Warm summer nights on the patio are loads of fun, but nobody likes waking up the next morning to itchy mosquito bites all over. Fortunately, as gardeners, we have the skills needed to find natural solutions to these irritating pests. Rather than using chemicals, we can grow plants that naturally and safely repel mosquitoes. A lot of folks aren’t aware that mosquitoes are also important pollinators, so while we might not consider them great pets, they do serve a purpose. As such, our planet and our bodies are better off if we choose natural repellents that keep us both safe.

Citronella: The Best Natural Insect Repellent

There are plenty of products available on the market that contain citronella oil: a USDA-approved mosquito repellant sourced from the Cymbopogon (Lemongrass) plant. This citrus-scented oil smells fresh and bright—but mosquitoes can’t stand it, so burning a citronella candle will work wonders for keeping the biting bugs at bay. However, it isn’t super effective in open outdoor spaces because the wind just carries the scent with it, so they’re generally more useful in partially enclosed areas like screened-in patios and decks. This is why planting mosquito-repellent plants is so great for outdoor areas!

citrosa citronella geranium mosquito repelling plants

Citronella Geraniums: The Anti-Mosquito Plant

Also known as Citrosa, these lemon-scented flowers were developed in hopes of integrating the mosquito-repelling properties of citronella into an easy, beautiful blossom to line yards and patios with. The scent is mild, so try to set up containers close by to where you’ll be spending most of your time outside.

You can actually use the leaves of citronella geraniums to protect yourself from mosquitoes for when you leave the yard. While the effects only last an hour or two, crushing up the leaves of the geranium and rubbing them on your skin should leave behind a lovely perfume that successfully repels mosquitoes.

Ideally, a mix of citronella geraniums and other natural bug repellent plants set up around your yard will provide you with the strongest defense against these unwanted visitors, so put together some anti-mosquito container gardens that you can move and rearrange throughout your yard. Not only do they smell incredible and keep the bugs away, but they’re lovely to look at.

catnip mosquito repelling plant

Other Plants That Keep Mosquitoes Away

While citronella geraniums take the cake for most popular and efficient natural mosquito repellent, there are some other pretty effective plants out there that don’t get as much attention. Mix a few of these plants in with some citronella geraniums, and mosquitos won’t stand a chance.

Catnip: This feline-friendly foliage is actually great for keeping away mosquitoes because it contains nepetalactone, a naturally-occurring bug repellent. It’s awesome at keeping ants away too, so if you’ve got a picnic in the park planned, bring along some catnip leaves to sprinkle around the area. The effects are only temporary, but it’s a great solution if you want instant results.

Ageratum: Similarly to catnip, this flossy, colorful flowering plant contains a natural bug repellent compound— but this time, it’s coumarin. Planting a few different anti-mosquito plants together helps to maximize your protection as you’ll have several lines of defense all mixed into one pretty container.

marigolds citronella mosquito repelling plants

Marigolds: These cheerful blooms are famously effective pest control plants, keeping away all sorts of unwanted visitors from the garden—including aphids, nematodes, and mites. Marigolds come in many varieties, some more effective at repelling pests than others. All varieties, however, add beautiful warmth and texture to garden beds, borders, containers, and anywhere else in your landscape. They’re most effective at repelling insects when placed in large numbers around your outdoor living space.

Natural mosquito control is totally achievable with the right selection of plants and natural citronella products for your yard. Skip the sprays, opt for some fragrant flowers, and enjoy a summer free from itchy mosquito bites and calamine lotion.  

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