Mosquito Repellent Plants – Backed by Research

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Certain plants can protect your house from mosquitoes!

Is it not ironic that while water accumulated around plants can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, there are unique plants that can naturally keep away these same mosquitoes?

All of us love a dash of greenery – I am sure whether it is a lush green garden or a hill – the green stuff always catches our eyes, and we linger over it for a more extended period. Now that it has been established that we all love the soothing calming effect of plants, we should read more on what kind of plants can keep away mosquitoes and more importantly for the curious mind – how do we use these plants to keep mosquitoes away?

It is simple – the smell!

No, no, not the kind of smell which makes are nose crinkle and makes us want to cover our nose. With these plants there are natural fragrances that are emanated which wafts through your garden – this very fragrance can keep repelling mosquitoes.
These fragrances are more subtle unlike the strong chemical odour from the sprays or insecticides and hence have to be strategically placed nearby the seating areas or near the entrance of the house so the mosquitoes do not enter the house why there are plants which can be placed inside the house as well.

Since we are on the topic of smell, ever wondered why we humans attract mosquitoes? We humans breathe in oxygen and emit carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide emits a smell which combined with the smell of a sweat from warm human bodies is the root cause of us being bitten by mosquitoes.

Related Article – Neem Oil & Camphor for Mosquitoes – Is it Effective?

Now we shall go back to the chemical-free solutions and natural method to keep mosquitoes away from your home, plants! Few of the plants mentioned below emanate a soothing scent. So, all in all, the plants are a feast for your eyes, nose, and skin (no more mosquito bites). Hey some of them also double up as a quick supply for herbs for cooking.

Many such plants are readily available at a nearby nursery as a sapling or as seeds on any online store.

Lavender 

Lavender PlantThe moment we hear Lavender – we can be immediately feeling a soothing effect set upon us and why so – because of the lovely fragrance it emanates. We have mostly seen Lavender oils, soaps and room fresheners but in its raw form – Lavender is known to hinder a mosquito’s ability to smell. Remember, I told you that mosquitoes know where you are because of the smell our bodies emit. 

In terms of maintenance, the plant is low maintenance as all it requires is the sun and good drainage. The plant is robust and can adapt to all climates, but it thrives in warmer climates such as India. 

There are a couple of pointers to keep in mind while growing Lavender at home; since the plant is a hardy perennial type of plant – it is best grown in containers in case you have a roof-top or balcony. Grow it along the borders if you have a garden space. Keep it out in the sun, and no additional toppings required to the soil, regular soil will do. 

Another advantage of this plant is that the fragrance calms the mind after a long day at work, and also can be used in your daily cuppa of herbal tea! 

Just because Lavender has so many benefits, do not just pot and plant Lavender outside homes, mix and match with the following plants as well for maximum benefit in this tough fight against mosquitoes. 

Marigolds

Marigold flower top angleThese plants are typically found in Indian houses as Marigold flowers are often used as offerings to deities during several festivals. Interestingly, in addition, to be a treat to eyes with their flowers, Marigold plants emit a fragrance which deters the presence of mosquitoes in its vicinity.

Interestingly this flower can also be used in any form of soups or salad as it adds a citrusy taste to the dish.

Scientifically speaking, Marigolds has an ingredient known as Pyrethrum which is found in many insect repellents, and it is this ingredient that keeps the bugs away, including mosquitoes.

And hey, nothing makes a garden attractive than having these flowers in the garden or just potted across the terrace as these plants have plenty of flowers when they bloom, either in a bright, cheerful yellow, sunny orange or soothing red.

Marigolds are an annual plant and can be quickly grown in pots and strategically placed near the entrance of the house or near the garden seating area to keep mosquitoes and other pesky bugs away. Why place them next to the windows, if the windowsill is wide enough.

In terms of maintenance, the plant would need full sunlight and fertile soil. The seeds are also inexpensive and even better, the existing plant will provide seeds for potting more Marigold plants.

Lemon Grass

In India, this plant is commonly called as Lemon Grass and is quite well known for its lemony flavour which is added to teas and for some aware “MasterChef’s”, even for making Thai green curry pastes. Sorry, this plant is one of my favourite plants in my terrace garden and is highly recommended for its low upkeep and high benefits in keeping not only mosquitoes but other forms of pests also away

Just like Lavender, Lemongrass is mostly used in therapeutic oils and scented candles. Nevertheless, most of us would not be aware of this beautiful clumpy plant which has a strong refreshing lemony smell that can mask the smell of humans. 

