25 Fragrant Plants and Herbs that Repel Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are downright annoying, sure – but they’re also quite dangerous for humans and animals. They’re responsible for diseases, infections, and health issues and kill hundreds of thousands of people a year. 

These biting insects cause health problems like the Zika Virus, Yellow Fever, and West Nile Disease, not to mention skin irritation.

While there are tons of mosquito repellents to keep them away and prevent bug bites, many contain strong chemicals that can be dangerous for the environment and our skin.

The good news is that there are numerous plants and herbs that can act as bug repellents – making them the perfect addition to your home, backyard, or garden. 

What Are Essential Oils?

essential oils in glass jars with yellow, white and purple herbal flowers

Essential oils are natural plant extracts containing all nutrients, aroma, and goodness. You can use them as an alternative medicine to support health and well-being. In some cultures, essential oils are a part of aromatic therapies, spas, and massages.

Distillation or cold press are common methods of essential oil extraction. Professionals decide the method depending on the herb or plant and its quantity.

Their core importance lies in natural extraction and organic processes. Bug-repellant plants end the need for using chemicals.

Are Essential Oils A Natural Mosquito Repellent?

essential oils alongside a sprayer with mosqito repellent sign on a leaf

In simple words, the answer is yes. Essential oil experts claim these oils are good for repelling mosquitoes and bugs.

The combination essential oil of lemon and eucalyptus is an effective mosquito repellent. Lavender oil helps to keep the mosquitoes away and soothe the itching bites or rashes.

These oils are safe for kids and do not harm the skin if applied. Essential oils are an active ingredient in many organic skincare products.

Which Scents Do Mosquitoes Hate The Most?

mortar and pestle and essential oil with lavender flower and scented lavender oil spray

You must be wondering whether mosquitoes could have any likes or dislikes related to smells. Yes, every living organism has a sense of smell, and they have some preferred smells as well. It is why you can use natural mosquito repellents to keep them away from our environment.

These blood-sucking bugs hate the strong scents and essence. The prominent smells are garlic, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, citronella, clove, lemon, and cedar wood.

You can enjoy ultimate protection from mosquitoes by inducing these environmental scents. They cannot stand these smells and will stay away.

Some herbs can be used in your food sources, which then permeate the skin preventing mosquitoes from biting your body.

Commercial Insect Repellents vs. Natural Repellents

commercial and natural insect repellent sprays, repellent coil and LED on gray background

Right now, in the marketplace, you have several insect repellents which have many synthetic chemicals in composition with a few natural ingredients.

People are bound to use them because they do not know the alternatives, but with some research, you can make your homemade bug spray using the plants that repel mosquitoes.

Use bug-repellant spray over a chemical-based repellent spray bottle to save yourself from damage. You can also have plants that act as natural repellents to save the infestation.

Manufacturers claim chemical repellents are safe for health, but they have potential side effects, these chemical repellents could cause skin infections, allergies, reactions, and more.

Synthetic Chemical Composition

synthetic chemicals in conical flask and petri dishes with molecular structure in background

Commercial repellents have citronella grass in their composition, but the odds are that they have many other synthetic chemicals in combination.

Using these chemicals on the skin is dangerous, can trigger long-term side effects, and often has a very overpowering, strong smell.

Natural Is Safer And Better

essential oil in glass jar with green leaves and bowl of essential oils composition

The natural repellents available in the environment are a safer option. You can use them to repel mosquitoes and bugs from the house and prevent itchy bites by growing these as plants or using them as essential oils, the choice is yours.

These are environment-friendly and do not produce waste products; moreover, they never harm your health and improve your lifestyle and mental well-being.

Having many mosquito-repelling plants brings you environmental benefits as plants absorb carbon dioxide and provide oxygen. So you can have fresh and oxygen-rich air in the surroundings.

These are not only good at repelling mosquitoes but also make your garden look stunning when grown in trendy cottage, backyard or chaos garden designs.

