Flowers & Landscaping
Mosquito Repelling Plants
Prepare your yard for the battle of the bugs and get ready to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Ah, summer: the warmth of the sun, the smell of the flowers—and the whine of the mosquitoes. Short of coating yourself with bug spray, how do you enjoy the fair weather without having to share your space with hordes of pesky bloodsuckers? Try strategically placing a few mosquito-repelling plants around your deck or patio. While they won’t guarantee an insect-free area, each produces a substance (and often a scent) that mosquitoes would much rather avoid. Here are a few of our favorites.
One way in which mosquitoes figure out where you are is by detecting the smells given off by your skin. Lemon citronella, a natural ingredient sometimes used in bug sprays, has a strong scent that gets in the way, making it harder for them to track down their next meal (in other words, you).
With its feathery blue flowers, ageratum may look lovely to your eyes, but mosquitoes have a different view. Also known as floss flowers, these annuals secrete a compound called coumarin (commonly used in commercial mosquito repellents), which has an odor that mosquitoes find offensive.
Horsemint (Bee Balm)
A perennial plant that looks gorgeous in the garden, horsemint (aka bee balm) offers two useful characteristics: It attracts pollinators (like bees) but repels mosquitoes. It gives off a strong, incense-like odor that confuses the pests by masking the smells given off by humans.
Who doesn’t love the simple beauty of a marigold? Mosquitoes, that’s who! Commonly grown as ornamental border plants, these hardy annuals repel mosquitoes by giving off several compounds that act as insecticides.
While your kitty may want nothing more than to spend lots of time rolling in catnip, mosquitoes are much less enthusiastic about this plant. A perennial herb, catnip contains an essential oil that some scientists believe is even more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, the chemical found in many commercial bug sprays. The oil must be released to be effective, though, so you’ll want to crush the leaves.
Bonus: In addition to warding off mosquitoes, these hard-working plants add natural beauty to your décor, so you can get even more enjoyment out of your outdoor time. Thinking of inviting some friends over now that you’ve got your mosquito-repelling plan in place? Check out a few other things you can do to get your landscape ready for summer entertaining.