The 10 Best Plants That Repel Mosquitoes to Get Now

By: Peter
Last updated:
plants that repel mosquitoes

Think that the high-pitched wheezy buzz and slight itch from a mosquito and its resulting bite are just a summertime nuisance?

Think again.

Mosquitoes actually kill more humans than any other animal on the planet, way before the Zika virus became a household concern. If you could take action to prevent these critters with plants that repel mosquitoes, would you?

Many people are. Contributing to the world’s greenery seems a much more pleasant and eco-friendly way of combatting mosquitoes than insecticides, bet nets, and screens, doesn’t it?

Plant some roots in your chair and read on to find out how you can find a mosquito cure at your neighborhood store.

Wait, There Really Are Plants That Repel Mosquitoes?

Indeed there are, and they fall into several categories to suit just about any gardener’s style and preference.

Food-Related Plants

Food and mosquitoes don’t really go together in most peoples’ minds, except if you’re picturing a nice picnic day ruined by the buzzing creatures.

But many food-related seedlings actually produce plants that repel mosquitoes, including:

  • Basil, which you can plant at table height or even right on your picnic tables
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic
  • Dill
  • Catnip (OK, this one’s more for your four-legged furry friends, who will also probably appreciate the riddance of the mosquitoes!)
  • Chives

A scent that is pleasing to you just doesn’t jive with the mosquitoes’ chemical makeup, so they’ll be buzzing off to a less noxious homestead.

Feeling Flowery

You can go the traditional garden route and still repel mosquitoes! Here are some flowering plants that say “Go away:”

  • Chrysanthemums (they actually have their own insecticide built into their DNA! It’s called pyrethrum)
  • Dahlias
  • Four o’clocks
  • Lavender (bonus for you is that you’ll enjoy the heavy fragrance wafting through the mosquito-free air)
  • Marigolds
  • Petunias
  • Sunflowers

You’ll need to arm yourself with information on these types of flowers, such as in what parts of the country (and temperature/climates) they do best and whether you can mix them in your flowerbeds.

The Citronella Shocker

Citronella has become such a cliche for chasing away mosquitoes, but researchers at Iowa State University reported that this is perhaps an unfortunate stereotype and that gardeners looking for plants that repel mosquitoes would be better served elsewhere.

In fact, they recommend crushed lemon thyme, which is actually easier on the pocketbook than citronella, too, and is more hardy, which means you can keep it going throughout winter.

Make It Minty

Mint has received so much attention in the category of plants that repel mosquitoes that we’re breaking it out on its own.

One of the benefits of using mint to repel mosquitoes is that you can choose so many different methods.

If you have a mint plant in your garden already growing, way to go! (And grow!)

Because it’s the oils that come from the crushed leaves that do the most work towards getting mosquitoes to leave you alone, spend time pruning the leaves and crushing them as much as you can. You’ll enjoy the fresh scent, but the bugs will not.

Feeling crafty? You can make sachets, but make sure to use thin enough muslin so that the mint scent can waft out. Crush the mint leaves before you put them in the sachets. And yes, you can buy mint sachets from crafters!

Take Care with Some Mint

Mint may seem like a fresh way to repel mosquitoes while putting a nice scent into the air, but you’ve got to take care.

Some mints can be toxic or just very harmful to the skin. Pennyroyal is one such plant. It is extremely effective in repelling mosquitoes, but it is disastrous to the skin and worse when consumed.

If you plan to crush pennyroyal, put on some gardening gloves first. Be sure to carefully clean your hands before you touch your eyes, mouth, or any open sores on the body.

A Note on Pets

Many of us will do just about anything to get rid of mosquitoes, but we don’t want to lose anyone – including beloved pet family members – in the process.

Keep in mind that some plants that repel mosquitoes can be deadly to cats and dogs, two types of pets most likely to be prowling our gardens like their own unlimited backyard buffets.

Pennyroyal, for example, mentioned in the previous section, is toxic to cats.

If you have an outdoor cat (or even outdoor-indoor cat) with access to where you plan to use pennyroyal, think twice. Your pet won’t know your choice of mosquito repellant is bad for it until it is too late.

That is a sting far worse than any mosquito bite can bring.

Ask before you buy at your local garden store, talk to your veterinarian, or go online to resources such as the University of California Davis Veterinary Medicine site, which details their “Toxic Plant Garden,” which includes the following plants deadly to pets:

  • Aloe (often mentioned as a good repellant)
  • Common foxglove and snowberry
  • Cyclamen
  • Oleander (toxic to people and animals)

Other research sites, such as Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, list common plant names that are dangerous to animals.

Sometimes, it’s better to just think outside the garden.

The Final Buzz

Whether you haven’t got green fingers, no room to place plants that repel mosquitoes, or you’re just simply tired of having a problem with these bugs, there are other options.

One solution people often use to solve the mosquito problem is a bug zapper. You don’t have to dig in the dirt or worry about watering this piece of equipment. With a quick installation that doesn’t damage your house’s exterior, you can be trapping and zapping insects in no time. But the number of mosquitoes it kills will probably be minimal.

Click here to read some reviews about bug zappers and find out which one may be the right one for your pesky problem.

Some are best for outdoor use, and some for indoors. But if you have a problem with mosquitoes a trap will be more effective. There are mosquito traps that emit chemicals or CO2 to attract the mosquitoes. Some traps have the advantage of being designed to trap mosquitoes, and beneficial insects aren’t harmed

These all come at a variety of prices, choose what suits you best and together, we’ll tell mosquitoes to buzz off!

Photo of author


Peter spends most of his time outside in his large garden. He has been fighting mosquitoes for a few years trying different traps and repellents without using agressive chemicals.