How to Grow Mosquito-Repelling Plants in Your Yard

How to Grow Mosquito-Repelling Plants in Your Yard

How to Grow Mosquito-Repelling Plants in Your Yard

Growing mosquito-repelling plants in your yard is an excellent way to make your outdoor living spaces more enjoyable. Certain plants contain natural oils or scents that deter mosquitoes from congregating around them. By incorporating these plants into your landscaping, you can create a beautiful, mosquito-free oasis right at home.

Why Grow Mosquito-Repelling Plants?

Mosquitoes can be a major nuisance, especially in warmer months when we want to spend time relaxing outdoors. Some key reasons to grow mosquito-repelling plants include:

  • Reduce mosquito bites – Mosquito plants produce scents that naturally repel the insects, reducing bites. This helps avoid pesky itching and the risks of diseases like West Nile virus that mosquitoes can transmit.

  • Avoid chemical pesticides – Insect repelling plants are an organic solution. You can get rid of mosquitoes without resorting to harsh chemicals.

  • Enhance outdoor living areas – Rather than simply spraying smelly bug spray everywhere, plants beautify your yard and make it more inviting to spend time in.

  • Help pollinators – Many insect-repelling plants have brightly colored, fragrant blooms that attract and nourish bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

  • Easy to grow – Most mosquito-repelling plants are relatively low maintenance and easy to incorporate into existing beds and borders.

Best Mosquito Deterrent Plants

Some of the most effective plants for repelling mosquitoes include:


This tropical grass contains citronella oil, which gives it its mosquito-repelling abilities. For maximum effect, crush leaves to release more oil. Citronella is hardy in zones 10-11 and can be grown in containers and moved indoors during colder months.


Part of the mint family, catnip contains a chemical called nepetalactone which is both a feline attractant and mosquito repellent. Grow in zones 3-9 in full sun to partial shade. It spreads readily so plant in containers to control.

Lemon Balm

With a strong lemon scent, lemon balm drives away mosquitoes. Bruising its leaves before going outside boosts its bug-fighting power. Lemon balm thrives in zones 4-9 in moist, well-drained soil. Cut back often to prevent flowering and promote aroma.


The fragrant oil in lavender leaves and flowers makes mosquitoes buzz off. For best results, plant in full sun and arid climates. Lavender does well in zones 5-9, requires good drainage, and can be grown in containers.


Vivid marigolds contain pyrethrum, an organic compound used in many natural insect repellents. They deter mosquitoes and other pests like nematodes. Marigolds prefer full sun and average soil in zones 2-11.

Bee Balm

With colorful, nectar-rich blooms, bee balm attracts pollinators while repelling biting insects. Mosquitoes dislike both the scent and taste of bee balm. It thrives in zones 4-9 in moist soil and spreads readily.


The pungent oils in basil make mosquitoes turn away. For best growth, plant in full sun and well-drained soil after the last frost. Pinch flower buds frequently to encourage leaf growth and scent production. Grow as annual or bring indoors in cold climates.


Peppermint’s high menthol content provides a strong, clean scent that mosquitoes don’t like. Grow in partial shade in zones 3-11. Containers are recommended as peppermint is invasive. Cut back flowers to keep leaves flavored.

Planting Tips

When adding mosquito deterrent plants to your yard, keep these tips in mind:

  • Plant in clusters or groups for maximum effectiveness.

  • Crush or brush leaves regularly to release more repelling oils.

  • Grow near areas where you spend time outdoors like patios, pools, and gardens.

  • Replace plants annually for best scent and growth. Potted plants can be overwintered indoors.

  • Supplement plants with other deterrents like citronella candles or torches.

  • Plant in full sun and well-draining soil for optimal growth.

  • Prune flowers to focus the plant’s energy on foliage and odor production.

  • Intersperse mosquito repelling plants with other pollinator-friendly flowers.

Enjoy Your Mosquito-Free Yard

With some planning and strategic planting, you can curb the nuisance of mosquitoes without resorting to harsh chemicals. Any of the plants above can make great additions to your existing beds, borders, containers or landscaping. Crushing leaves before going outside boosts the bug-banishing effects. Partner these plants with other techniques like eliminating standing water to create an inviting, mosquito-free outdoor living space this summer.