Live by the Water? Here are 10 Summer Plants that Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Written by: Karen Marsh


Who doesn’t love summertime? The warm air, backyard picnics, days at the lake… The only drawback are those pesky mosquitoes that quickly put a damper on things. Well, now you can fight back the natural way!

Here are 10 gorgeous natural solutions that help keep those unwanted guests away. Incorporating any of these summer plants into your landscape can help get rid of mosquitoes around your home, and who doesn't love that?

Lavender - the lovely fragrance hinders a mosquito's ability to smell you!

One of the most fragrant flowers you can include in your garden, the lavender plant releases its aromatic oils naturally to help keep mosquitoes away. 

At night, make the most of this bug-busting plant by crushing and rubbing its flower buds and leaves on your skin.

Thriving best in warmer areas, a lavender plant needs bright light to produce the sweet-smelling blooms that you know and love. It can be grown in pots or planting beds, or even as topiaries to add a formal flair to your outdoor seating area.

Lavender, Summer Plants to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Rosemary - this summer plant's woodsy scent works well to deter those pesky bugs.

Planted in your garden or used as part of your decor indoors, adding rosemary around your home is a great way to repel mosquitoes naturally. Its needle-shaped leaves are rich with oils and release a woodsy scent that these bugs can’t stand.

Add a few rosemary stems to your fire pit for strongly scented smoke that will keep the mosquitoes away, or you can crush its leaves and rub them on your clothes.

This summer plant thrives in hot and dry climates and even inside containers, making it a perfect choice for areas with long winter seasons.

Rosemary, Summer Plants to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Marigolds - so sunny and bright, plus their scent keeps the mosquitoes away

Bringing the color of sunshine to your garden, marigolds are pretty, pleasing, and put those pesky bugs in their place! Thanks to its pyrethrum, an ingredient you can find in many natural insect repellents, marigolds give off a scent that keeps the bugs out.

Tuck them into your outdoor pots to enjoy your backyard summer soirees or plant them in your vegetable garden to help get rid of pests.

An easy-to-grow annual flower, marigolds can be grown in containers on patios, porches, or outdoor seating areas to bring a pop of cheery colors all summer long. 

Keep them outdoors under direct, full sunlight, and then watch them bloom from spring until fall.

Marigold, Summer Plants to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Mint - needed for your julep and to keep your yard bug free!

A highly effective mosquito repellent, essential oil from the mint plant, including spearmint, lemon mint, or peppermint, can keep your skin protected from bug bites for more than two hours.

Release pungent mint oils from its leaves by brushing against other plants or crushing the leaves and rubbing your skin or clothes.

Easy to grow indoors or outside in pots, mint should be kept under direct sunlight, or in a bright, sunny room if planted indoors, and be regularly watered.

Keep it nearby so you can easily reach for some to add to your afternoon tea or summer cocktails. When given enough space, mint roots will also yield tall leaf spikes that you can delightfully harvest all year round.

Mint, Summer Plants to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Catnip - your cat thanks you in advance

While most cats may love catnip, mosquitoes hate it. Related to the mint family, this summer plant comes with nepetalactone, a chemical that does double duty - keeping your cat happy and keeping those pesky bugs at bay.

Super easy to grow, catnip can be planted near your outdoor seating areas or entry doors to help get rid of mosquitoes. It can spread over to other parts of your garden, though, so it’s best to keep an eye on your catnip.

Catnip, Summer Plants to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Citronella - for sure!

One of the most commonly used natural ingredients in insect repellents, essential oils from citronella grass are a well-loved go-to option for repelling pests - we love this summer plant's fresh lemony scent! Crush and rub against your skin to send those mosquitoes packing.

A low maintenance plant, citronella can be grown outdoors in frost-free areas and also thrives indoors as a potted plant. It can survive outdoors year-round, just make sure it is placed under full sun.

Citronella, Summer Plants to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Eucalyptus - pot some on your patio so the plant's fragrant leaves keep mosquitoes away.

The natural oils from eucalyptus pack a punch against mosquitoes and other pests too, like ticks and sand flies.

To release its bug-repelling properties, keep this summer plant under full sun or burn them - warming the leaves will release the terpenoid compounds that have strong pest-deterring properties.

Eucalyptus plants don’t take up a lot of space but bring so much cooling fragrance and lush greenery vibes. They love sunlight so place them in an area that gets plenty of sun, whether indoors or outdoors.

Eucalyptus, Summer Plants to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Basil - who doesn't love basil? Mosquitoes!

A few sprigs of fresh basil can elevate your dish but did you know that placing a potted basil plant on your table at a summer backyard barbecue can help keep the mosquitoes away?

As your basil grows, it naturally repels bugs by releasing oils that these pests don’t like at all! Lemon and cinnamon basils have been found to have the most bug-busting benefits but sweet basil does the job, too.

Before heading outside, rub basil leaves on your skin for that layer of protection; you can also burn the leaves to give off that super-strong insect-repelling scent.

Basil, Summer Plants to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Geraniums - the lemony scent works similar to citronella

Scented geraniums are perfect for summer outdoor living - they ward off mosquitoes and make a beautiful focal plant with their lovely leaves and blooms, making them a wonderful container plant.

Choose a planting area where you can easily brush against the leaves to enjoy their strong aroma that keeps the pests away.

With a wide range of scents, these geraniums have fruit varieties that smell like apples and citrus, sweet types reminiscent of chocolate, and spicy scents that remind you of peppermint, cinnamon, or pine.

Scented geraniums can thrive under full sun and dry soil, and many are perfect for growing in pots and planters.

Geraniums, Summer Plants to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Thyme - recommended to plant in your garden where you walk

Works best when their leaves are crushed to release an earthy, aromatic scent, thyme naturally repels mosquitoes (and amps up the flavor of your summer dinners, too!).

Crushed thyme stems can be placed around your outdoor seating areas while crushed leaves can be rubbed on your skin or clothes. Burning thyme leaves also emits an aroma that is not appealing to bugs.

This summer plant's varieties, like silver thyme, creeping thyme and English thyme can all serve as a natural mosquito repellent - they’re a strong line of defense that you can tuck into pots, use to line up planting beds, or plant over walkways to brighten your paths and keep releasing its aromas as you walk.

Thyme, Summer Plants to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

It’s great to have these summer plants around the home for their mosquito-repelling power but don’t forget to crush or chop up their leaves and stems, and strew them around your deck, patio or garden. 

Go on, release those oils and scents, and banish those pests so you’ll enjoy spending more time outdoors!

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