Do you like to spend time outside in your backyard or garden, or on a deck or patio? But when sundown rolls around, out come the bugs.
One bug, in particular, can ruin any outdoor activity, and that is the mosquito, a perennial pain in the backside. Mosquitoes will ruin an evening meal or barbeque, and make you, family, and friends miserable and irritated.
This article will cover some of the best outdoor plants that repel mosquitoes to help give you insect repellant options that don’t require harmful chemicals.
Perhaps you’ve had your lawn treated, you’ve sprayed arms, legs, and ankles, and still, those nasty critters come out of hiding, having managed to avoid even the strongest repellents.
So, where have they been hiding? Moist garden beds are certainly a possibility.
Can Outdoor Plants Attract Mosquitoes?
Yes, outdoor plants can definitely attract mosquitoes. Only female mosquitoes will bite humans and animals for blood to feed on and for eggs.
Male mosquitoes like to eat certain plant nectar such as water lilies, papyrus, water hyacinths, or taro. If you have a backyard pond or fountain, especially with standing water, you have unwillingly created a breeding ground for these irritating pests.
Backyard garden plants can help repel mosquitoes. They can mask the human scent that attracts females, confuse them, and in some cases, repel them thanks to a strong fragrance.
Best Outdoor Plants that Repel Mosquitoes
Here is my list of the best outdoor plants to grow in your outdoor garden to repel mosquitoes.
1. Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum)
Want beauty and color to repel pesky mosquitoes? Chrysanthemum flowers contain pyrethrin, a compound that is used in insect repellents.
The Chrysanthemum is considered a long-flowering plant because it will provide colorful blooms throughout the spring and summer into the fall.
They can grow in partial shade but do best in sunny spots. Water generously when the soil bed is dry.
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2. Citronella Plant (Citronella winterianus)
Renowned as the most common ingredient in mosquito repellent, citronella is a beautiful perennial, clumping grass plant that produces a pleasant, but strong scent.
Because the scent is so strong, it can mask other smells, including the scent produced by humans and animals.
It’s easy to grow and can rise to heights of six feet tall. Whether cultivated as a potted plant or planted directly in your garden soil, it will get the job done.
3. Geranium (Pelargonium citrosum)
Geraniums are known and admired for their colorful flowers. Not only can you plant them in your garden, but you can decorate decks, patios, and porches with hanging baskets filled with these plants.
You’ll repel mosquitoes and create cascades of color in your outdoor area at the same time. Geraniums do not require a lot of water and prefer dryer soil beds. Water the Geranium, but avoid wetting the foliage.
4. Citronella Lemongrass (Cybopogon)
Referred to as Lemongrass or Citronella Grass, this perennial can be cultivated for mosquito control. It emanates a citrus-lemony scent.
Its foliage can be crushed and rubbed directly on the skin. It may not be as effective as a chemical spray, but it will not expose you to harmful elements, and by cultivating it, you’ll always have a supply on hand.
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5. Floss Flower (Ageratum houstounianum)
An attractive fuzzy, annual flower, Floss Flower contains the compound Coumarin that helps to repel mosquitoes. It is, however, toxic to humans and animals.
It’s a lovely addition to gardens thanks to the variety of colors including white, pink, blue, and purple. They perform best with full sun exposure and consistent moisture. Avoid watering overhead to prevent powdery mildew on foliage.
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6. Lavender (Lavandula)
A lovely purple blossom plant that adds stunning color to garden beds when flowering. The Lavender plant and its fragrant leaves are used as a scent in many cleaning products, as well as in sachet pouches.
The added plus to their great smell is that it repels mosquitoes. When included in a garden or flower bed, it will work to keep bugs away.
Lavender can be bundled into small bouquets and placed strategically to scent the location and discourage pests. Lovely green stems with rich purple spikes repel mosquitoes because they contain terpene alcohol linalool .
It requires well-draining soil and generous exposure to sunlight. Last but not least, it can be used to brew herbal tea. Lavender likes full sun and good drainage.
7. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family and smells like a cross between lemon and mint.
A hardy, drought-resistant plant, it’s particularly good for beginning gardeners and can grow in full sun or partial shade. However, the lemon Balm is, a rapid-growing, aggressive plant, so it may try to take over the garden.
You can contain it by growing it in pots. Foliage can be harvested and dried to brew as herbal tea and used for its scent to deter mosquitoes.
