamental plant also known as floss flowers. It grows up to 18 inches tall and usually bears blue flowers. You can find varieties of ageratum with pink, violet, and white flowers.

Mosquitoes find its characteristic odor offensive. Coumarin, secreted by ageratum, is used extensively in manufactured mosquito repellents. The plants grow well in full or partial sun and do not need rich soil. It is not advisable to rub the crushed leaves of ageratum plants on your skin.

Lavender | Source

10. Lavender

Lavender works as an excellent mosquito repellent. It is easy to grow and thrives in sunny climates. The plant grows up to four feet, and I'd suggest keeping lavender plants around seating areas. It'll smell and look good.

Vetiver Grass
Vetiver Grass | Source

11. Vetiver Grass

Vetiver grass is a tropical plant, and its roots emit an aroma that repels mosquitoes. You can use the roots to weave screens to cover windows.

Lemongrass | Source

12. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is nature’s own mosquito repellent that has a pleasant and fresh lemony aroma. Mosquitoes hate lemongrass. It is advisable to grow it in the landscape or in containers. You can place them on your patio, deck, or outdoor living spaces.

Garlic Plants
Garlic Plants | Source

13. Garlic Plants

Mosquitoes hate garlic plants because of their strong odor. I suggest you plant garlic plants in the border areas of your garden.

If you have a vegetable garden, do not plant garlic near:

  • parsley,
  • peas,
  • sage,
  • or beans.

Garlic helps the following plants grow better:

  • Fruit trees
  • Kohlrabi
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplants
  • Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Carrots

Try making your own insect repellent!
Try making your own insect repellent! | Source

DIY Mosquito Repellent

If you want to try to make your own mosquito repellent, it should be a blend of essential oil (5-10%) and a carrier (remaining).

Mosquito-Repelling Essential Oils:

  • Lemon eucalyptus oil
  • Citronella oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Castor oil

Good Carriers:

  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Vodka
  • Witch hazel
  • Alcohol

Mosquito repellent plants

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      • srirad0675 profile image

        Srikanth R 8 months ago


      • profile image

        Edith Mercer 8 months ago

        Very informative and truly helpful. Thank you so much for sharing.

      • srirad0675 profile image

        Srikanth R 23 months ago

        Thank you.

      • profile image

        anand singh bist 23 months ago

        very useful information.

      • srirad0675 profile image

        Srikanth R 3 years ago

        You are welcome! I am glad that the hub was useful! :-)

      • Lizolivia profile image

        Lizolivia 3 years ago from Central USA

        Thanks for the helpful tips to repel mosquitoes. I already have some of these planted and made a list to include additional plants to help keep the pests at bay.

      • srirad0675 profile image

        Srikanth R 4 years ago

        Thank you!

      • MarleneB profile image

        Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from USA

        This has been very informative. I don't like using chemical-based repellents, and I did purchase lavender plants to use as a natural mosquito repellent. But, wow! I have a number of the plants you have listed in your hub. I had no idea that many of the plants I already grow are plants that repel mosquitoes.

      • srirad0675 profile image

        Srikanth R 4 years ago

        You are welcome! :-)

      • srirad0675 profile image

        Srikanth R 4 years ago

        You are welcome! :-)

      • srirad0675 profile image

        Srikanth R 4 years ago

        You are welcome! :-)

      • wiserworld profile image

        wiserworld 4 years ago

        Very useful tips for the summer mosquito attacks! Thanks.

      • RonaldColona profile image

        RonaldColona 4 years ago

        Great hub. Eco-friendly ways to get rid of these pests. I like it.

      • profile image

        LCmom 4 years ago

        This has been most helpful! Great information! Thank you!

      • srirad0675 profile image

        Srikanth R 4 years ago

        Thank you! Glad to know that the article is useful!

      • Thundermama profile image

        Catherine Taylor 4 years ago from Canada

        This hub is fantastic and filled with useful information. I need to add a few more of these plants to my garden. Well written and researched. Definitely sharing.