When we think of summertime, we think of long sunny days, outdoor barbecues, and… unfortunately, mosquitoes. These winged annoyances can quickly turn a pleasant evening outdoors into a swarm of itchy bites.
Besides all the store-bought products available on the market, what else can you do to repel these little flying devils? You can introduce beautiful perennial plants that repel mosquitoes into your garden.
Imagine a fragrant-filled garden with lush green foliage and colorful flowers while the annoying whine of mosquitoes is nowhere to be heard. As a bonus, you’ll also avoid the unpleasant smell of traditional bug sprays unpleasant smell and sticky feel.
As someone who has suffered from countless mosquito bites for most of my life, these plants are necessary to keep the mosquito mafia at bay.
This genuinely unforgettable herb is a beautiful perennial that boasts needle-like leaves in a deep shade of green, giving it a fresh, vibrant appearance. Its aroma is earthy and refreshing, with a hint of pine and citrus.
Rosemary is an excellent addition to a kitchen garden, and it’s also an effective mosquito repellant.
Rosemary loves sunlight and well-drained soil. It’s a hardy plant that can thrive in various soil types, but it’s essential that the soil doesn’t stay too damp, or it will rot the roots. Rosemary is a Mediterranean native, so some drying out won’t harm it either.
You can plant rosemary directly in the ground or in containers. Once planted, you can prune your rosemary to make it bush out and give it some shape. Rosemary is an easy plant to propagate, so if you want to multiply your supply, you can do so from cuttings at no extra cost!
Caring for rosemary comes easily as you can water it deeply and infrequently, and just make sure it is in a spot with good air circulation. You can also add some organic fertilizer to the soil to boost it.
When harvesting, just snip off a few sprigs and enjoy its fragrant and flavorful leaves in your cooking.
I keep a pot of rosemary on my verandah by the patio door; it’s easy to get to from the kitchen and acts as a barrier so the mosquitoes can think twice about coming into my home!
The mesmerizing purple blooms of Lavender make it the queen of herbs. This perennial plant is a sight to behold, with long stems adorned with clusters of delicate ruffled flowers in shades of purple, blue, and pink.
Lavender provides a sweet and soothing aroma but also has natural calming effects. The calming effects don’t repel the mosquitoes; they can’t stand the smell! Which makes this plant a great addition to your mosquito-repellant garden.
Use a well-draining potting mix with organic fertilizer to plant lavender in your garden. This will give the Lavender a head start in producing the lush silvery foliage.
Choose a spot in your garden that has full sun, or plant in a container so you can move it around to where you are sitting. To encourage new healthy growth, keep it watered regularly and prune it occasionally to avoid woody growth and promote a bushy form.
After planting, you must ensure you give your Lavender a good drink. You don’t need to be so regulated with this; you can check when the top two inches of the soil are dry. Avoid getting the delicate leaves wet, which can cause mold and disease later.
You can add a slow-release fertilizer to your lavender at the beginning of spring to help it when actively growing. Lavender makes a great plant to harvest fragrant flowers from and use around the home.
Even a few sprigs on your bedside table could help keep the insect vampires away!
Simply cut the stems just before the flowers open fully and hang them upside down to dry. I use them as potpourri to keep my wardrobe drawers smelling fresh.
You don’t have to be a cat lover to appreciate this magical herb. Catnip has been used in history for its calming effects on humans, and still, to this day, some people use the minty citrus aromas of catnip for herbal teas.
Although we don’t react the same as cats when using this herb, it should still be respected for its medicinal properties. Catnip is a perennial belonging to the mint family and has soft green leaves with jagged edges that are a bit nettle-looking.
It produces clusters of white or lavender flowers. The essential oil in catnip is called nepetalactone is a natural mosquito repellent.
When you have Catnip in your garden, the mosquitoes will stay away, and your feline friends will be happy to have a new toy to play with!
Catnip loves sunlight and can thrive in a range of soil types. It’s a hardy plant that can tolerate dry spells, making it great for those forgetful gardeners. It can be invasive and take over when planting catnip, especially in the right conditions.
Once, I planted it in a border bed, and after one spring, I found that the seeds had dispersed all over my garden, and seedlings were popping up everywhere. Try planting it in a pot to control the size and prevent it from taking over a space, unless you want a whole garden full of it!
After flowering, prune it so the flowers don’t turn to seed and disperse around your other plants. Pruning will also help to keep the plant in good shape and prevent it from turning woody.
After planting Catnip from a seedling or seed, water it deeply to let the roots settle in. Avoid watering over the top of the plant, as this can cause the leaves to turn moldy, burn or become diseased.
If you want your Catnip to start well, feed it with a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 NPK. It’s not a heavy-feeding plant but will undoubtedly come to life with some help.
If you want to harvest the flowers and use them for tea, just cut a few stems off and hang them in a place to dry out.
Note: Only a few species of Marigolds are considered perennials.
Ahh, the beloved Marigold… It’s no wonder these plants have been favored among gardeners for years. They are a great companion plant for many vegetables and are often used to deter aphids from the prized tomato patch.
