12 herbs and plants that naturally repel mosquitoes
...because plants smell a lot better than a can of insect repellent.
Although we are exiting peak mosquito season, the need for a natural mosquito repellent is a great addition to anyone’s garden spread.
Do note that the majority of these plants and herbs listed below work best as mosquito repellent when crushed and rubbed onto the skin. This is the best way to release the natural smells that ward off those pesky mosquitoes.
Not all geraniums will repel mosquitoes, but this particular kind (formally known as Pelargonium citrosum), which produces and smells like a citronella oil, can ward off bugs.
While they're not the most powerful repellent, these purple beauties (Ageratum houstounianum) produce an aroma mosquitoes aren't fond of, according to SFGate. Butterflies and hummingbirds, however, love their fragrant blooms.
Originally used as a perfume, essential oils and extracts from Cintronella plants are so effective at keeping mosquito away that they're now a go-to ingredient for many commercial repellents.
This member of the mint family boasts health benefits, a lovely smell, and its oils can eliminate any pests lurking around.
The strong lemon scent of this plant contains high levels of the bug-repelling compound—but in a more appetising way. (It's an invasive species, however, so be careful when growing it.)
It may sound hard to believe since the scent is so heavenly to us humans, but mosquitoes can't stand the smell of this herb. Keep bugs at bay by planting the lavender variety, which has a high concentration of camphor. Bonus: It also keeps moths and flies away!
Cats may love it, but mosquitoes hate catnip. Related to mint, it contains a chemical called nepetalactone, that's both a feline attractant and an insect repellent.
Placing a pot of basil on your picnic table is helpful for giving your food a flavorful update—but it will also keep the bugs away, since it's one of the few plants that offer a strong bug-repelling scent without having to crush the leaves. A 2009 study showed that basil essential oil is toxic to mosquito larvae.
Mint leaves can aid in keeping mosquitoes away. Bonus: Mint essential oils can also help soothe bug bites.
Also known as "Mosquito Repellent Plant," this perennial is heavily marketed as a useful insect repellent. While some research suggests that this plant may not be so great at keeping biting insects away, it can't hurt to plant some near your porch, right?
Gathering around the bonfire to roast some s'mores? You might want to toss a little sage into the fire—the scented smoke will keep those pesky critters away. (Rosemary works, too.)
Not only do they look pretty, these colourful and heady flowers also repel insects, since they contain pyrethrum, an ingredient found in many insect repellents.