Mosquito Repellent Plants

mosquito swarm repelled by plants

Plant NameTypeUses 
Citronella GeraniumLeafy plantInsect repellent, antiseptic, treats infections
Floss FlowerFlowerMedicine, burns, headache, arthrosis
Citronella grassGrassSoaps, repellents, candles, aromatherapies
PeppermintLeafy Plant, Herb, members of the mint familyDigestive problems, natural repellent, essential oil
LavenderFlower, HerbEssential oil, aromatherapy, candles, bug repellent
Lemon BalmHerbTreat indigestion, stress, pain, repellent
CatnipLeafy PlantSedative, indigestion, Repellent
MintHerbCooking, indigestion, herbal medicine, bug Repellent
BasilHerbCooking, mosquito Repellent
CitrosumMosquito plantUltimate Mosquito Repellent
MarigoldsFlowerRepellent, medicine, remedies, essential extracts
SageHerbFlavor in food, mosquito Repellent
GarlicVegetableCooking, healing, medicine, Repellent
RosemaryHerbBug Repellent, essential oil extractions, medicine
PennyroyalFlowerFood, wine, medicine, Repellent
GeraniumsFlowerBug Repellent, stress treatment, pain management, medicine, essential oil extractions
LemonVegetableBug Repellent, digestion, medicine
BayHerbCooking, preventive medicine, mosquito repellent
Lemon ThymeHerbSkin treatment, medicine, Bug Repellent
EucalyptusHerbMedicine, Repellent, Essential oil
DillHerbFood and cooking, Mosquito Repellent
OreganoHerbBug & Mosquito Repellent, Cooking
MugwortHerb, Leafy plantMosquito Repellent, medicine
ChivesHerb, VegetableBug Repellent, cooking
FennelSeeds, HerbCooking, Medicine, Mosquito Repellent
Bee BalmHerbMosquito Repellent

25 Mosquito-Repelling Plants To Grow In Your Backyard

If the essential oils of plants can work against mosquitoes and bugs, why not the plant itself? There are many common garden plants that repel mosquitoes available with amazing insect-repelling qualities.

You can have them in your garden to protect yourself from mosquitoes instead of using expensive essential oil formulations.

It’s good to invest in mosquito-repelling plants, these are cost-effective, long-lasting, and have many benefits!

When you are into natural ways to keep mosquitoes and bugs out, then growing a mosquito plant is the best way. These insect-repelling plants in your vegetable garden or indoors will protect you.

Having repelling qualities, they control mosquito larvae development, penetration, and infestation, you only have to consider the environmental conditions of these plants, as not all of them are good for surviving in any environment.

So, you have to take care of their well-being, and they will pay you back with kind regards.

1. Citronella Geranium

citronella mosquito-repelling plants growing in backyard

The perennial herb has wonderfully fragrant leaves and is an amazing way to keep mosquitoes away. It is also one of the main ingredients of commercial mosquito repellents. With the whole plant in your house, you can save yourself from the bugs.

USDA Zones: Citronella does well in zones 9-11.

Type: These plants are perennial ones, meaning they will last for years.

Blooms: Blooming time ranges from late spring till early autumn.

Companion plants: Citronella pairs best with lavender, hibiscus, marigold, and lemon grass.

2. Floss Flower

Floss Flower with multiple purple blooms

These are not too strong in repelling mosquitoes, but their purple flowers look adorable in the garden. The thin leaves of floss flowers joined at the bottom look like purple fur placed on a plant. The flowers cannot survive in cold weather, so you might have to shift them indoors as soon as the temperature drops.

USDA Zones: Zones 10 & 11 are best suited for floss flowers.

Type: Floss flowers are beautiful herbaceous annual plants.

Blooms: These can flower from late spring through autumn.

Companion plants: Companion plants for floss flowers include petunias, daisies, and French marigolds.

3. Citronella Grass

Citronella Grass growing in backyard

It’s an effective mosquito repellent with wide use that you can grow in your kitchen garden. Citronella plant is effective in giving you good protection as one of the strongest bug repellents. It is also used to make citronella candles which are a pleasant way to save you from mosquito bites.

USDA Zones: 10-12 are the preferred USDA zones for citronella grass.

Type: Citronella is a perennial grass with narrow and long leaves.

Bloom: These usually bloom in summer and may continue till autumn.

Companion plants: Catnip, lemon balm, thyme, and zinnias are the best plants to combine with citronella grass.

4. Peppermint

Peppermint plant leaves

Coming from the mint family, it is a must-have plant in the house. You can enjoy its enormous benefits, such as a healthy peppermint tea first thing in the morning to flush your system with the benefit that it repels mosquitoes from the house. Having it in your kitchen garden is handy and a great way to use its fresh herbs whilst keeping the bugs away.

USDA Zones: Plant hardiness zones for peppermint are 5-9.

Type: Peppermint is a perennial plant.

Bloom: Peppermint loves to bloom in summer to late fall.

