MOSQUITO REPELLENT PLANTS EVERY MOSQUITO HATER NEEDS
Summer is coming and warmer weather is on the horizon. For many of us, that means making plans for our gardens or envisioning how we will landscape our yards this year. Maybe you are even dreaming about what kind of gatherings you will host this year as it warms up. While you are making your plans, consider adding one or two of the mosquito repellent plants I’ve mentioned below. Many of these plants are annuals so once they are planted, they will come back year after year to keep the bugs away.
Mosquitoes are annoying but they can also carry detrimental diseases to humans like Lyme disease. On the other hand though, many commercial insect repellents are also harmful to your family’s health.
If you absolutely hate flying and biting insects in your face or buzzing by your ears like I do and you want to prevent any diseases from coming your way, then you definitely want to take a look at the list of mosquito repelling plants that I’ve put together for you below!
*TIP: Don’t leave standing water on your property. Stagnant water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes to populate. A common culprit of standing water used for breeding purposes would be bird baths or anything that can collect water from a Summer rain. Examples you might want to keep an eye out for are kid’s sand buckets left in the yard, gardening buckets or wheel barrows, etc.
WHY ARE MOSQUITOES ATTRACTED TO HUMANS?
Mosquitoes love a variety of human scents. Mosquitoes are drawn to the carbon dioxide we expel when we breathe. Carbon dioxide or CO2 is what mosquitoes use to identify their targets.
They are also drawn to chemicals we emit when we sweat, like lactic acid. Some people emit more of this chemical than others which is why it seems like they get bitten up more than their friends. There is also research that suggests blood type O is more attractive to mosquitoes than blood types A or B.
Over all, they just like a warm body to snuggle up next to while they eat. Yuck.
Don’t Forget to Pin Me for Later!
This is probably the most obvious one on the list. Every person who likes to spend any amount of time outside in the Summer probably has a citronella scented candle or two on their patio since it is the most widely used natural oil used in insect repelling products.
The plant itself probably won’t repel the mosquitoes but if you crush up the leaves or stem to get to the essential oil stored within, that is where the magic is at. Rub this oil on your skin or use it any other number of ways to repel pesky mosquitoes.
Lavender is a wonderfully relaxing scent for many people but mosquitoes hate it. They want to stay far away from it. You can plant lavender but you can also use lavender essential oil directly on your skin to repel mosquitoes.
You can grow lavender in your garden or flower beds and the pretty purple blooms will give off a lovely pungent fragrance. There are many different varieties of lavender so find one that grows best in your climate.
Pennyroyal repels not only mosquitoes but also fleas and ticks. It is most effective to crush some pennyroyal leaves and place them in your pockets or hat to keep mosquitoes and gnats at bay.
IMPORTANT: Pennyroyal can be toxic to humans if ingested, particularly pregnant women and infants.
Basil is a delicious herb many of us only know for cooking purposes. Did you know that basil can be used to ward off pesky mosquitoes though? This plant puts off a strong aroma without having to crush any of it’s leaves or stems. Just its presence is enough to make mosquitoes run for the hills. Lime basil and holy basil are the best varieties for this purpose.
Leave basil near any standing water to deter mosquitoes from laying their eggs. Basil is toxic to mosquito larvae.
Rosemary is a wonder plant. It is another popular herb you can use for cooking of course, but it also repels mosquitoes and flies. It gives off a pungent aroma that flying insects detest but we humans enjoy.
Rosemary does really well growing in containers and loves hot and dry weather. You can grow some on your window sill or place it all around your garden to keep lots of other bugs besides mosquitoes away too.
Throwing some rosemary onto a campfire will produce a pleasant aroma for humans but will keep biting or annoying bugs like mosquitoes or flies away.
When it comes to mosquito repellent plants, marigolds are a clear front runner. Marigolds are a common flower found in many peoples landscape edging but did you know that gardeners often use marigolds to edge their vegetable gardens?
Marigolds contain a compound called pyrethrum. This compound is used in many commercial insect repellents because mosquitoes and other bugs think it stinks! Pyrethrum keeps not only mosquitoes away, but also aphids, squash bugs, tomato hornworms, thrips, and Mexican bean beetles. That is why gardeners love marigolds!
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Mosquitoes hate any sort of minty fragrance. I’ve heard that spiders do too but back to mosquitoes. Peppermint produces a menthol like fragrance that completely deters mosquitoes. They can’t stand the smell. Just having a peppermint plant in the vicinity will likely be enough to keep the pests away.
If you really want to get the most from this repellent powerhouse though, rub the leaves directly on your skin. This will release the peppermint oils. Mosquitoes will zoom away from you anywhere you walk!
Lemongrass contains citronella oil which is a common natural mosquito repellent. Citronella is found in a variety of mosquito repelling products sold today. You can just grow some lemongrass in your yard to ward off pesky bugs.
Another way to use this plant is to crush or cut the leaves or stems and rub the oil directly on your skin.
Lemon-scented geraniums put off a strong scent reminiscent of lemon grass. They are very effective at keeping pesky flying bugs away. Plants these in sunny areas outdoors because they love the sunshine. An added bonus is how beautiful they will look around your yard.
BEE BALM (aka WILD BERGAMOT OR HORSEMINT)
Not only does bee balm repel mosquitoes, but they attract bees and hummingbirds. Because bees and hummingbirds are natural pollinators, this will actually benefit any other flowering plants you have nearby.
Bee balm aka horsemint, produces a strong incense odor that confuses mosquitoes and other biting insects.
Catnip contains an essential oil called nepetalactone that gives it it’s characteristic odor. It is reported to be 10x more effective at repelling mosquitoes that DEET. Just watch out for stray kitties lining up on your porch!
Floss flower produces an odor that mosquitoes don’t like but that actually attracts butterflies. Yay. More pretty butterflies!
Floss flower naturally produces coumarin, an ingredient commonly found in many commercially used pesticides.
The best part though is that this plant produces pretty little purple flower blooms that will look amazing in your yard on top of keeping the bugs at bay.
Keep sage on hand when you go camping or have a Summer bonfire. Throwing some sage bundles on the fire will produce an extremely effective smokey aroma that mosquitoes and other biting insects can’t stand.
The best part about these amazing mosquito repellent plants is that they are mostly low maintenance and they will look stunning in your yard or landscaping. Let me know if you try some of these plants out and how they worked for you.
Did I miss a plant that you know to be a powerhouse when it comes to mosquito repellent plants? Let me know in the comments below.