Keep Mosquitos Away…with Plants.

Via Lynn Hasselberger
on Apr 25, 2012
get elephant's newsletter
Photo: wildturkey5300

The mere thought of a mosquito sends me into an itching frenzy.

And with the mild winter, skeeter season is going to be a doozy. There have already been reports of West Nile Virus. But who wants to douse themselves in insect repellent (a euphemism for pesticide)? Not me.

There’s hope. Certain plants may help keep mosquitoes where they belong–far, far away from you. No chemicals required. (Note: the leaves of the following must be crushed to release the aroma. Otherwise mosquitoes can’t smell them):

  • * Horsemint has a scent similar to citronella and  grows wild in most of the Eastern United States, from Mexico, Texas up to Minnesota to Vermont. It is partial to sandy soils and will grow in USDA Zones 5-10.
  • * Marigold is a sun-loving annual used by organic gardeners to keep aphids away.
  • * Citronella Geranium (Also called mosquito plant) A genetically engineered geranium hybrid, easily grown as a potted plant. The jury is out on its mosquito repellent effectiveness. But, since it’s attractive, it can’t hurt.
  • * Agastache Cana is another form of mosquito plant. Its common names include Texas hummingbird mint, bubblegum mint, giant hyssop, or giant hummingbird mint. It’s usually hardy in USDA Zones 5a-9a.
  • * Catnip is one of the most powerful mosquito repellant plants. Recent studies have shown that it is ten times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. Crush a few leaves and rub on your skin and clothing to enhance the effect.

Another plant, ageratum, contains coumarin. But don’t rub it on your skin.

If you’re a gardener who disrupts swarms of mosquitoes every time you step foot into your garden, try incorporating some of these plants/herbs:

  • •    Citronella
  • •    Rosemary (crush this and rub on your skin for protection outside of the garden, too)
  • •    Lemongrass
  • •    Lemon Thyme
  • •    Lavender (questionable)
  • •    Basil
  • •    Thyme
  • •    Penny royal garlic
  • •    Rue
Photo: Jason Hollinger

Have a water garden? Bladderworts—carnivorous plants with small round bladders attached to their leaves—trap, then digest mosquito larvae and other tiny water critters. Weird!

As a bonus, here’s a mosquito quote:

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.
~ Dalai Lama XIV


About Lynn Hasselberger

Lynn Hasselberger is co-founder of GDGD Radio; The Green Divas Managing Editor; and Producer of The Green Divas Radio Show. She's also a mom, writer and award-winning cat-herder who lives in Chicagoland. Sunrises, running, yoga, lead-free chocolate and comedy are just a few of her fave things. In her rare moments of spare time, she blogs at and A treehugger and social media addict, you'll most likely find Lynn on twitter (@LynnHasselbrgr @GreenDivaLynn & @myEARTH360), instagram and facebook. She hopes to make the world a better place, have more fun, re-develop her math skills and overcome her fear of public speaking. Like her writing? Subscribe to her posts.


16 Responses to “Keep Mosquitos Away…with Plants.”

  1. sorornishi says:

    hmmm…I am a little suspicious that mosquitos are pretty undeterred by most anything. I lived abroad a lot and found they would bite you even if you covered yourself in citronella oil.

  2. @david4ASEA says:

    Very informative, I started a Discussion in Landscape and Gardening Group on LinkedIn!

  3. milieunet says:

    Great info. Thanks

  4. Great! Thanks David.

  5. Appreciate your comment and, yes, mosquitos are very persistant. These plants are suggestions and may help deter them. I've found that there are fewer mosquitos where I've planted catnip and this summer I plan to throw the leaves in a blender and experiment with different combinations. Body chemistry can make a difference, too.

  6. Hi Lynn,

    Great organic solutions!
    Featured on FB:

    Jeannie Page

  7. shaydewey says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the brand new Elephant Health & Wellness Homepage.

    Shay Dewey
    Please "like" Elephant Health & Wellness on Facebook.

  8. And for when all that fails, rub some bruised, moistened plantain (not the fruit but the plant you find commonly around your neighborhood, Plantago major) on the bite.

  9. Thanks, Jeannie! xo

  10. You're welcome! Thanks for checking it out.

  11. Good to know! Thanks, Michael!

  12. Mari says:

    Most of Asia is using coconot oil for calming itchy bits. For me it worked also!

  13. […] Be sure check out my post about plants that deter mosquitoes. […]

  14. Lee says:

    whats the scientific name of the geranium hybrid ?

  15. Lee says:

    whats the scientific name of the geranium hybrid? please..