Companion plants: Pairing peppermint with oregano, cabbage, and beets are good gardening companion.

5. Lavender

lavender plants with green stems and purple blooms

The aroma of lavender has been proven to help relieves anxiety and stress and to improve sleep quality. The lavender plants keep you sane but drive mosquitoes insane due to their strong scent.

It works for moths and flies as well. Moreover, a DIY cat repellent spray having lavender can make your houseplants safe from pet attacks.

The plant nectar from lavender attracts bees which helps them survive with the added benefit of aiding all of your plants with the pollination process.

In today’s pesticide environment, bees have been greatly affected, and their numbers are alarmingly low, any help you can give them is vital to our human survival, with the added benefit of warding off mosquitos. Good for a dry garden, these are one of the most drought resistant plants around.

USDA Zones: According to Utah State University, climates suitable for lavenders fall in zones 5 to 10.

Type: Lavenders are not annuals but rather perennials with eye-catching flowers.

Bloom: July and August are the months when lavenders bloom.

Companion plants: Lavenders do best with rosemary, oregano, celery, and bee balm plants.

6. Lemon Balm

lemon balm plant shiny green leaves

Lemon Balm is one of the invasive species from the melissa officinalis family, so you must grow it in a container. Its’ refreshing scent will make you fall in love with the plant, which will grow deeper as it stops bugs, flies, mosquitoes, and other biting insects from moving uninvited into your place.

USDA Zones: Lemon Balm survives best in zones 4 through 9.

Type: Growing back each year, lemon balm is considered a perennial plant.

Bloom: The trumpet-shaped flowers show up in spring or early fall.

Companion plants: Top lemon balm companion plants include chives, tomatoes, oregano, and alliums.

7. Catnip

Catnip plant with green leaves and purple flowers

Catnip contains a substance called nepetalactone which is an oil that can cause behavioral changes in a cat. It’s good for keeping different types of insects and bugs away from the environment, but moreover, it’s adored by cats. If you are a cat lover or have them in the house, then this is the plant for you!

USDA Zones: Catnip is hardy to zones 3 to 9.

Type: This is a herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the mint family.

Bloom: Flowers bloom for one to two months from early spring to autumn.

Companion plants: Good companion plants for Catnip are squash, pumpkins, collards, and broccoli.

8. Mint

Mint plant with burgundy stem and green leaves

Mint is a plant with many uses and benefits, and keeping mosquitoes away is one of them. Mint smells fresh, and mosquitoes and bugs pick up the menthol in their scent receptors which deters them from the environment, so you win in both cases.

USDA Zones: With wide adaptability, mints can be grown in zones 2 to 10.

Type: Mint is a perennial plant with aromatic leaves.

Bloom: Summer months provide ideal conditions for mint to produce flowers.

Companion plants: Kale, marigolds, tomatoes, eggplants, and peas are good companion plants to grow with mint.

9. Citrosum

citrosum with dense green foliage and pink flowers

Citrosum is known as a mosquito-repelling plant that is known to keep you safe from bugs. However, some studies might claim it is not very effective, but having it in your herb garden certainly won’t do any harm as it’s a zesty ingredient for cooking.

USDA Zones: Zones 10-11 are recommended to plant citrosum.

Type: Citrosum is a tender perennial plant and can live for years.

Bloom: Pink and purple flowers are visible in the summer months.

Companion plants: Growers can benefit by planting sunflowers, daisies, or lavender alongside citrosum.

10. Marigolds

marigold plants with yellow-orange color flowers and flower buds

These cheerful and vividly colorful flowers are not just an attraction for the eyes but your protector. Being in your garden, these flowers repel mosquitoes giving off a strong fragrance, and are an ingredient of many insect repellents.

USDA Zones: Marigolds are hardy in zones 8-11.

Type: It is an annual plant that dies at the end of the season.

Bloom: Marigolds produce bright yellow and orange flowers from summer to late fall.

Companion plants: Squash, thyme, eggplants, and tomatoes are good choices to grow with marigolds.

11. Sage

Sage plant with green leaves and purple-white blooms

Sage in your backyard will help keep flying bugs and mosquitoes away whenever you have a good bonfire. Put some of their sticks into your fire pit or BBQ, and it’s done. Alternatively, you can bundle a bunch of dry sticks together with natural string, light it and waft the smoke around your home, it is said to also ‘cleanse’ your living space.

USDA Zones: Plant hardiness zones from 7-10 are best suited for sage plants.

