Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, but pesky mosquitoes can quickly ruin the fun. Instead of relying on chemical bug sprays, consider planting some natural mosquito-repelling plants in your garden. While citronella is a well-known option, many other fragrant herbs can also do the trick. Some of these include lavender, basil, and peppermint. Not only will they keep mosquitoes at bay, but they'll also add a lovely aroma to your outdoor space. Learn more about these natural bug repellents and how to use them effectively.
What attracts mosquitoes in the first place?
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we breathe out. They also cue in on body heat and odor. Studies show that some people naturally attract mosquitoes more than others. That’s why using these herbs can help. Their strong scent is repellant to mosquitoes and can help mask our human smells.
10 Mosquito repellent plants that really work and how to use them.
#1 Lemon Grass
This beautiful grass has a scent that sends mosquitoes in the opposite direction. To release the oils, you can crush or steep the leaves and use them to make spray repellent.
#2 Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm has a long history of health benefits and makes a delicious calming tea. With this scent around, you can relax without mosquitoes.
The clean, fresh scent of lavender has been used for centuries to deter pests. It was even added to seat cushions. You can use fresh or dried lavender for its mosquito-repellent scent.
Peppermint is well-known for its cool, minty flavor. It grows vigorously and attracts honey bees and other pollinators but repels mosquitoes.
The same compound that attracts cats to catnip, nepetalactone, has also been found to be effective in repelling mosquitoes. So, planting catnip in your garden not only benefits your feline friends but can also keep pesky mosquitoes away from you and your family.
Basil is a delicious herb added to many summer dishes like Basil pesto and bruschetta. But basil oil is toxic to mosquito larvae, and the scent confuses adults. Rub some of this on your skin or add it to a smoky potpourri.
Along with other culinary herbs, sage has a definite smell. Luckily for us, it repels mosquitoes. Sage is a perennial that you won’t have to regrow and will be ready for cooking and bug-fighting action every summer.
While Greeks put rosemary in their hair to make them smarter, it may have also helped keep the mosquitoes away. So next time you're planning a backyard BBQ or picnic, be sure to include some of these plants on your table or in your hat.
#9 - Thyme
Not only does thyme scare away cabbage worms, but it also repels mosquitoes as well. This perennial culinary herb grows well with rosemary and sage.
#10 Bee Balm/Bergamot
Bergamot is used to make medicinal tea. It can also soothe rashes and wounds. However, the scent is a natural repellent for mosquitoes.
How to use plants to repel mosquitoes
It isn’t enough just to grow these fragrant herbs in your garden. Their true insect-repelling power is unleashed when the leaves and stems are crushed.
1 - Rub herbs on your skin. To truly confuse those pesky mosquitoes, you need to smell like the plants they hate. So crush up leaves of mint and basil and use it instead of perfume.
2 - Cut up herbs and place them on your outdoor table. The fragrance that you enjoy will annoy the mosquitoes.
3 - Add herbs to your BBQ or fire pit. When you’re smoking meat or roasting marshmallows, add sage, rosemary, and thyme to create a fragrant smoke that will tell the mosquitoes to steer clear.
Plant some flowers too!
Herbs aren’t the only plants that repel mosquitoes. Marigolds, Petunias and Nasturtiums, are beautiful flowers that mosquitoes can’t stand to be around. So plant some of these around your patio and deck.
Mosquitoes can be a pesky and potentially dangerous nuisance, but there are natural ways to repel them. The number one way to get rid of mosquitoes is to disrupt their breeding ground. So get rid of standing water where mosquitoes can breed. Then, start growing these fragrant herbs in your garden.
Instead of reaching for the itch relief cream this summer, reach for the seed packets! These herb plants will give you plenty of ammunition against those annoying mosquitoes. Adding these plants to your garden can keep mosquitoes at bay and help you feel relaxed all summer long. So skip the bug spray and try planting these herbs to enjoy a mosquito-free summer!