14 Plants that Naturally Repel Mosquitoes and Bugs Out

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Image by Goran Horvat

Forget about toxic repellents that can put your family’s health in danger. The most insect-repelling plants do so with their natural fragrances, which keep annoying mosquitoes away and introduce wonderful scents throughout your garden.

If you don’t want to douse yourself or your garden in chemical bug sprays, you can grow some of these plants to help keep mosquitoes away naturally.

We discovered that plants and flowers don’t just clean the air and help you fall asleep, but they can also repel bugs and mosquitoes from your house.

Some of them have a strong scent, and others have a chemical compound that only bugs can smell, but all of them are beautiful and can be both decorative and beneficial to us.

We investigated what plants can be used for repellent purposes, so you can add them to your next shopping list. Plant these plants in areas where guests will often be, such as by a seating area or a doorway.

1. Marigolds

Marigolds, an easy-to-grow annual flower, emit a smell that deters mosquitoes. Grow them in pots and place them near your patio or the entrance to your home to keep bugs out.

Marigolds are also a popular addition to borders and vegetable gardens. Not only can they keep away mosquitoes, but they also dissuade aphids, thrips, whiteflies, Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, and tomato hornworms.

2. Mint

Mint is often used for culinary purposes, but it can also do wonders when it comes to deterring ants from coming into your home. Just sprinkle some mint wherever you find ants and watch them go away. The strong scent this plant gives off will repel any undesirable bugs. Peppermint essential oil also works.

3. Lavender

Lavender contains a compound called linalool that is a well-known flea, fruit fly, and cockroach insecticide. You can grab a handful of lavender leaves, put them in a spray bottle filled with water, and sprinkle it onto your skin and furniture.

4. Catnip

While cats may love catnip, mosquitoes hate it. This plant exhales nepetalactone that has highly effective repellent power. Just leave your catnip in your garden or inside your home and witness the effects.

5. Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums not only have beautiful flowers, but they also serve as a great bug repellent. They produce a substance called pyrethrin, which insects don’t like. You can either plant your Chrysanthemum next to other plants as a form of pest control or pluck its flowers, adding them to hot water to sprinkle on clothes or surfaces to repel mosquitoes.

6. Scented Geraniums

Scented geraniums seem to be a popular mosquito repelling plant. The favored scent seems to be lemon scented, which is reminiscent of citronella grass. The strong fragrance keeps several types of pests away. These fast-growing plants like warm, sunny, and dry climates, but if you are in a cold-climate area, they can be grown in planters with constant pruning.

7. Rosemary

Whether it’s for cooking or decorating, having a rosemary plant in your home is always a good idea. And to get even more out of it, its flowers have the power to repel any mosquitos in your path. Just add one cup of dried rosemary to a quart of water, boil it, let it cool down, and put the mixture into a spray bottle. You can apply it directly to your skin or pets.

8. Citronella Grass

Known for its distinct smell, citronella grass (or lemon grass) is the most commonly used natural ingredient in mosquito repellants. In fact, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden recommends lemon-scented plants such as citronella grass to keep mosquitoes at bay.

And the good news is that the living plant is the most effective at repelling pests. This low-maintenance plant does best in large planters because it cannot withstand frost, but in warmer climates, it can be planted directly in a sunny area in the ground.

9. Borage

Borage, also known as a starflower, is an annual herb in the flowering plant family Boraginaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region and has been naturalized in many other locales.

If you grow tomatoes or cabbages in your garden, borages can be your best friend. You can put them next to your vegetable plants as they can repel harmful insects and hornworms.

10. Floss Flower

This attractive annual flower makes great bedding or container plants. The floss flower contains coumarin, a chemical that helps repel mosquitoes—but it also makes it toxic if ingested by pets or humans.

11. Basil

The smell of basil is so strong that it can leave our mouths watering and scare away bugs at the same time. Its leaves have 4 repellent compounds, and you only need to rub them for the scent to be released. Put some basil on your windowsills to stop mosquitos from coming inside your house.

12. Bee balm

Bergamot, also known as Bee Balm, attracts hummingbirds and bees, but its roots also have an important role as a pesticide. They contain thymol, which can keep subterranean pests away.

13. Sage

Sage has a natural compound called caryophyllene that can repel mosquitoes and bugs. It’s better activated while hot, so you can throw a few branches of this herb into a fire and watch the insects say goodbye.

14. Allium

These bulbs, which include garlic and onions, release a strong fragrance that mosquitoes don’t like. You’ll enjoy the whimsical globe-shaped flowers of allium that seem to float atop long slender stems.