As mentioned earlier, the plant is low maintenance, overgrows up to 5 feet high, or even more. They are available as seeds or buy a sapling from a nursery store and pot it near your window or entrance to the house as the lemony fragrance of this plant keeps the mosquitoes away. Like other plants, Lemongrass also needs well-drained soil and sun! 

The easy maintenance and its ability to keep mosquitoes away is the reason why experienced gardeners easily recollect it as a mosquito repellant plant. 

Scented Geraniums

Since we are talking about how lemony fragrances keep mosquitoes away, another anti-mosquito plant is Scented geraniums which again brings about a lemony fragrance to your garden. This lemony fragrance keeps mosquitoes and even flies away from plants and house. 

Scented geraniums possess a bit of citronella oil which is the reason the plant has a way of repelling mosquitoes from your house. 

Also, they have a beautiful bloom which is a pleasing sight to the eyes. This plant and its flowers also attract butterflies, so double bonanza or should I say triple bonanza. It can be either potted in plants or hanging containers and just imagine, when the plant blooms, the sight is a visual treat! 

It is a fast-growing plant, and dwell well in warm, and sunny climates and the upkeep of the plant is minimal as all it requires well-drained soil with very minimal watering. Herein, I would like to highlight while watering this plant, and please ensure the soil is wet and not the leaves. If the plant is over-watered, you might notice the leaves turning yellow and post that the plant can rot. 

Catnip

Catnip can grow anywhere, which only goes to tell you the ease with Catnip plantwhich this plant can be grown at your home to keep mosquitoes away. 

It is from the Mint family and once planted in the garden, it is a runner and will spread to other parts of the garden. In such cases, you may choose to pot it. However, before you decide on the planting method, hear out the benefits it has towards driving mosquitoes away. 

The entomologists at Iowa State University have found that Catnip was ten times effective than DEET, a chemical that is mostly used in insect repellants. Mainly due to an inherent chemical found in Catnip, nepetalactone, which is acts as a durable mosquito repellent but interestingly attracts cats. So, do not be surprised if you see your neighbour’s cat come and rub up and down this plant or better, if you are a cat lover – then its double bonanza, right! 

As a plant, it is easy to grow and maintain. There are instances where people have crushed Catnip leaves and applied it to the body. However, this is not advised for people who do not want to attract cats! Do not tell me; I did not warn you! 

Floss Flower

Ageratum a.k.a Floss Flower is another plant that is a natural and organic solution to “How to Keep Mosquitoes Away from my House”. Floss flower is an annual flower that is a perfect addition to as bedding in a garden or a plain simple container plant in a terrace. The plant has flowers that bloom in a variety of colors, be it blue, pink, purple, and white. 

The plant requires well-drained soil and requires exposure to the sun. Having said this plant is known to thrive in partial shade. 

The plant, Floss Flower, contains a chemical ingredient coumarin which is toxic nature when ingested by pets and humans, but at the same time, it repels mosquitoes. This ingredient is found to be repulsive by mosquitoes and is used in several commercially available mosquito repellants in the market. 

Now enough of only focusing on Mosquito repellant plants, let us also focus on some herbs as well with a dual purpose or sometimes even more than two uses.

Rosemary 

Rosemary is a herb that has a woody scent that keeps mosquitoes and other insects away. This herb thrives in hot and dry climates, and the best part, they do not necessarily require pots; a container is enough. 

In terms of location, you may use it as borders in your garden or in hanging baskets in your terrace—the herb flowers with small, pale-blue flowers which definitely makes it an eye-pleasing addition. Furthermore, the plant is a bonus addition to the garden, as it also attracts butterflies to the garden.

If in case you have a garden and wish to spend some time there in the evening, grab few sprigs of Rosemary and toss it into a fire and the smoke is bound to keep the insects away without any foul smell, but an aromatic smell. 

Hey, I had mentioned these herbs to serve multiple purposes, so whenever you feel like adding some of this woody scent, toss some of it into the cooking. Rosemary is typically used to flavour lamb or fish dishes to give the meat a roasted and woody smell. 

Rosemary can also be trimmed into all sorts of shapes or sizes and used for decoration purposes. By keeping Rosemary in your garden, the pests will stay away from your home, and you can enjoy the herb’s lovely fragrance.

