6 Easy to Grow Natural Mosquito Repellent Plants

What’s better than effectively killing mosquitoes in your yard? Never having them in the first place, of course!

So what can you do to make your property the least mosquito friendly place possible (aside from the obvious tips like getting rid of any standing water)?

Turns out gardening is the answer. But not just any sort of planting and pruning – you want to get yourself an army of anti mosquito plants.

And don’t let the lack of a green thumb turn you off – these natural mosquito repellent plants are easy to plant and maintain. Some will even reseed and grow themselves!

Come, let’s meet the best plants to get rid of mosquitoes, aka your new best friends.

Lemongrass, aka Citronella Grass

citronella-grassYou knew this one was coming, didn’t you?

If you’ve ever used a natural mosquito repellent, you’ve seen (and smelled) citronella’s effectiveness in keeping mosquitoes away.

And although there is a huge range of citronella products – candles, torches, topical repellents – the easiest way to take advantage of this mosquito-repelling plant is to let it live in your yard.

And this potent smell is a very good thing. How it works is simple: it’s strong aroma is so strong that it masks other attractants (i.e. you) to mosquitoes, making it harder for them to find you.

The thing is, though, you’ll want to make sure that you lemongrass, aka citronella grass, and not the more commonly seen citronella geranium, aka Pelargonium citrosum. Although the geranium is the one you’ll find marketed everywhere as a mosquito repellent, that plant just sort of smells like citronella and actually has very little citronellal content! It won’t protect you from mosquitoes – that’s just a misunderstanding that’s been propagated for far too long.

The citronella that’s extracted to be used in mosquito repellents comes from various species of lemongrass, aka citronella grass.

So get thee some lemongrass instead of the citronella geranium – this is the one that contains  the essential oils hated by mosquitoes. It’s also one of the most low-maintenance plants around and will thrive indoors as long as it gets plenty of sun.

How easy is it to grow? You can order yourself some starter lemongrass plants right on Amazon. Feel free to keep them in pots around the house or you can then transplant to a larger pot or directly into the ground. Again, make sure you’re getting real citronella and not just ‘citronella scented’ plants!

Citronella plants are thankfully low maintenance and like most grasses, will thrive in full sun and well-drained locations. To keep it thriving, give it some nitrogen-rich fertilizer every year, preferably in the early spring.

Where can I grow it? Citronella is a perennial ‘clumping’ grass that can be grown directly in the ground if you live in a part of the world where frost doesn’t occur. If you reside in frosty climates, plant the citronella in a large pot or planter, preferably with casters so you can roll it indoors during the winters.

If you’re going to plant it in the garden or patio, keep in mind that citronella grows to around 5 to 6 feet – which means you’ll want to plant it in the background, behind your flowers and shrubs so it doesn’t obstruct the view of your garden.

Marigolds

mosquito-repellent-plants

They’re beautiful…and they repel mosquitoes? Seriously, what more could you want from a plant? These pretty, useful plants definitely pay for the share of land they occupy.

Their little secret: marigolds contain Pyrethrum, a compound found in many insect repellents.

Thanks to this, not only do they repel mosquitoes, but they’re particularly effective against insects which prey on tomato plants so if you got some tomato beds…well, you know what to do.

How easy is it to grow? You can get marigold seeds or starter plants from gardening shop, floral departments or even on Amazon. We recommend opting for the starter plants since they’re inexpensive and you’ll get a ready-made mosquito repellent you can start using right away.

If there’s plenty of light and fertile soil, marigolds will often do the work for you and reseed themselves. Other than that, they need a little more maintenance than citronella since established plants will need to be thinned but overall, the upkeep is minimal.

Where can I grow it? Marigolds like full sun and fertile soil so if you’ve got a yard that fits the description, you’re good to go.

We recommend placing potted marigolds right by the entrances to your home as well as windows – you’ll get both decorative flowers and a natural mosquito repellent! Oh, and ‘though you might like to use these pretty pest repellents to get rid of mosquitoes on your patio – don’t. Their bright blooms may attract wasps.

Horsemint, aka Beebalm

anti-mosquito-plants-horsemintAnother mosquito-confusing scent-masker, horsemint has a deep incense-like smell that will help you evade mosquitoes.

As you probably know by now – mosquitoes, along with many annoying biting pests, are attracted to certain odors in human skin. Yes, they like your body odor. And if you’re an active sort that sweats a lot, they’re going to be especially attracted to you.

So strong scents like horsemint are a godsend since they both mask your human scent and serve as a turnoff to mosquitoes.

As if that wasn’t good enough – horsemint leaves also make a deliciously healthy herbal tea.

How easy is it to grow? This stuff grows fast. It’s also shade-tolerate, drought-resistant and can thrive in dry, sandy soil and even survive salty conditions.

Where can I grow it? Horsemint’s a survivor so even if you live in coastal and beach areas, horsemint will easily make itself at home in your yard.

Horsemint does particularly well in the midwest and eastern zones, but if you live somewhere that gets frosty, you’ll want to plant them in pots so you can move them indoors when it gets cold. It shouldn’t be too hard to transport – they only reach a height and width of about 2 to 3 feet.

Keep in mind that horsemint flowers tend to attract bees and butterflies so you’ll most likely want to keep the plants in your garden, not the patio.

Catmint, aka Catnip

plants-to-get-rid-of-mosquitoes-catnipThe same catnip that makes your cat act like an enamored kitten is also a darn effective natural mosquito repellent.

‘Though nobody yet knows how it works, entomologists from Iowa State University recently reported to the American Chemical Society that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip, is ten times more effective than DEET!

How easy is it to grow? So very easy, peasy. This perennial herb is related to mint and it grows as a weed, thriving as soon as you give it a chance to.

Where can I grow it? Keep in mind: Your catnip might bring all the cats to the yard. Catnip will grow pretty much everywhere so choose wisely, especially if you’ve got lots of neighborhood strays – that means planting the catnip well away from flowers, veggies, or herbs you don’t want happy cats to roll all over on!

Petunias

plants-that-get-rid-of-mosquitoes-petuniasNot only do they repel mosquitoes, but petunias also do a great job of keeping pests like tomato hornworms, asparagus beetles and squash bugs away.

And did you notice that they’re also beautiful?

How easy is it to grow? Very easy – even if your thumbs aren’t even close to green.

Where can I grow it? Pretty much anywhere that gets some sun – plant them in your garden (vegetable gardens can benefit from petunia’s pest-repelling powers), in containers or hanging baskets to adorn your patio with their variety of bright colors.

Ageratum, aka Flossflowers

natural-mosquito-repellent-plants-ageratumYet another plant with a scent that mosquitoes can’t stand, ageratum contains coumarin, which is commonly found in commercial mosquito repellents.

Just keep in mind that ‘though coumarin is used in topical mosquito repellents, you shouldn’t try to make a home made repellent by crushing ageratum leaves directly on your skin – this can be an irritant.

How easy is it to grow? Pretty easy as it doesn’t need too much sun.

Where can I grow it? Ageratum does well in full or partial sun and isn’t too fussy about soil richness either. It also doesn’t get very tall – reaching heights of around 8″ to 18″ – so keep this in mind when you’re planting.

Now that you’ve repelled mosquitoes from your yard – you’ll want to keep them out of your house. Find out the best mosquito repellent plants to grow in your home!

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