Mosquito Repellent Plants: 25 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes Naturally!
A Comprehensive List of Mosquito Repellent Plants
- 1 A Comprehensive List of Mosquito Repellent Plants
- 2 25 Mosquito Repellent Plants
- 3 More Posts You’ll Love
- 4 Best Mosquito Repellents
- 5 Buying guide for best mosquito repellents
- 6 Benefits of mosquito repellents
- 7 Types of mosquito repellents
- 8 Considerations for mosquito repellents
This post may contain affiliate links.
We have no screens around our porch so we use mosquito repellent plants to keep those pesky insects away. Here is a list of 25 plants that repel mosquitoes!
If you ask any of my friends, they’ll tell you that I practically live outside on my deck. From coffee to meals to just sitting in the late evening watching the hummingbirds, I’m out there a lot. However, there are no screens surrounding it, so we need creative ways to keep mosquitoes away. Plants are natural and fun!
Plants that Repel Mosquitos
To begin with, you can plant most of these plants directly into the ground or keep them in pots. Also, some have lingering scents that just need a light breeze to spread the odor while others benefit you more with a gentle brush by. Lastly, some plants that repel mosquitoes do better if you crush the leaves to release the oils.
25 Mosquito Repellent Plants
Geraniums contain geraniol, which mosquitoes hate! Most all geraniums contain varying amounts of geraniol, but the regular florist varieties contain the most. Geraniums are not cold hardy but you can grow them outdoors during the summer months. They enjoy full sun.
2. Citronella Geraniums
Citronella Geraniums are not true citronella plants (we’ll get to that one next) but are a type of geranium. Yes, both are great as mosquito repellent plants, but I list them separately because the main oils are similar but different. So citronella geranium contains higher amounts of citronellol, the main constituent in citronella grass. Which is also the oil that is used in candles and torch fuel to repel mosquitoes.
3. Citronella Grass
Citronella Grass is a tropical grass that contains high amounts of citronellol. It can be confused with lemongrass but is a different species of grass. It can also be harder to find in garden centers.
Lemongrass plants are also great mosquito repellent plants because they contain high amounts of both citral and geraniol, both of which repel mosquitoes. To a lesser degree, it also contains some citronellol along with limonene and linalool, which are often used in “natural” commercial mosquito repellents. Lemongrass is easier to find and grows very well in most damp climates. It can get very large and the clumps may need to be divided. In some areas, it can overwinter very well.
5. Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm contains higher amounts of rosmarinic acid, along with citronellol and geraniol. Rosmarinic acid is found in rosemary. Lemon Balm makes a great tea and is very easy to grow. It can become invasive if the tiny black seeds are allowed to spread into the lawn and sprout. I let mine do this on purpose. When I mow near them, they get chopped up and release the oils into the air.
Lavender contains pinene and linalool, both of which make lavender plants great mosquito repellent plants. Many other compounds make up lavender, but these two are largely responsible for repelling mosquitoes. Lavender grows best in well-drained soil. It can produce flowers the first year, but the leaves often contain as much oil as the flowers.
There’s an old saying that if you plant marigolds near your potatoes, you won’t get potato bugs. Turns out it’s because of tagetone and to a smaller degree limonene. Tagetone repels mosquitoes very well just by being present in the garden. Marigolds are annuals that come in short or tall plants with a variety of yellows and oranges.
Basils are great mosquito repellent plants because they contain geraniol, among other constituents. Some basils such as Thai, Holy Basil, and African Blue Basil, also contain eugenol. Some other basils contain eugenol but to a lesser degree.
Eucalyptus is ornamental in most areas, but in some, such as Australia and the Gulf Coast of the southern USA, it grows so well that it can be considered a weed. It temperate areas, you can keep it in a pot and move it in each winter. Eucalyptus contains mainly pinene and limonene and is well known as a mosquito repellent.
Rosemary is well known as a culinary herb. It contains rosmarinic acid along with pinene and borneol, another compound that makes them great mosquito repellent plants.
Peppermint contains mostly menthol, which mosquitoes dislike.
Lantana is native to Africa and has naturalized itself into parts of the Everglades among other places. It is mostly used as an ornamental, but the leaves have an odor that can help keep mosquitoes at bay. Two newly discovered compounds contained in the lantana plant (lanatoside and lantanone) are at present being studied.
13. Monarda (Bee Balm)
Monarda, or bee balm, contains thymol, also present in thyme, and pinene. Dried crushed leaves work best as a mosquito repellent.
Catnip is one of the mints and contains menthol among others.
Pennyroyal is another mint that has strong citral and pinene esters. It also contains pugelone which has been used by Native Americans as an abortifacient. Used in landscaping, it rarely poses a threat.
16. Lemon Thyme
Lemon Thyme contains thymol and can help keep mosquitoes away.
Sage varieties work as mosquito repellent plants because they contain cineole and camphor. To get the most repelling benefit it is best to burn the sage and allow the smoke to linger.
Chamomile is a smaller gentle plant best known for tea. Pinene is largely responsible for its ability to repel mosquitoes.
Nasturtiums are controversial as far as their ability to repel mosquitoes. Some people swear by them and say they are better than most other mosquito repellent plants.
