9 Plants That Will Keep Mosquitoes From Bugging You

You can lose the bug sprays, the smelly candles, and even the electric bug zappers.

Jun 23, 2019

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Summer is the best time of year to be outside. Go fire up the grill and enjoy cooking and eating outdoors or take a stroll in a park without any pesky Mosquitoes biting you.
How is that possible? Do you need to use to use off another one of the bug repellant products that work but are filled with chemicals like DEET that can irritate the skin and cause allergy symptoms or even worse? Do you need to use citronella candles, torches, or even electric bug zappers to clear your patio? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding no.

There are absolutely no bug repellants, pest control sprays, stinky candles, or even electric bug zappers needed if you use a natural repellent that you can grow yourself. Here's a selection of nine plants that will keep even the most persistent mosquito from buzzing around you.

Citronella

Most people have heard of citronella – cymbopogon nardus – because it is one of the best plants to keep mosquitoes at bay, but they probably think that they need to use special candles or torches for it to be effective against mosquitos. Natural citronella is much more effectual and doesn't contain any chemical additives like the ones in the candles. Citronella is related to lemongrass and you can crush the leaves and they release an oil that can be rubbed on your skin as a natural repellent.

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Lemon Balm

Lemon balm – melissa officinalis – is an herb in the mint family that is best known as an herbal tea. What you probably didn't know is that besides being a repellent against nasty mosquitos it is also a natural attraction for pollinators like bees and butterflies. It is best to plant it away from doors or your patio furniture. You can make a quick and easy repellent by crushing the leaves and rubbing them on your skin.

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Catnip

This hardy plant attracts cats and repels mosquitos, Catnip — nepeta cataria – contains the essential oil nepetalactone which is 10 times more effective than DEET. You can just rub the leaves on yourself or you can make your own safe bug repellent. Your furry feline family members will be thrilled if you grow catnip.

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Marigolds

All the different varieties of this hardy North American annual plant repel mosquitoes and other critters. Marigolds – tagete patula – contain pyrethrum an active ingredient in many insect repellents and if planted around your patio will keep you bite free. The fragrance also repels deer and rabbits so you can plant them around your fruits and vegetables (even tomatoes) to keep them safe

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Basil

There are so many uses for basil – ocimum americanum – from seasoning your food, for headache relief, to repelling dreaded mosquitos. Crush the leaves to extract the essential oil estragole and use it in a spray as a natural repellent. Estragole is also very toxic to mosquito larvae so if you plant it by a water source, it will help control the mosquito population and keep them from laying eggs

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Lavender

People love the smell of lavender and we use it in perfumes, soaps, candles, laundry detergent, and much more because it is calming. But mosquitoes hate the scent of lavender – lavandula angustifolia – so it can be used as a natural repellent. You can plant it near your patio, around your yard, to line your walkways and anywhere that you want mosquito free. You can even make an oil out of it and add it to other essential oils as a safe repellent to use on the go.

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Peppermint

Most people think of mint as an herbal tea or as a flavor of candy or gum but peppermint – mentha piperita –but it has a host of benefits including repelling mosquitoes. All species of mint both wild and cultivated contain scents that are repulsive to insects. You can grow it around your patio or crush the leaves your hands and rub them on you. Peppermint oil can also be used to make a natural insect repellent and just like basil, peppermint kills mosquito larvae.

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Rosemary

A Mediterranean native – rosmarinus officinalis – is a delicious herb as well as a mosquito repellant. Rosemary is an evergreen shrub that can grow to around four feet tall (121.92 CM). You can put it in planters around your patio and you can grow it in drier soil, but it craves sunlight. As an added bonus, butterflies love the scent of rosemary. To make a natural repellent just boil a cup of dried rosemary in a quart or liter of water for 20 minutes, strain, and pour into a spray bottle.

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Geraniums

Lemony scented geraniums – pelargonium citrosum– are a beautiful plant with purple flowers repels mosquitoes and flies, so they are perfect by your outdoor table. You can grow them in planters or hanging baskets if you keep them pruned. Use the oil on your skin as a natural repellent and it can also be used to lighten scars.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.

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