Aphids are not the only ones who can’t stand the sight of Marigolds, though… mosquitoes do too!
Marigolds contain the compound Pyrethrum which is a natural insecticide. Pyrethrum spray is sold in gardening stores and is a concentrate of the compound in these flowers. Don’t you just love science and nature?
These hardy annuals have bright sunny blooms in shades of yellow, orange, and red with intricate petals that radiate outward like a burst of sunshine. The scent of marigolds is earthy and pungent with a hint of citrus.
Marigolds are one of the most beginner-friendly plants to introduce to your garden. They aren’t too fussy with soil, so you can plant them in an area with your native soil as long as you add a couple of scoops of compost in there too.
If you are planting in a pot or a planter, you can use an all-purpose potting mix. This will keep their flowers looking bright and cheerful. Marigolds love a sunny location and will produce flowers from spring to fall.
You will need to deadhead them regularly to encourage new buds to form, but other than that, they are manageable.
After planting, you’ll need to keep your Marigolds hydrated. Check the top 2 inches of the soil twice a week during the warm months to see if they need water. When watering, let the soil drain out of the pot and avoid getting the leaves wet.
You can apply a small dose of balanced slow-release fertilizer to your marigolds at the beginning of spring, and this will keep them looking fresh all season.
As the flowers have bloomed, be sure to cut the heads off, and if you choose an edible variety like the Calendula officinalis, you can eat them or use them to decorate a cake!
5. Lemon Balm
This member of the mint family smells like sunshine and citrus mixed – if you could smell sunshine, that is!
The perennial plant comprises heart-shaped leaves with a lemony scent and blooms tiny white flowers that attract bees and butterflies to the garden.
Lemon Balm contains the compound citronella, which we all recognize as the famous mosquito repellant. Adding a pot of Lemon balm to your garden or patio will ensure those flying itch machines find a new place to go!
Lemon Balm prefers partial shade and moist soil than the other perennials on this list. It’s a tough cookie that can tolerate some drought, but to keep it flourishing, you should give it a drink regularly.
You can use a container or plant directly into the ground when planting. Mix in some all-purpose potting soil or compost before planting to give it some extra nutrients.
It’s a vigorous plant and will grow into a leafy clump so that you can plant it on a border with taller plants behind it.
Lemon Balm doesn’t take a lot of maintenance, but you will need to give it a trim to keep it in shape and promote new growth.
In the winter, the leaves tend to die off a bit, and the stems can turn woody so that you can trim it right down to the base, and it will shoot out new healthy stems the following growing season.
Lemon balm doesn’t need fertilizing to flourish, but it does benefit from feeding at the spring’s beginning. You can opt for a 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer, worm castings, or well-rotted animal manure to give it some extra nutrients.
We all recognize the tall tropical grass as the top mosquito repellant around – Citronella. The slender stems with fragrant leaves emit a citrus aroma when crushed.
Citronella is commonly used in candles, oils, and sprays to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects.
What makes Citronella such an effective mosquito repellant is the presence of citronellol and geraniol, which mask the scent of humans and make it difficult for the bloodsuckers to find us, thereby reducing the chances of being bitten.
Citronella can’t tolerate frost as a tropical plant, so it is best grown in warm clients or as an annual in colder regions. Citronella can also grow up to 6 feet tall, so ensure you have enough space to spread out.
Choose a spot that has well-draining soil and access to full sun. Plant in spring when the soil has warmed up. Mix in some compost or aged manure to enhance native soil and give the plants a kick start for the growing season.
Check the soil’s moisture and water every few days when the top inch of the soil has become dry.
To take care of your Citronella plant, keep it hydrated but let it dry out between waterings. Avoid letting water sit in the center of the grass clump, as this will cause rotting and disease.
You can fertilize your Citronella with a granulated fertilizer at the start of the spring and summer to maintain its health. You can cut a bunch of the leaves and stems and yous them to keep your home smelling fresh while keeping the mossies away.
When we think of Basil, the first thing that comes to mind is pizzas and pasta. With its lush green leaves, this fragrant herb is a staple in Italian cuisine, adding depth of flavor to dishes.
But did you know that basil also has mosquito-repelling properties? The oils found in Basil leaves, particularly the variety known as lemon basil, are a natural insecticide.
When crushed or rubbed on the skin, the oil repels mosquitoes and other biting insects, making basil an excellent addition to your mosquito-repellant garden.
To add basil to your garden, you must find a sunny spot with well-drained soil. A standard potting mix would do well; you can plant the basil from seeds or seedlings.
Plant your basil in a pot for the window sill or in a pot to have next to your front door.
If planting from seeds, start by planting seeds indoors in the early spring, and once the seedlings have matured and the soil has warmed up, transfer them outside to a sunny location.
Caring for Basil is relatively easy.
Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and prune the plants regularly to promote new growth. Basil is a heavy feeder, so consider fertilizing it with a balanced fertilizer to ensure it has all the nutrients it needs to thrive.
I’ve found that Basil likes to reproduce, so you’ll need to watch the flowers that come through.
Try topping the plant by cutting the head to avoid it going to seed. You want to cut down to where the plant branches out. That way, when it continues to grow, it will bush out.