Basil

Basil PlantAnother type of garden herb which also doubles up as a mosquito repellant is Basil. The smell is hard to explain, and it is to be experienced. So, buy yourself some basil seeds, grow them, and experience the smell. 

Okay fine, I shall try describing the smell to you; Basil gives off a pungent smell which is just enough to keep all kinds of pests away, yes, including mosquitoes. Probably this is a reason why most Indian houses have a Tulsi plant at the entrance of the house and are watered every day, religiously. 

The herb needs to be kept slightly damp, adequate drainage and much sunlight. Just like Rosemary, this herb can be grown in containers or pots or in the garden across the borders or closer to the entrance of the home. 

As and when required, few basil leaves can be tossed into your salads, pasta, and why even omelettes. 

It is an annual and much bushy plant, so throughout the year, you can depend on Basil to protect you from mosquitoes and also, add a beautiful fresh touch to cooking whenever required. This bushy plant adds much freshness to your garden and cooking, talk about dual purposes, right!

Garlic 🧄

It is a well-renowned fact that Garlic smell can keep any human away from you, so imagine what this plant offers to your garden. The pungent smell from the Garlic plant can also keep the mosquitoes away. 

There are some instances of Garlic being squeezed and rubbing the juice on the skin can also keep mosquitoes away, but it is recommended only when you need to keep people away. It could be the best solution when camping and need an organic solution to repel mosquitoes.

Out of all the plants, Garlic is the easiest to grow. Arrange for a flat big rectangular container or create a garlic patch in a garden. You take the cloves from your garlic pod, ensure the pointed end of the clove faces upwards, and use the bottom to push it into the soil. Plant each of the cloves with 6 inches of space between any two of them and top it with compost or manure. Sprinkle this bed of Garlic as and when you feel it has turned dry. 

The health benefits of Garlic have been long studied, so now to keep mosquitoes away and to use a fresh batch of Garlic to your cooking, grow Garlic! 

Mint 

Mint plant top angleAnother dual purposed herb which emanates a soothing and fresh smell is Mint. Interestingly I write about Mint right after Garlic; typically, mint leaves are suggested to be chewed upon after consuming anything garlicky to keep away oral odour. This fresh aroma of Mint keeps most bugs away, including mosquitoes. 

Mint is a perennial herb and can thrive in well-drained soil. It needs a bit of sun and shade. There are various types of mint plants based on the type of leaves. In India, the various type of Mint is very common. Mint is a runner in the garden, meaning it can quickly invade every inch of your garden, so it would best to contain this fast-growing herb in a pot. Alternatively, you could use dividers in the garden to contain the growth of Mint, do not worry the roots of Mint are shallow and not deep. The best way to have a beautiful mint plant is to prune the herbaceous plant regularly. 

Better still, place a pot of the plant near to your kitchen, so during teatime, you can add a few leaves to your tea. Mint can be added to anything, food, or beverages. 

Mint extracts are used as Peppermint oil which when rubbed on itchy mosquito bites provides a bit of comfort. The leaves of this herb can also be dried well enough in the sun and can be used to keep mosquitoes away inside the house. 

Closing pearls of wisdom for your green thumb! 

All in all, these ten plants listed above such as Lavender, Mint, Lemongrass, and Geraniums are a welcome addition to the garden as they emit a fragrance that we humans find soothing, but the mosquitoes would find it repulsive. I think most importantly when these plants collectively offer a chemical-free solution to keeping mosquitoes away, why not invest our time and money into these plants. 

Also Read – How Mosquito sticks can help in getting rid of mosquitoes.

Obviously, since these are the natural mosquito-repelling solution, the location of these plants also matters as you cannot keep it at the farthest corner away from the entrance and expect these plants to work their magic. Keep these plants close to the entry points of mosquitoes, near windows, on windowsills, near the entrance, etc. Especially with potted plants, ensure there is no stagnant water around the plants which may accidentally become a breeding ground for any type of insect. In case you have a garden, then plant them along the borders to keep both mosquitoes and another form of bugs away. 

Lastly, happy gardening! 

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Shivaharsh Murugan
Shivaharsh Murugan

A company secretary and lawyer-turned SEO geek and also someone who thinks he is deeply passionate about startups.In his free time runs this blog with the aim to make the world "Pest Free"

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