8 Beautiful Plants To Help Repel Mosquitoes In Your Yard
Everyone loves those beautiful warm summer nights, that is until the mosquitoes come out and ruin it. Nothing is worse than looking forward to relaxing outside under the stars with your friends and family and then having to cut the outdoor fun short when the mosquitoes start eating you alive.
While there are many pesticide sprays that can be used to prevent mosquitoes, I cannot emphasize enough just how important it is to avoid using toxic chemicals to prevent mosquitos. While they may work to help prevent mosquitoes in your yard, the common active ingredients found in mosquito insecticides have been found to pose a negative threat to your local environment, air quality, groundwater safety, pollinators, as well as your health and the health of your family and pets.
Natural Solutions To Reduce Mosquitoes in Your Yard
Luckily, there are many natural non-toxic plant options that can be used in landscaping and in natural bug sprays to help prevent mosquitoes from ruining your summer fun. It also is important when trying to reduce mosquitoes around your home that you look out for and remove (if possible) any areas of standing water that mosquitoes will be attracted to from reproducing.
Mosquitoes will be more attracted to damp yards and areas where they can get water, which is one reason why watering your garden in the morning instead of the evening is a good practice to get into. Not only is it better for your plants, but by the time dusk comes around and the mosquitos start to come out your yard and garden should be pretty dry from the summer sun.
Can Plants Really Repel Mosquitos?
While research surrounding the effectiveness of repellent plants for mosquitoes is often conducted using the essential oils from the plants, many gardeners and horticulturists anecdotally recommend certain plants in home gardens and landscapes for helping to reduce mosquitoes and other bugs like flies and ticks. Plants are also commonly used globally by local communities where mosquitos are endemic and carry disease, however, research is limited on their overall effectiveness.
However, this is where I personally look to the anecdotal advice that long-time gardeners and horticulturists recommend when it comes to using plants to prevent different bugs and even animals from your home and gardens. Often there is some truth to folk traditions and when it comes to planting some mosquito repellent plants in the garden there really isn’t a downside as far as I am concerned.
While the most effective option for preventing mosquitoes will always be limiting any standing water where they can breed, and using a natural plant-based essential oil repellent directly on your skin, the following plants are still a great option recommended by many gardeners and horticulturists to consider adding to your yard or garden.
Does Citronella Prevent Mosquitoes?
Citronella candles are probably one of the most common summer mosquito repellent supplies that folks will rush out to get once mosquito season hits, but do they really work? While citronella oil has been found to repel mosquitos by masking scents that they are attracted to, the oil only lasts for a short period of time and in candle form often burns off too quickly for it to truly be effective.
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, however, has a similar lemony scent to citronella and has been found to be much more effective at repelling mosquitoes and is the only plant-based mosquito repellent recommended by the CDC at this time (this is mostly due to lack of research surrounding other plant-based oils).
8 Plants To Keep Mosquitoes Away In Your Yard and Garden
If you are looking to add more pest preventing plants to your summer gardens and landscaping then the following herbs and flowers are just what you are looking for. Not only can they help prevent annoying mosquitoes and flies, but many also attract pollinators to your garden and yard, which is always a good thing!
Lavender is a beautiful strong-smelling herb whose essential oils can often be found used in natural bug repellents and also can help to prevent flies in addition to mosquitoes. Lavender makes for a beautiful walkway or patio border plant and is lovely to plant in areas where you can enjoy its calming scent.
Mint has a strong scent and is a repellent mosquito plant that is commonly recommended by gardeners for deterring mosquitoes and has the added bonus of making for a great edible herb to grow in the garden to use in summer teas, cocktails, and salads. Just watch out because mint is an invasive plant that is fast-growing and will take over if you let it. There are also many types of mint in the “mint family” like spearmint, peppermint, and your classic “mojito mint” that is loved in cocktails. All of these varieties will help prevent mosquitoes so grow a few different types of mint if you would like.
Catnip is loved by pollinators and also happens to be a plant that repels mosquitoes exceptionally well. Catnip contains a chemical called nepetalactone, which is what attracts cats and is a natural mosquito repellent. Nepetalactone in its essential oil form has also been found by researchers to be even more effective than DEET a commonly used chemical found in mosquito repellents.
In case you didn’t need another reason to love basil, the scent which we love is believed to fend off annoying insects, which makes it a great companion plant in gardens. So keep a few basil pots around your outdoor living space for easy access for cooking AND mosquito prevention. Basil is also commonly used in its essential form in natural insect repellents.
Sage is a wonderful smelling herb that can be used in cooking and just happens to prevent ticks and mosquitos. If you love having summer fire pits, you can throw some sage in the fire to burn or tie a few sage bundles together to light and allow to smoke around your outdoor living area. The smoke and sage smell will help keep those annoying mosquitoes at bay.
Geraniums are beautiful flowers that attract pollinators like butterflies and repel annoying flies and mosquitoes. Scented geraniums have a light lemony scent which is even more potent at preventing mosquitoes when applied in its essential oil form. So plant some scented geraniums in your flower bed and as pretty companion flower in your vegetable gardens to help attract more pollinators and repel unwanted pests.
Rosemary can help to prevent both flies and mosquitoes, especially if you use it bordering your outdoor living areas. You can also throw a few sprigs into your cookout fire and the scent of the rosemary in the smoke (similar to sage) can help to keep the bugs away. Like all mosquito repellent plants, rosemary is more effective when its essential oils are used in a more potent spray and applied to the skin.
Lemon balm will also help to repel fleas and is safe to use on the skin. It is also a favorite for bees and butterflies and is commonly used in herbal medicine to help treat stomach aches and reduce stress in the body. So whether you are looking to repel mosquitoes in your yard and garden or grow a wonderful medicinal herb, lemon balm is a great addition to any garden. Just be aware the lemon balm, similar to mint, can become invasive so it is best to plant away from other plants or plant in containers.
Read More: Looking for some natural, non-toxic insect repellents that are safe to use for the whole family? Check out this article for our favorite go-to non-toxic bug sprays that are safe to use on your body and are safe for kids!