The mere mention of this refreshing herb brings visions of Mojitos, Mint tea, and even ice cream to mind. But what most need to realize is mint also has natural mosquito-repelling properties.
The strong scent of Mint is believed to confuse and repel mosquitoes, making it an excellent choice for planting in your garden or keeping pots on your patio.
Additionally, the cooling sensation of mint can help soothe itchy mosquito bites if you do happen to get bitten.
If you want to start planting Mint, a keynote is that it is fast growing and can quickly take over your garden if you’re not careful!
To avoid this, consider planting Mint in a container to control its growth. Mint thrives in part shade and moist, well-drained soil.
To ensure your mint plant flourishes, water it regularly and fertilize it with a balanced fertilizer, like 10-10-10 NPK every two to three weeks. After the growing season, Mint will likely lose some or all of its leaves when the temperatures drop for the winter months.
You can cut the stems to the ground and mulch over them to protect them during winter. Once the following season starts, new healthy stems will emerge, and your Mint will begin to develop again.
9. Bee Balm
Also known as Monarda, this perennial plant boasts vibrant, eye-catching blooms ranging from shades of pink to red and purple.
Bee balm consists of natural compounds such as thymol, which is found in thyme, and citronella, commonly used in insect repellents. This makes the Bee balm a great option when choosing plants to add to your garden.
To grow Bee balm, plant it in well-draining soil with plenty of sunlight. Bee balm does well in moist soil, so water it regularly, especially in the dry, hot months.
Bee balm is a tremendous attracter for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds; it’s excellent to plant it in a garden bed or border.
Bee balm is a low-maintenance plant with little pruning, making it an excellent choice for busy gardeners. There is no need to fertilize bee balm, so that is one less job to worry about!
It’s a good idea to mulch over the plant to keep the soil moist. Also, keep the area weed free so the bee balm has no competition below the soil’s surface.
This tall tree is known for its distinctive refreshing fragrance. Originally from Australia, the eucalyptus tree is now found worldwide, and you can understand why.
The essential oil from eucalyptus leaves contains compounds such as citronellal which help to keep mosquitoes at bay.
If you want to grow eucalyptus, ensure you have ample outdoor space, as these trees can grow up to 200 feet tall! This is not one for the patio! Eucalyptus can thrive in various soil types as long as they are well-draining and not heavy clay.
Choose a planting site with plenty of sun and enough space around it for the tree to grow and develop a sound root system. Avoid planting too close to fences or walls, as you may encounter some problems later.
Maintaining eucalyptus is easy, and they take care of themselves unless they are in a container.
When you think of the dry climate of Australia, they can tolerate some drought conditions, but any areas with extreme drought need to be supplemented with regular watering. The same goes for if they are kept in a container.
Growing up in Australia, I have fond memories of eucalyptus trees. The sound of the leaves rustling in the wind and the refreshing scent always brings me back to my childhood.
Adding eucalyptus to your garden not only repels mosquitoes but can also provide a connection to nature and far-off places.
You may be familiar with geraniums from your grandmother’s garden. Their bright, cheerful blooms make them a popular choice for brightening up patios and balconies.
Geraniums also contain citronella, the natural mosquito repellant in their leaves and flowers.
The scent of the citronella masks the attractants mosquitoes use to find their hosts, making them less likely to be attracted to you when they are in your garden.
When planting geraniums, ensure they are placed in a spot with plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil. Geraniums do well in hanging baskets, pots, planters, and directly in the ground.
They grow into a bush form, so light pruning may be required to keep them in shape. Avoid planting geraniums during the cold months as they prefer the warm weather. Wait for the soil to warm up in early spring before planting.
Geraniums prefer to be watered regularly and should be fertilized with a balanced fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season. If you notice that they are starting to lose their lush green color, then it’s time to apply fertilizer.
Use a balanced granulated fertilizer to feed them; one with 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 NPK is ideal, and follow the instructions on the packet before applying.
As a member of the Mint family, this aromatic herb has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Its small delicate leaves and purple flowers add beauty and function to the garden.
The secret to the Pennyroyal’s mosquito repelling powers lies in the essential oil containing high levels of menthol and pulegone. These compounds make Pennyroyal unappealing to mosquitoes discouraging them from landing and biting you.
The oil can be used in various insect-repellent recipes, making it a versatile addition to your mosquito-fighting arsenal.
Pennyroyal can tolerate various soil types but prefers a slightly alkaline pH.
When planting, choose a spot with well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. You can plant it in a patch in the backyard or in containers to use next to the entryways of your home.
As for care, Pennyroyal is a low-maintenance plant as it is relatively drought tolerant, which is excellent for those who forget to water.
Regular pruning is required to keep this plant in good shape and improve air circulation.
To Sum Up
After covering these twelve mosquito-repelling plants, you can easily find a plant or two to add to your garden. From the fragrant world-known rosemary to the vibrant bee balm, these plants offer diverse options when designing your mosquito repellant garden.
As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure, so by planting these perennials, you can enjoy your outdoor space without the annoyance of those bloodthirsty mosquitoes!