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20 Mosquito-Repelling Plants

Outsmart mosquitoes by using plants that repel mosquitoes or confuse them.

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Photo: Julie Martens Forney


Looking for a way to rid your garden and outdoor space of mosquitoes without using chemical mosquito repellents or a bug zapper? Used strategically, plants can help repel mosquitoes while adding color and texture to your outdoor spaces.

Use fresh sage as a mosquito repellent by crushing leaves and rubbing them on your skin or clothing. Or tie a bundle of sage stems (fresh or dried) and toss them into your fire pit or chiminea to create a cloud of mosquito-repelling smoke. No fire pit? Light one end of a sage bunch and let it smolder on a fire-resistant tray. Grow sage in pots, or use it to edge planting beds in full sun with well-drained soil.

Continue to learn more about our favorite mosquito-repelling plants and how to use them in your garden.

tested: best outdoor mosquito repellers

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Photo: Ball Horticultural Company

Bee Balm

Beloved for its ability to beckon bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, bee balm (Monarda) also earns rave reviews for its mosquito-repelling qualities. For many insect-deterring plants to work, you have to crush leaves or blooms to release the plant's volatile oils — the chemical compounds that give the leaves their scent and repel insects. Bee balm is an exception to that rule. As it grows and blooms in your garden, it releases fragrances mosquitoes dislike. Bee balm is a perennial that flowers in a variety of colors and plant sizes. This beauty is Balmy Rose monarda, which is a compact type growing to a foot in height. It’s a great choice for edging beds or tucking into containers.

learn how to grow bee balm

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Photo: Julie Martens Forney


Cheerful and bright, marigolds make an easy-to-grow addition to any garden plan — in pots or planting beds. These perky annuals bring terrific color all season long. What you might not know is that marigolds pack a punch to many insects, including mosquitoes, thanks to chemical insecticides they release. That’s why marigolds have such a strong odor when you touch them. Both flowers and leaves release the chemicals, but blossoms deliver the strongest dose. Tuck marigolds into pots on the patio to make summer evenings less buggy, or use them in the vegetable garden to help repel pests while you tend plants.

how to grow marigolds

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Photo: Julie Martens Forney


Include beautiful lavender in your garden plans to help keep biting mosquitoes at bay. Varieties with higher camphor properties are the most effective insect repellents. This includes 'Provence' and 'Grosso' lavender. On a sunny day, lavender releases its aromatic oils naturally. In the evening, reap its bug-busting benefits by crushing flower buds and leaves and rubbing them on your skin. Tuck lavender into pots or planting beds. Grow lavender topiaries if your outdoor seating areas have a formal flair.

grow lavender in your garden

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