12 Mosquito-Repelling Plants You Need in Your Home Backyard

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Are you tired of pesky mosquitoes ruining your backyard barbecues or quiet evening retreats? Imagine stepping into a lush, vibrant garden that not only pleases the senses but also keeps mosquitoes at bay.

Say goodbye to chemical sprays and hello to nature’s pest control. To maximize their mosquito-repelling effects, strategically place these plants around your backyard, especially near seating and dining areas. Happy gardening!

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

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Lavender is known for its calming aroma and mosquito-repelling properties. The secret lies in its essential oils, particularly linalool and linalyl acetate.

Lavender oil can provide up to 93% protection against mosquito bites for up to 2 hours. Plus, lavender’s vibrant purple flowers add a pop of color to your garden.

Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)

Photo by Nicola Barts

This remarkable plant is well-known for its citrusy aroma, which is both pleasant to humans and highly repelling to mosquitoes. Citronella grass owes its mosquito-repelling prowess to its high citronellal, citronellol, and geraniol concentration.

These compounds disrupt the neurons in mosquitoes, making it harder for them to detect the scents that attract them to their prey. Citronella oil can reduce mosquito bites by as much as 50% compared to unprotected skin. Plant citronella in large pots or around seating areas to maximize its benefits.

Marigolds (Tagetes spp.)

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These bright, cheerful plants contain pyrethrum, often used in insect-repellent products. Pyrethrum, derived from the flowers of the marigold plant, is a powerful, natural insecticide that targets mosquitoes’ nervous systems, effectively keeping them at bay.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes pyrethrins (compounds found in pyrethrum) as safe for insect-repellent products, making marigolds a legitimate option for a mosquito-free garden.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

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The secret to its repelling powers lies in its fragrant leaves, which contain compounds like estragole, citronellol, and limonene. These natural chemicals emit a strong aroma that mosquitoes find incredibly offensive.

Basil essential oils significantly reduce mosquito bites when applied topically, making basil a dual-purpose superstar in your backyard. Basil thrives in sunny locations with well-drained soil.


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Several types of mint, including peppermint and spearmint, are effective at deterring mosquitoes. This aromatic plant contains menthol, known for its strong insect-repellent properties.

A study published in the Journal of Arthropod-Borne Diseases noted a reduction in mosquito landings by up to 90% in areas where mint was present.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

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Rosemary isn’t just for seasoning your Sunday roast. This aromatic herb contains eucalyptol, a compound noted for its powerful insect-repelling properties.

Studies have demonstrated that eucalyptol is remarkably effective in deterring mosquitoes, making rosemary an excellent addition to your backyard. In addition, rosemary’s evergreen nature ensures it will keep repelling mosquitoes year-round.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Photo provided by Oleksandr P

Catnip is surprisingly effective at repelling mosquitoes, even more so than some commercial repellents. Thanks to a compound called nepetalactone, catnip can be up to ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, one of the most common ingredients in insect repellents.

Nepetalactone affects the receptors in the mosquitoes’ antennae, making your backyard a far less appealing place for these annoying pests. Just be prepared for visits from friendly neighborhood cats!

Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.)

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Lemon-scented geraniums are particularly effective in repelling mosquitoes. The citrusy aroma of these plants deters mosquitoes, making geraniums a lovely and functional addition to your garden.

Geraniums, specifically scented varieties like Pelargonium graveolens, are more than eye-catching blooms. These vibrant plants produce a delightful, citrusy aroma that humans adore but mosquitos can’t stand. The secret weapon? It’s a compound called citronellol, and it is found in high concentrations in these plants.


Photo by mdorottya

Ageratum (also known as Floss Flower) is renowned for its charming clusters of small, fluffy flowers, but there’s more to this plant than just its good looks. It is packed with coumarin, a natural compound that’s a proven mosquito repellent.

Coumarin has been used in commercial mosquito repellent formulations for its reliable results. These annuals are easy to grow and add a splash of blue, pink, or white to your garden while keeping mosquitoes away.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

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The primary mosquito-repelling compound in Lemon Balm is citronellal, a natural plant oil that has been shown to ward off these pesky insects.

It can be used in cooking, teas, and even for its medicinal properties, such as calming anxiety and aiding digestion. A beautiful, fragrant, multi-purpose herb that doubles as a natural mosquito repellent? Yes, please!

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

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The secret weapon in Sage is a compound called thujone, known for its potent mosquito-repelling properties. Burning a bundle of Sage leaves can enhance its mosquito-repelling powers.

A 2018 article from the Journal of Insect Science revealed that the smoke from burning Sage leaves can deter mosquitoes for up to 90 minutes. That’s plenty of time for a BBQ or a relaxing evening under the stars.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

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Thyme oil effectively repels mosquitoes. The magic behind Thyme’s mosquito-repelling properties lies in a compound called thymol. Thymol is a naturally occurring biocide that effectively keeps mosquitoes at bay!

The study found that a 1% concentration of thymol provided up to 91% protection against mosquito bites for up to 90 minutes! It thrives best in well-drained soil and full sun, making it a low-maintenance yet highly effective plant.

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