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Plants That Naturally Repel Mosquitoes

Outdoor space provides a great refuge in the warmer months. A place to unwind, decompress, and forget about general stress for a little while; however, these green spaces can also become host to an unwanted mosquito habitat. Many species of mosquitoes use containers of water as egg-deposit sites, but really any hot, humid environment can lead to unwelcome infestation. The following plants actually act as natural mosquito deterrents, largely due to the smell and essential oils contained in the plants. 


Basil essential oils are frequently used in natural mosquito-fighting repellent. Basil does well in a planting pot and likes full sun and moist soil. Another perk: you can enjoy fresh pesto all summer long!

Citronella Grass

The essential oil from citronella grass is used to make all those insect repellent candles that you’ve most likely encountered at summer barbeques. Be sure to buy the tall spiky grass (Cymbopogon nardus) and not “citronella plant” (Pelargonium citrosum), which is a type of geranium. Citronella grass prefers partial sun and moist, loamy soil that needs to be watered every day if you’re growing it in a container. This plant is a perennial in tropical climates, but can be grown as an annual in colder environments. 

Lemon Balm

A member of the mint family, lemon balm gets its distinctive scent from citronellal, an oil that contains the same properties as citronella grass. It’s incredibly easy to grow to the point where it can become invasive. Within a container, the plant prefers full sun to partial shade and lots of water. As a tea, lemon balm is known to actively aid in relaxation by naturally calming the nervous system.


Peppermint essential oil has been shown to repel mosquitos. Peppermint has the same care requirements as lemon balm and can also be added to water to brew a lovely and refreshing hot or cold tea. 


While many people love the smell of lavender, mosquitos do not. Lavender makes a lovely addition to any garden and can be dried and made into wreaths or sachets to keep your home smelling fresh (and moth free). Lavender is a perennial so expect it to re-emerge yearly. 


Catnip is yet another member of the mint family and a noteworthy scent that mosquitos are not too fond of. This plant does well in full sun and well-draining soil. Catnip can also become invasive in one’s garden as the seeds tend to spread quickly. If growing in a pot, simply clip off the flower heads when they appear. These can be dried and made into a lovely toy or sachet for your feline friends. 

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