Type: Sage is a perennial short-lived herbaceous shrub with gray-green leaves.

Bloom: Usually sage plants flower in early summer but the flowering period ranges from late spring till the first frost.

Companion plants: Rosemary, oregano, carrots, and cauliflowers are some good companion plants for sages.

12. Garlic

garlic plant with unopened flower buds

Garlic might feel odd, but having garlic plants in your backyard or kitchen garden allows you to repel mosquitoes and bugs. Garlic not only repels insects, but the plant’s leaves can be used in salads with the root bulbs of this vegetable for cooking, this has been linked to a long list of health benefits.

USDA Zones: Garlic can grow in zones 4-9.

Type: This medicinal and culinary plant is a hardy perennial.

Bloom: Garlic plant produces flowers in summer as higher temperatures induce flowering in this plant.

Companion plants: Best companion plants for garlic are dill, peppers, broccoli, and fruit trees.

13. Rosemary

Rosemary plant with needle like leaves and purple flowers

Just like basil, mint, and peppermint, you can have another cooking herb to do a double job in your garden and keep mosquitoes away. Rosemary naturally isn’t a small plant and will spread wildly if not tamed.

USDA Zones: Rosemary plants are hardy in zones 8 to 10.

Type: These plants are considered evergreen perennial shrubs.

Bloom: Flower development on rosemary plants starts in spring to winter.

Companion plants: Alyssum, oregano, marigolds, and lavender are the plants to grow with rosemary.

14. Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal with green leaves and purple-white flowers

This plant, with its’ delicate purple flowers, is a beautiful addition to your flower bed and a landing platform for butterflies; however, it keeps the other bugs away. So, you can protect yourself and other plants from garden pests using Pennyroyal.

USDA Zones: Pennyroyal grows well in zones 5 to 9.

Type: It is a perennial shrub that belongs to the mint family.

Bloom: Pennyroyal produces usually purple flowers in the summer season.

Companion plants: Mint, sage, thyme, rosemary, and basil are excellent companion plants for pennyroyal.

15. Geraniums

Geraniums with pink and red flowers

The beautiful-looking colorful flower plant works amazingly as a mosquito repellent. It even looks attractive when planted in a hanging basket having its branches drooping, loaded with flowers.

USDA Zones: Although geraniums are mostly hardy to zones 8-10, some species can survive in zones 3-7 also.

Type: Geraniums are widely grown perennial plants.

Bloom: Flowering can be seen in spring to late summer or even in early fall.

Companion plants: Some good companion plants for geraniums are allium, marigolds, catnip, and chives.

16. Lemon Grass

Lemon Grass with dense foliage

Cymbopogon citratus or more commonly known as lemon grass, is an effective and beautiful plant to keep mosquitoes and bugs away from your place.

Again, but this time not only another tasty ingredient popular in Thai recipes but also a lush border around pools, so perfect for your kitchen garden and backyard pool landscape.

USDA Zones: Zones 8 to 10 are best for lemon grass cultivation.

Type: Lemon grass is a long-living perennial herb.

Bloom: Lemon grass does not flower.

Companion plants: Echinacea, basil, mint, ginger, and lavender are good companion plants.

17. Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves in sunlight

The leaves of the plant not only make your cuisine exceptional but keep your environment healthy. These are good for keeping the bugs out and your environment safer without mosquitoes and bugs.

USDA Zones: These plants are hardy in zones 7 to 10.

Type: Bay is a perennial tree with aromatic leaves.

Bloom: Flowering season starts from spring till summer.

Companion plants: Some good companion plants for the bay are lavenders, daisies, coriander, and parsley.

18. Thyme

Thyme plant with small green leaves

Similarly, coming from a family of fresh and fragrant leaves and herbs, thyme offers dual benefits. You can enjoy each part of the plant in any recipe you like, and it will keep invaders out. Thyme oil also protects your skin from mosquito bites.

USDA Zones: Thyme plant is hardy in zones 5-9.

Type: These plants are perennial herbs.

Bloom: Thyme flowers in summer to early fall.

Companion plants: Oregano, sages, eggplant, tomato, and roses are good companion plants.

19. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus tree dark green leaves with water droplets on them

Eucalyptus is a full-sun plant that requires almost 8 to 10 hours of sunlight, so you must plant it strategically. However, it works amazingly to repel mosquitoes and bugs. Moreover, you can enjoy it in the kitchen and in daily life. Its’ oil can be used for coughs and colds, or you can add it to the bathtub for a muscle reliever.

