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Plants That Ward Off Mosquitos

Mosquitos are back, and you want to enjoy your new patio without using chemicals to help you stay bite free. Here are some plants you can plant in pots or around your yard that will repel mosquitos this summer.

Lemon Grass

Lemon grass plant in small bowl on rattan table with two rolled up bamboo mats

Lemon grass, also called citronella grass or Cybopogon citratus, is a lemon-scented tropical grass that is also widely used in Asian cooking. You are better off planting it in a pot if you want to use it for several summers, as it is not hearty in Virginia climates.


Orange marigolds close-up in a sunny garden

Marigolds contain a chemical called pyrethrum, an ingredient used in many insect repellents. One of the most popular annuals, they are as effective at pest control as they are pretty to look at. Marigolds can be planted in pots or directly in the garden, are easy to grow, and when planted among vegetables, lure beneficial predatory insects that will keep the bad guys off your cucumbers and squash.


Dried garlic bulbs in a wooden crate

Allyl methyl sulfide is the chemical component responsible for garlic’s distinctive aroma. It masks the sense of smell in mosquitoes, repelling both male and female mosquitoes. If you're in a pinch, you can rub some garlic on your skin, but it may be better, socially speaking, to have garlic-flavored foods to savor as you sit outside. Garlic is easy to grow, harvest, and use in cooking. It is a great addition to any garden.


Close-up of lavender blooms in a sunny garden

Crushed lavender flowers produce a fragrance and oil that mosquitoes hate. You can also rub crushed flowers on your skin to repel bug bites.

Lavender loves a sunny location, so planted in a pot on a deck may be the perfect spot in your garden to grow this aromatic insect repellent. If spiders are a nuisance, you can crush some lavender and sprinkle it around your doors and windows to keep them out.


Close-up of basil plant

Basil is toxic to mosquito larvae. If you have any standing water in your yard like a birdbath, or a water barrel, plant basil near it to keep mosquitoes from laying their eggs there, or you can hang dried basil, or make a basil tea bag with basil leaves, cheesecloth, and string and place it in the water as deterrents.


Close-up of mint plant in terracotta pot

First things first. Don't plant mint in the ground, or you'll be digging it up for the rest of your gardening days. Mint should be planted in containers resting off the soil (so it doesn't root). With that out of the way, mint is a wonderful mosquito deterrent, as they can't stand the smell. You can rub the leaves on your skin (recommended over the garlic), and if you get bitten, the mint oil is a nice balm for the bites.

Mint is also a refreshing addition to the sun tea you can brew on your patio this summer.


Closeup of catnip blooms in a sunny garden

Catnip contains the chemical “nepetalactone.” While it is loved by cats, it is despised by mosquitos, spiders, and termites. Planted in pots on your deck, you can protect your skin and your home at the same time.

Bee Balm

Close-up of a hummingbird next to red bee balm flowers

If you don't mind bees and love hummingbirds, plant bee balm in your garden or in planters on your deck or patio. Mosquitoes are turned off by the oils and scent of Bee Balm. The flowers add a nice pop of color to your garden as well.

Scented Geranium

Close-up of scented geranium flowers in garden bed

Scented Geraniums come in a variety of aromas like apricot, apple, rose, cedar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and, of course, citronella. They are tender perennials that do best brought in over the winter, but many gardeners have success with them kept in the garden year-round in protected spots.

Mosquitoes don't like scents in general - except those given off by warm-blooded mammals. When you rub the leaves of a scented geranium, you can smell the aroma, and if you rub the leaves on your skin, mosquitoes will fly away.

And Add These To Your Fire Pit

Some plants do well at repelling mosquitoes when burned in your fire pit. Sage, Cinnamon, and Rosemary are aromatic additions to your fire that will create a sort of dome around you that mosquitoes won't enter. You can also add dried lavender, dried basil, or dried pine boughs. All contain oils that bugs want to avoid.


If you own a home in Virginia:


Sources: HGTV, Pixabay, WNBF



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