Onions contain sulfur compounds that mosquitoes don’t like.
Garlic also contains these sulfur compounds. Yes, onions and garlic always seem to go together. Whether it’s for culinary use or use as mosquito repellent plants!
Oregano contains thymol and pinene, both of which repel mosquitoes.
I’m not sure what is in petunias or if they are officially on this list, but having them on my deck, I notice fewer mosquitoes.
Yarrow contains camphor, another mosquito repelling compound.
Chrysanthemums contain many compounds that mosquitoes hate. They bloom later towards fall giving you color later in the season.
Lastly, don’t forget to try our homemade mosquito repellent and our homemade tick repellent. Both are natural and very effective!
Have you used mosquito repellent plants? Tell us about it!
About Debra Maslowski
Debra is a master gardener, a certified herbalist, a natural living instructor and more. She taught Matt and Betsy how to make soap so they decided to bring her on as a staff writer! Debra recently started an organic herb farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can even purchase her handmade products on Amazon! Connect with Debra Maslowski on G+.
PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for us to support our website activities, we may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this website.
DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Natural™ is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional. If you rely solely upon this advice you do so at your own risk. Read full Disclaimer & Disclosure statements here.
More Posts You’ll Love
21 Natural Ways To Feel Better While You Are Sick
These 21 tips will help you feel better when you’re sick. They’re not necessarily remedies, but ways to help you feel better and stay comfortable while sick.
A Fun and Beautiful Rainbow Whipped Body Butter
This rainbow body butter is not simple but it is fun to make and, because of the beautiful colors, is both skin-soothing and eye-catching. Enjoy making it!
How To Make Liquid Soap That is Natural & Amazing
After learning how to make liquid soap I worked to simplify and perfect my recipe. It’s all natural and works great as a shampoo, body wash, hand soap, and even dish soap!
Happiness oyibotie says
Thanks alot you are a life saver. Pls notify me on facebook, and Email when you make a post.
Why do you bother to have a blog if you can’t even take time to answer questions above? You don’t deserve this site.
Sa’idu Muhammadu says
Pls how do i use onion or galic
Ronda Illig says
I love reading about all the things I can do that is less invasive than chemicals and healthier for my family. Please keep sending these informative “recipes” and tips coming.
Sa’idu Muhammadu says
Pls how do i use onion or galic
wan hay says
Please try to google it, Sa’idu
About Matt & Betsy
Matt and Betsy are passionate about living naturally and building a like-minded community focused on the sustainable lifestyle.
DIY Natural is about rediscovering the traditional value of doing things yourself, doing them naturally, and enjoying the benefits. Welcome to the movement! (read more)
Best Mosquito Repellents
Effective wipes to guard against mosquitoes. Little to no odor as compared to some mosquito sprays.
Suitable for people w/sensitive skin. Protects against a number of insects, including mosquitoes. Safe for children 6 months and older with no DEET; uses picaridin instead. Dries quickly.
Won’t prevent mosquitoes from flying near you. Towelettes are very moist.
Wipes are convenient to use on areas of the body tough to reach with sprays. Reasonable price.
Feels nice on the skin; no greasy or oily residue. Mild scent. Lower price per wipe than most other options. Great for all ages. Wipes remain moist for hours if you don’t use the entire one initially.
Only a 7% DEET concentration. Short protection window of 2 hours.
Remains in place for several hours. Lotion has a non-greasy formula that is popular with many people.
30% DEET concentration. Works against mosquitoes and several other insects. Time-release formula provides protection over a long stretch of time. Lotion-like repellent lasts longer than sprays. 3-oz. bottle convenient for air travel.
Doesn’t provide waterproof capabilities. Has some odor that’s noticeable.
Successful protection against mosquitoes and ticks. Offers several hours of protection per application.
Applying repellent with wipes is easier than sprays and lotions. Wipes are convenient to carry when traveling. Doesn’t have a strong odor. 30% DEET concentration. Repels mosquitoes and a few other insects.
Wipes are small, meaning you may need more than one per application.
Protects up to 12 hrs. Guards against mosquitoes and a few other types of biting insects.
Resists sweat and water for long-lasting protection. Stable in all kinds of temperatures. Formula developed by military for use all over world. DEET concentration of 33% delivers good results.
Lotion has a sticky consistency which can be off-putting. Only 2 ounces per bottle.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Buying guide for best mosquito repellents
Pesky mosquitoes can easily ruin outdoor fun. But whether you’re enjoying a family barbecue or working up a sweat on a weekend hike, mosquito repellent can keep the bugs away so you can spend time breathing fresh air and having a blast with your loved ones, itch-free.
There are a lot of mosquito repellents on the market, however, and finding the right one for you can be challenging. You have to consider the safety of the ingredients, the easiest application method, and how long the repellent will be effective. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re here to help.
At BestReviews, our goal is to make shopping easy by helping you find your best products. If you’re ready to purchase mosquito repellent, check out our top picks in the product list above. For everything you need to know about this outdoor necessity before you buy, keep reading our shopping guide.
