Escape the itch, here’s what to plant to repel mosquitoes

With the latest Climate Central report saying warmer weather will lead to more mosquito days, what you plant in your garden does matter.

What You Need To Know

  • The latest report says warmer weather brings more mosquito days
  • Certain plants and herbs will repel mosquitoes
  • Some plants deter insects in general, but not neccesarily mosquitoes

Fully into spring and less than a month until summer, you may be considering adding to your garden this year. If your garden is in a location that you will frequent, know that certain plants and herbs attract and repel mosquitos.


Mosquitoes don’t sustain themselves on the blood they consume from others; instead, they provide this blood to their eggs. As adults, they need to eat the nectar of certain plants to survive. These plants include taro, papyrus, water lilies, and water hyacinths.

Standing water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so be sure to remove areas that create long-standing puddles in your yard.

Three plants in a garden near St. Louis, Mo. (Spectrum News/Stacy Lynn)

Plants that repel mosquitoes

As for what to plant to repel mosquitoes, I spoke with Associate Lane Otte from Daniel’s Farm and Greenhouses in St. Peters, Mo. He mentioned planting anything with lemon in its name to act as a natural repellent.

Those types can include lemon balm, citronella lemon balm, quedlinburger lemon balm, variegated lemon balm, aurea lemon balm, lemonella lemon balm, and lime lemon balm.

Otte also suggests planting citronella, mosquito plants (the name of the plant), and scented geraniums. I asked him about lavender, and he responded, “It can help, but isn’t as strong, won’t repel mosquitoes like the other plants and herbs mentioned.”

Peppermint, marigolds, basil, sage, mint and catnip are herbs known to repel insects, but not necessarily mosquitoes.

Added precautions

Planting the mosquito repelling plants in your garden will help ensure your time spent in your yard will hopefully be bite and itch-free. You can even take the leaves off of the plants, crumble them up and rub them on your skin to deter the mosquitoes. If you are more sensitive, consider Deet-approved bug spray.

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