Nothing can ruin a sunny, warm day in the garden quite like mosquitoes buzzing around your head. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce these annoying pests from bothering you. For example, it’s important to remove any standing water from your property, because this is where mosquitoes tend to breed. And you should consider growing the plants mentioned below, which have essential oils that help keep away mosquitoes by serving as all-natural bug repellants.
Basil photo via amandabhslater
1. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
This delicious herb is not only helpful in the kitchen, but basil also is believed to keep away mosquitoes and flies. Place colorful pots of this aromatic herb in sunny locations near patio doors, open windows, porches and outdoor tables — wherever you can enjoy the fragrance and flavor. Read about the one mistake most first-time gardeners make when growing basil.
Lemon thyme and geranium photo via mwms1916
2. Lemon thyme (Thymus X citriodorus)
This aromatic herb thrives in sunny, dry conditions, along pathways and rock gardens. For best results, bruise the leaves and rub them between your fingers to release the herb’s essential oils.
Catnip photo via peppergrasss
3. Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Yes, the cats love this pretty herb, but the mosquitoes apparently do not. This perennial herb (Zones 3 to 9) blooms in white to purple flowers in the summer, and is pretty enough for a prominent position in your garden.
Citronella grass photo via Ahmad Fuad Morad
4. Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)
This clumping grass is native to Southeast Asia, and grows best in full sun. The perennial (hardy in Zones 10 to 12) is the source of citronella oil used in pest repellant and the commonly found mosquito candles. This plant is inedible and has an unpleasant taste. Citronella also can cause skin dermatitis with some people due to its concentrated oils.
Mint photo via Alice Henneman
5. Mint (Mentha spp.)
A favorite in the kitchen, this easy-to-grow herb should be planted in containers to prevent it taking over the garden. Place the mint-filled pots around your home to help repel mosquitoes. Or, use the fragrant mint leaves to make an all-natural mosquito repellant.
Lemon balm photo via Andrea_44
6. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
This member of the mint family has an aroma that is said to naturally repel mosquitoes and other insects. Unlike mint, this fast-growing herb doesn’t spread by underground runners. However, it does reseed each year and can become a nuisance in some gardens. Deadhead flowers regularly and mulch well to help control growth.
What’s the best way to repel mosquitoes?
Be aware that there’s a bit of a debate about plants that repel mosquitoes. Some experts emphasize that these plants only release their mosquito-repelling oils when their leaves are crushed. Others suggest that just having these types of plants around your garden will help keep the mosquito population down. As these six plants are all pleasant to have in the garden, why not give them a try and see for yourself? Always, use caution when applying plant leaves to the skin; test in a small spot first.