Benefits of mosquito repellents
Are you wondering why you need mosquito repellent? Let’s take a look at a few reasons why you should protect yourself from these insects.
Mosquito bites itch. For those with sensitive skin, the bites can become inflamed and very uncomfortable.
Because they consume blood, many species of mosquitoes spread blood-borne viruses and other pathogens. Some examples of diseases spread by mosquitoes include West Nile virus, Zika virus, and malaria.
In rare cases, mosquito bites can cause severe allergic reactions.
Product in depth
Avon Tyres Skin So Soft Bug Guard Towelettes
Portable all-around protection
For protection on the go, these Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Towelettes feature picaridin as their active ingredient. The resealable bag contains eight single-use packets that provide protection against biting insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, and sand flies.
Types of mosquito repellents
Mosquito repellents are available in various formulations.
Mosquito repellents in spray bottles make applying repellent quick and easy. It’s easy to apply repellent to clothing with a spray bottle, too. However, it’s difficult to get even coverage with spray mosquito repellents, and they are easily inhaled, so they’re not ideal for use by or around those with respiratory illnesses. Spray repellents are best applied outdoors or in an open area.
Mosquito repellent in cream form is good for direct use on the skin because the application is easier to control than with a spray bottle. Not everyone likes the feeling of a cream, however, which can leave a residue on the skin.
Roll-on or towelettes
Mosquito repellent can also come in roll-on bottles like deodorant or individual towelettes, which are wiped over the skin. These types of repellents are great for camping, hiking, and travel because of their ultra-portable nature.
Did you know that wearing dark clothing attracts mosquitoes? Scented lotions and perfumes may do the same.
Considerations for mosquito repellents
When shopping for mosquito repellent, consider these features.
The active ingredient is the primary substance in a product that produces the intended effect. With mosquito repellents, a higher concentration of the active ingredient means a longer protection period from bites.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as effective mosquito deterrents.
DEET: DEET is registered with the EPA and endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It is a highly effective mosquito repellent, but there are some concerns about its toxicity. Though many studies have determined that DEET is safe for human use, it’s not a good choice for young children. In high doses, it may cause skin reactions. It’s also harmful if ingested. DEET effectiveness does not increase with a concentration higher than 50%.
Picaridin: Like DEET, this synthetic repellent is very effective against mosquitoes. It’s also odorless and not likely to irritate the skin.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus: This mosquito repellent is a synthetic derivative of eucalyptus plant oil. It’s nearly as effective as the chemical DEET, and it is not suitable for use on young children.
Permethrin: This mosquito repellent is meant to be applied to clothing, not directly on the skin. It’s a biodegradable substance, but it’s been known to cause irritation in some cases. It can also be applied to gear, such as tents . You can purchase clothing that’s already treated with permethrin. One cause for concern is that it’s toxic to many insects other than mosquitoes, including bees. It’s also harmful to fish, so it’s a poor repellent choice around bodies of water.
IR3535: IR3535 is a synthetic plant oil that is commonly used in Europe as a mosquito repellent. Studies have not shown it to be harmful or toxic to humans.
Different active ingredients and concentrations will protect you from mosquito bites for varying lengths of time. Usually, the higher the percentage of the active ingredient, the longer the repellent will protect you, though some active ingredients plateau above certain concentrations. Mosquito repellents with natural ingredients don’t protect you for as long as synthetic repellents, and they need to be reapplied.
Permethrin, which is applied to clothes, is the longest-lasting option. It doesn’t wash out when clothes are washed and can remain for up to 20 washings. Some clothing comes pre-treated with permethrin.
DEET lasts the longest of the mosquito repellents that are applied to the skin. DEET can last for over eight hours.
Of the other mosquito repellents, picaridin lasts for a maximum of eight hours, oil of lemon eucalyptus lasts for a maximum of six hours, and plant-based ingredients last for a maximum of two hours.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in pools of standing water. Inspect your property for standing water, and eliminate these pools as best you can since they’re breeding grounds for these insects.
Registered vs. non-registered
Because they are pesticides, most mosquito repellents need to be registered with the EPA before they can be brought to market. That said, many active ingredients in repellents are considered safe for human use but are not recognized as effective by the EPA. These ingredients are non-registered.
Registered mosquito repellents
Effectiveness of active ingredients backed by independent studies.
Safe for human use.
Feature an EPA registration number.
Endorsed by the CDC.
Non-registered mosquito repellents
Include plant-based pesticides deemed safe for human use.
Effectiveness data not backed by the EPA.
Do not include an EPA registration number.
Are not endorsed by the CDC.
Ease of use
When buying mosquito repellent, consider how easy the application method is for you. Does the repellent quickly absorb into the skin, or does it leave a greasy film? Creams may leave a residue on the skin, while sprays, roll-ons, and towelettes are fast and easy to apply.
Many mosquito repellents have a chemical scent. Plant-based mosquito repellents have the strong scent of the oil they contain that repels mosquitoes. For those with sensitivity to scent, odorless mosquito repellents are the best choice.
Most mosquito repellents won’t set you back more than $10 . When buying repellent towelettes, make sure to check how many individual wipes are included in the package, as the number varies.