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- Grows well in partial shade
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8. Lemon-Scented Eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora)
The Lemon-scented Eucalyptus plant is native to Australia and distinguishes itself with a CDC stamp of approval.
These rapid-growing trees can grow anywhere from sixty to ninety feet in height. It does not do well in cold weather.
These trees do well in a sunny spot with well-draining soil. The root system is strong, so plant this tree far from buildings and pipes.
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9. Marigold (Tagetes)
A bright, vividly colored, hardy annual, the Marigold contains Pyrethrum which is used in insect repellents. Not only will you repel unwanted mosquitoes, but you’ll enjoy beautiful flowers in tints of red, yellow, or orange.
Their scent is particularly repellent to mosquitoes. They can be beautifully integrated into a garden bed, used as a border, or cultivated in pots.
If you happen to have a vegetable garden, consider using them as a companion plant to keep pests away. Roots are important because they repel mosquitoes due to Limonene.
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10. Bee Balm (Monarda)
The Monarda plant, also called Horse Mint or Bee Balm, is a stunning flowering plant that will reward you with white, pink, red, purple, or lavender blossoms throughout the summertime.
Monarda is known for attracting good insects like honeybees and butterflies, as well as hummingbirds. At the same time, it’s a natural mosquito repellant.
It is used in teas and jellies. The ideal growing medium is rich moist soil positioned in a sunny location.
11. Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
A natural mosquito deterrent and member of the mint family, the Pennyroyal plant works well as a groundcover. It is an aggressive plant that can invade your garden.
Its lovely colorful blossoms adorn gardens with purple blooms on vivid green leaves, and an added plus is that they attract butterflies.
If you crush the Pennyroyal, it emits a minty fragrance that helps to repel mosquitoes.. They require moisture and prefer partial shade, but need at least six hours of light daily.
Care Tips for Outdoor Plants That Help Keep Mosquitoes Away
Every plant has its own needs, so it is important to learn about the various plants that you are cultivating to help them to continue growing successfully.
Learn about soil, sunlight, watering and other needs for the plants to grow.
Soil for Outdoor Plants That Repel Mosquitoes
Add organic matter to the soil in your yard to increase nutrients in the soil bed.
Water for Outdoor Plants That Repel Mosquitoes
Moderation is the rule in watering. Too much water will drown plant roots, too little water will cause the plant to dry up and die. Remember some plants require consistent moisture. Avoid watering foliage, opting for watering at the soil level.
Light for Outdoor Plants That Repel Mosquitoes
It’s important to know the amount of light your plant needs. Some will like direct sunlight all day, while others thrive in partial shade. This is especially important for outdoor plants.
Pets in the Backyard
Discourage your pets from playing in your garden, especially if you cultivate poisonous plants. They may eat and ingest poisonous plant leaves, meaning a trip to the veterinarian.
Pets might also destroy a well-maintained garden with digging and romping, so it’s best to try and keep them away from plants.
More Tips for Repelling Mosquitoes Naturally
Crush and Chop
Many plants can be chopped up or crushed, both leaves and stems, to release natural mosquito repellent. Several can be applied directly to the surface of the skin.
Outdoor Plant Location
Position your mosquito repellent plants in the location where you need protection from mosquitoes the most. If you want to sit outdoors, fill the area with mosquito repellent plants. Create a border with the plants around the area.
Be Aware of the Season
Mosquitoes are most active from March through November, so choose plants that thrive during these months.
If you’re passionate about cooking, you may want to integrate herbs into your outdoor garden. Herbs that are particularly efficacious in keeping mosquitoes at bay include:
- Lemon Thyme
- And then there’s garlic.
So, if you’re a cook, your garden can serve a double purpose by keeping mosquitoes at a distance, while adding fresh and delicate savory hints to dishes and salads.
Other Alternatives to Prevent and Repel Mosquitoes
Remove any standing water in your yard including ponds, fountains, or similar.
Mosquito Repellent Products
Products that you can purchase to help in the prevention of mosquitoes include citronella candles and specific DEET insect sprays.
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Outdoor Plants That Repel Mosquitoes Final Thoughts
If you’re looking for natural “green” mosquito repellents, this list of mosquito-repelling plants is a great place to start.
There are plenty of ideas to help you enjoy warm-weather activities without having mosquitoes buzzing around and biting on warm summer evenings.
To achieve the best results, consider planting several of the above plants in your garden together to contrast these aggressive pests. A combination of selected mosquito-repelling plants will provide you with a better chance of keeping your garden mosquito-free.
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