All winter we look forward to having the chance to sit outside once again, lounging with a cool, refreshing drink in hand, surrounded by friends and family. But while each summer brings new opportunities, new memories, and new experiences, one thing stays the same: those pesky critters creeping up on us, biting us until we can’t take the itch any longer. Yep, you guessed it, we’re talking about mosquitoes.

While some bug spray may hold you over for a while during your time outdoors in the summer, we have something else that can be helpful in keeping these blood-sucking pests away — plants! Here are the top 10 mosquito-repelling plants that we recommend.

1. Marigolds

citronella winterianus
A citronella plant

Marigolds are known to give off a rather distinct smell that mosquitoes aren’t a fan of. You can either plant new seeds or grab a potted marigold from a nursery nearby. Either way, make sure you place your marigolds in the area where you and your guests will spend most of your time.

2. Citronella

If you usually keep a citronella candle on your deck or patio, you know how helpful it can be in deterring pests. In fact, citronella is known to be one of the most commonly used ingredients in various insect repellents. Instead of a candle, try using an actual citronella plant — either planted in the ground or placed in a pot — to keep mosquitos away.

3. Lavender

Lavender can be your biggest saving grace when it comes to keeping pests out of your garden. Other insects and rabbits, in addition to mosquitoes, are just a few creatures that tend to stay away from lavender plants. Although you might enjoy the smell of lavender, mosquitoes can’t stand it. For the best results in growing a lavender plant of your own, place it somewhere that receives full sun.

4. Petunias

mosquito repelling plants with Beautiful yellow pink petunia flowers in garden over blurred nature background

Thanks to their licorice-like scent, petunias are the perfect choice if you’re looking to add some beauty to your garden and keep pests away. With their beautiful assortment of colors (choose from shades of pink, red, and purples), these flowers can quickly improve the aesthetics of your yard — so the fact that they also keep the critters away makes planting them a win-win!

5. Catmint

A part of the mint family, catmint (or catnip) can be found in both commercial plant form or as a weed. And though you may be deterred from choosing this plant due to its invasiveness, if you’re willing to put in the work to maintain one, you’ll be pleased with how few mosquitoes you see. A study by Iowa State University even showed that catmint is 10 times more effective at repelling insects than DEET!

6. Lemon balm

Like catmint, lemon balm is part of the mint family, and this plant does a great job at repelling mosquitoes. Also referred to as horsemint or beebalm, lemon balm is a great option for new gardeners, as it is relatively easy to grow and does well even in shady conditions — just make sure you have enough space to grow it!

7. Peppermint

mosquito repelling plants with peppermint leaves

A third plant in the mint family that can be extremely useful at repelling insects is peppermint. A lot of bugs, including mosquitos, are turned off by both the taste and smell of peppermint. However, even if you do get bit, your peppermint plant may actually be able to help you heal: When you rub the leaves on your skin, you can start to feel some relief from that terrible itch!

8. Scented geraniums

One of the more popular scents for repelling mosquitos is lemon, as it closely resembles the smell of citronella grass. These plants do best in sunny and dry climates, though you may be able to grow them even if you live in a region with a colder climate. A benefit to geraniums is that they grow quickly, so you can start your planting in the spring and take advantage of their repellent powers for the rest of the summer.

9. Basil

If you grow your own basil, you not only will help your yard stay mosquito free, but you’ll also provide yourself with a nice supply of this herb to use in the kitchen. Some recommendations to start with are lemon and cinnamon basil, but with so many varieties out there, it doesn’t hurt to try them all!

10. Rosemary

Bunch of green fresh rosemary herbs on rustic wooden table background

Rosemary is a natural mosquito-repelling plant that will work wonders in your yard. Keep an eye out for an increase in butterflies, too, if you use this particular plant, since although it works to repel mosquitoes, it’s also great at attracting other flying insects. Rosemary plants do particularly well in hot, dry climates, and they typically do best in containers.


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