USDA Zones: Eucalyptus is hardy in zones 8 to 11.

Type: This is a popular perennial tree.

Bloom: Eucalyptus produces attractive and fragrant flowers from November to April.

Companion plants: Verbena, basils, sages, and banksia are excellent plants to grow with Eucalyptus.

20. Dill

Dill plant with needle like green leaves

Other than mosquitoes, it is one fine herb that helps keep mites, spiders, and squash bugs away. It can work as your insect infestation protector, and you will never need pest control. Moreover, the culinary uses of its fresh leaves are unlimited and a great addition to any kitchen.

USDA Zones: These plants grow well in zones 2 to 11.

Type: Dill plant is an annual herb.

Bloom: Dill produces gold-yellow flowers in the summer season.

Companion plants: Good companion plants for dill are onion, cucumber, fennel, and lettuce.

21. Oregano

Oregano plant with green leaves and purple flowers

Oregano is actually a member of the mint family. Even if you are not interested in anything other than dried oregano on your pizza, the fresh one is much more beneficial. It not only adds to the taste but repels the mosquitoes from your surroundings, keeping you safe and healthy at the same time.

USDA Zones: The oregano plant is hardy in zones 5 to 9.

Type: This is a perennial herb plant.

Bloom: Flowers appear on plants from spring till summer.

Companion plants: Thyme, pepper, beans, and cabbage are great companion plants.

22. Mugwort

Mugwort plant leaves

The fragrant plant native to North America is one of the unusual plants on the list that comes with a pleasant flavor and strong bitter taste. It has a dominating fragrance that is an ideal plant to repel bugs. It normally grows in the meadows; however, you can bring it to your kitchen garden.

USDA Zones: USDA plant hardiness zones 3-8 are best for mugwort.

Type: Mugwort possesses a perennial lifecycle.

Bloom: Summer to early fall are the seasons’ mugwort blooms in.

Companion plants: Recommended companion plants for mugwort are thyme, rosemary, sage, and eggplants.

23. Chives

Chives plants with pink flowers

These flavorful plants belong to the onion family and have long, thin tubular leaves. Along with repelling mosquitos, the leaves can be finely chopped up and used in salads.

USDA Zones: Chives can grow in plant hardiness zones 3 to 9.

Type: These come back every year, meaning they are perennials.

Bloom: Chives produce flowers in summer to early fall.

Companion plants: Strawberries, beets, parsley, eggplants, and peppers are excellent companion plants.

24. Fennel

Fennel plant with root bulbs and leaves in a  pot

Fennel has a strong, aniseed taste that doesn’t appeal to everyone but can be delicious when baked in bread. It certainly doesn’t appeal to mosquitos and other bugs who will buzz off!

USDA Zones: Fennel plants are hardy in zones 5 to 9.

Type: These plants are short-lived perennials.

Bloom: Fennel blooms in mid-summer to late fall.

Companion plants: Some good companion plants include lemons, sage, peas, and cucumbers.

25. Bee Balm

Bee Balm plant with pink-purple flowers and green leaves

Bee Balm has brightly colored red and pink flowers that bloom in the summertime and is a shade-tolerant plant that you can grow easily in partial shade. With its fragrant foliage, it’s an effective natural mosquito-repelling plant.

USDA Zones: Bee Balm grows well in zones 4 to 9.

Type: Bee Balm is an easy-to-grow herbaceous perennial plant.

Bloom: Flowering begins in June and may continue till August or early fall.

Companion plants: Borage, susan, squash, peonies, and roses are some good companion plants.

Final Words

citronella plant leaves dipped in essential oil bowl in outdoor

When uncomfortable with chemical mosquito repellents, it’s good to go for natural alternative options such as mosquito-repelling plants. Using common garden plants, you can keep mosquitoes, carrot flies, pesky bugs, and much more out of your environment.

Most of these are herb plants with culinary uses, so you have added benefits, and while you may not be able to have all of these plants, you can plant a combination of flower and herb plants in your garden to take their maximum benefits.

These are not just good to protect you from bugs or mosquito populations, but they will protect your garden from other bugs simultaneously. Just pick out the plants according to their environmental capacity, as some cannot handle certain conditions such as cold weather.

If you don’t have an outdoor space, don’t worry, most of these plants will fit into small pots and work well inside. You can set up an indoor garden and enjoy multiple benefits of these natural mosquito repellents and culinary additions in the luxury of your own home. 

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