Mosquito-Proof Your Yard This Summer With These Plants


If you tend to spend a lot of time outdoors during warmer months, keeping those dreaded mosquitoes at bay is probably a top priority.

Now, I’m not saying to skip the DEET-free insect repellent — go ahead and give yourself a spritz.

However, there are plenty of plants that are also effective at keeping these pests away with their natural fragrances. Besides, they’ll also bring those fragrances to your garden, along with some beauty.

Citronella Grass

citronella grass
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All those citronella candles on your patio are made with oil that comes from this plant. It is by-far the most popular plant used to repel mosquitoes.

Don’t get confused by “citronella plants” sold at your local garden center that feature lacy foilage instead of grass blades. These are actually scented geraniums.

These soft green leaves do exude a sharp citrus scent when bruised, but it’s not citronella.


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Petunias are kind of like a two-for-one. You get pretty flowers, plus a mosquito repellent at the same time! They are easy to grow, and you can even use them in pots.

Sometimes called “nature’s pesticide,” these pretty flowers also work to keep aphids, tomato hornworms, asparagus beetles, leafhoppers, and squash bugs from hanging around.



Lavender smells heavenly. Well, at least to me. Mosquitoes don’t tend to agree! This fragrant herb loves to be hot and dry, so it’s perfect to keep mosquitoes at bay during the summer.


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Much like petunias, these beauties repel more bugs than just mosquitoes. Keep plenty of these bright blooms around to repel whiteflies, squash bugs, aphids, several different beetles, and cabbage loopers.

The best news? They produce an airborne chemical to repel insects, so that means that they’ll provide extra protection for any other plants next to them.


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Rosemary loves summer heat, and mosquitoes hate rosemary. You can definitely grow it in containers, but it also works as a hedge. If you live in zones 9 or higher, it’ll live on as an evergreen perennial. There are some varieties that are reliably hardy in zones 6-8.


basil in purple and green

This annual herb is a staple ingredient in the kitchen, but it should also be a staple in your mosquito-repellent garden. It’ll ward off mosquitoes and houseflies.

Basil is also a great treatment for mosquito bites. Roll several leaves between your hands to release the natural oil, and apply it to your bite to ease swelling.


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Closely related to citronella grass, lemongrass also repels mosquitoes. The difference, though, is that lemongrass is edible. It’s commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking.

This grassy plant can grow as high as five feet tall, so it will also add some extra height and impact in your garden. If you plan on growing it in a pot on the patio, make sure it’s a pretty large container.


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This perennial makes a great mojito and a great mosquito repellent. Besides, it’ll make your outdoor space smell fresh and vibrant.

It’s easy to grow, but be aware that once it’s established in your garden, it might be tricky to remove because it can be invasive.



I see so many people picking up these easy-to-grow annuals at the garden center each year. They’re pretty, affordable, plus they deter mosquitoes. On top of that, they’ll keep away aphids, thrips, whiteflies, Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, and tomato hornworms.

They’re popular for garden borders, but you can also grow them in pots near the entrance to your home or on your patio.



This herb is popular with cats and not popular with mosquitoes. It’s from the mint family, which explains the latter. Just be aware that like other mint plants, catnip can be invasive, too.